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Tools Toys and Technology

About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Tools Toys and Technology - About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Drive Hard, Drive Fast

Once categorized as esoteric and obscenely unaffordable, the substantial benefits of solid state drives are increasingly coveted. SSDs are among the fastest selling items in consumer electronics today.

Early prototypes were developed by 1975 and a few consumer products briefly appeared in1982. Flash memory, now used in all modern SSDs, first appeared in 1995 in military and industrial settings. It was not until 2005 that the first mass market SSD arrived. Samsung released a 32 GB SSD for “only” $699, igniting a market explosion that continues to this day.

It’s easy to see the major advantages of an SSD over the more commonplace hard disk drive (HDD).


An SSD is wicked fast – up to 100 times faster! It is far more reliable –the annual failure rate is a miniscule fraction of 1% compared to annual rates of 4 to 6 percent for HDDs. Factor in lower power consumption, lower heat generation, smaller size, totally silent operation, reduced weight, along with rugged tolerance of vibration and deceleration shock. You will quickly realize why premier portable devices already feature solid state drives.

Introduced by IBM in 1956, HDDs became the dominant storage device for home computers by the early 1960s. As with most electronic components, quality and capacity have improved over the years for both types of drives, while prices have steadily declined. In 2005, HDD storage cost about $1.24 per gigabyte versus about 5 cents per gigabyte today. By comparison, SSD storage cost about $2.56 per gigabyte in 2010 versus 24 cents per gigabyte today. While SSDs are currently more expensive than hard drives, SSD prices continue to plummet precipitously at more than 30% annually. Market pundits predict price parity within the next few years.

If your computing needs are simple and you’re satisfied with your current equipment, file this information to use the next time you’re shopping for new equipment.

If you frequently stream audio or video, record music, or need to accomplish complex tasks quickly, you’ll clearly benefit from an SSD. If you’re storing large photo, video and music collections, you will benefit from the economy of large hard disk drives – but you certainly can have both types of drive in a single system and have the best of both worlds.

If you’re currently shopping for a new laptop, seriously consider choosing one with an SSD. Fully 40% of new laptops are currently so equipped and SSD’s will likely become standard equipment in the near future.

If you’re considering upgrading your current system, switching to a solid state drive is the single most significant improvement you can make! A 5-year-old computer with an SSD boots much faster than even a brand new rig running on a regular hard drive. Please note that most desktop computers can be upgraded, but only some laptops are upgradeable. Copying the old drive to a new SSD and installing the new drive can be a do-it-yourself project, but is not for the faint of heart. Here’s a link to a recent upgrade guide:

Installing an SSD isn’t simply a storage upgrade – it’s a complete system transformation that delivers dramatic performance gains. I installed my first SSD years ago and I’m still smiling!!