Posted 02 September 2009 - 09:13 PM
Solid state drives are sort of becoming a question in my mind. A few months ago, I started looking into purchasing a new computer (Mine is pushing 8 years now, and I can't upgrade anymore with an obsolete motherboard.) and based on the performance and touted data security improvements, I wasn't even considering rotary drives anymore.
Then I started finding a bunch of articles that raised a lot of doubts in my mind. First, the sales pitch...
Solid State Drive: (PROS)
1.) Vastly higher access rates than Conventional HD's (CHD's from here on).
- Single SSD's match or exceed CHD's at 7,200 - 10,000 rpm HD's with RAID 0 configurations.
- RAID 0 configured SSD's see performance increases of as much as 30-40% over 10,000 rpm RAID 0 CHD's.
2.) Better heat tolerance. With no moving parts, flash drives generate less heat, and can run at higher temperatures then CHD's.
3.) Less susceptible to damage, given the lack of moving parts and heat tolerance, as mentioned above.
4.) No performance degradation as the drive is filled. It operates just as efficiently at 100% as 50% full.
5.) Lack of moving parts or loud spin-up means a quieter machine.
6.) SSD's are highly reliable and do not have the failure and data-loss issues of CHD's. They virtually last forever, and coupled with RAID 1 mirroring, are the ultimate protection against data-loss. (NOTE: This is the claim being called into question below.)
Solid State Drive: (CONS)
1.) More expensive than CHD's.
2.) Less storage space, and less space per dollar, than CHD's.
The issues I have been hearing about:
I have recently been reading articles from several hardware experts who claim that SSD's have some serious flaws in their design. According to some, there have been alarmingly high numbers of SSD's "locking up", so that the drive is not accessible. The data is intact, but cannot be extracted from the drive. And based on the review of one author (from CNET I think) this has been happening with alarming frequency.
Based on this, I am somewhat wary of SSD's, and am holding off on buying anything for a while longer. Hopefully, the issue will either be addressed, or more information will become available on it.
If you can't wait, then I would decide based on your needs.
- If you are looking for high performance (Gaming) and you don't plan on keeping any files on the system that you can't afford to lose (or you have an external/additional drive you can back your important stuff up on.) than I would probably recommend SSD for it. But make sure to get a solid warranty that will cover HD failure.
- If it is a business machine, or if you keep a lot of stuff you can't afford to lose (or you don't have an external drive) I would recommend a CHD instead, with RAID 1 if you can afford it.
That's my take on it.