If you want to speed up a slow computer or build a peppy new machine, install one of the new SSDs.
But don’t overlook the hazards this amazing technology poses for your data: SSDs fail differently and possibly faster than traditional drives, so you must use them with care and back them up meticulously.
In this week’s Top Story, Fred Langa describes his travails in adding an SSD to a new notebook. Now I’ll tell you what I found when adding an SSD to a new PC I built for my sister.
Solid-state drives deliver state-of-art speed
Recently I built a mini-PC to replace my sister’s aging laptop. To accommodate a relatively confined workspace and because she relies primarily on an iPad for mobile computing, we based the new machine on a microATX case. Its small size and two drive bays — one for an SSD and the other for a traditional platter-based drive — made it perfect for this application.
SSDs (Wikipedia info) are the new Wow! in computing. Using solid-state circuits instead of spinning platters to store data, their read/write performance runs circles around traditional hard drives. I’d installed one in a vintage Acer TravelMate C110 running Windows 7, so it seemed natural to install one in my sister’s new computer. Although the cost per gigabyte is higher than with traditional hard drives, prices have fallen to a level that makes an SSD an affordable option.
Like Fred’s notebook, the new mini-PC works like a dream. It boots so quickly my sister now shuts it down when it’s not in use rather than use sleep mode. That means she uses less electricity. Rebooting the machine — such as when installing an update or some new software — is just a minor annoyance; it takes mere seconds to get back to work.
These are compelling conveniences. There is, however, another side to the SSD story.