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  1. #1
    Star Lounger Ibex's Avatar
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    I am confused - solid state Vs rotating

    Hi

    I don't even know just how to broach this topic properly. So I will just waffle along and hope somebody will pick up my vibes and give me an answer that will sink in.

    My query is about information storage with hard drive technology, and also just how does it work? I have a huge volume of important stuff that I don't want to lose. And I do mean huge! Terrabytes in this case are almost meaningless. Back it up, I'm told. Well I know that, and I do back it up. Teachnology is advancing so rapidly that today's systems and techniques are fast becomong obsolete. I fear that the day will come when all of my backed-up stuff will be useless because either the mediums that I have stored them in or the software that supports them will no longer be in use. That's not a silly whim either.

    Now we are in the era of solid state storage which I simply do not understand. Is this form of storage better than the present forms? Is it more stable? Is it longer lasting? How safe is information that is stored with it?

    What I firstly can't understand is how information is transferred between solid state storage devices if there are no rotating hard drives. When I put things on a flash drive, they are transferred from a hard drive that is rotating at about 7200 rpm, and that's picked up by a moving receiving arm in that drive and then transfered to the inert flash drive via my computer's software. If I had a solid state hard drive, how does the information get picked up and transferred then? Is there anything moving in the system to pick up the information and then pass it on? How does information get selected and passed on if there is nothing moving about to find it and transfer it?

    To sum up: how the hell does it work and is it better and more stable than what's in use now?

    Thanks very much for your time and, of course, you patience.
    Last edited by Ibex; 2013-03-19 at 04:35.

  2. #2
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    Both SSDs and USB flash drives use flash memory, that is, data storage is achieved through the use of electronic circuits that require no moving parts. Today, typically NAND flash memory is used in both cases, but the quality of the memory used in SSDs is higher, and SSDs have different controllers and interfaces when compared with USB flash drives.
    This flash memory is non volatile, meaning that it doesn't require power to maintain data stored, contrary to what happens with typical random access memory. SSDs, contrary to magnetic disks in order to write new data, must erase any existing data before writing the new one. Here lies one of the disadvantages of this technology, since the number of times that this memory can be written is limited. Recent technologies put this number in small 7 digits. The controllers have some importance too, as they distribute the writing operations over the memory, to try to even out the number of write cycles each memory cell experiences.
    From a practical point of view, SSDs are reliable enough to be used with confidence in laptops and computers. They are still seen as probably not the best technology to use in write intensive scenarios (such as servers) - in a typical computer, data is read many more times than it's written, but in a server that may not be the case, even if many times it still is.

    SSDs have one huge advantage over magnetic disks. Random access is much faster, meaning that having an SSD as your drive, instead of a magnetic disk, will result in a many times amazing performance improvement. SSDs are more costly per GB than magnetic disks, though, but the cost is coming down progressively. Both the cost decreases, the performance difference to magnetic disks and the increased reliability have increased the use of SSDs in portable computers and even desktops and servers. Apple probably started this trend, at least in big numbers, with their Macbook Air. Today many manufacturers used SSDs in their laptops, although that happens in higher end models, due to cost. Lower capacity SSDs (up to 256 GB) can be bought at reasonable cost - not hard to find 128 GB SSDs for about 100-120 USD and 256 Gb around 200-250 USD (just checked amazon and you can have one for 185 USD).

    SSDs are reliable enough to be used in many laptops today. I have one in my laptop and I wouldn't go without now. Just as magnetic disks, they can fail and they will probably fail without warning, so the standard backup precautions are recommended, just as they are in magnetics disks. The best thing you can say about reliability is their increased use in laptops and devices such as iPads and the new Microsoft surface. Manufacturers wouldn't use them if they were not reliable.

    HTH

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    Ibex (2013-03-29)

  4. #3
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    SSD are best used for the operating system to gain maximum benefit. Large volumes of data are best stored on conventional HDD as these come with much higher capacities for less money. Also if HDD is used mainly for backups and data storage then they are not powered up so often as when used as OS drives so should last even longer.
    Clive

    All typing errors are my own work and subject to patents pending. Except errors by the spell checker. And that has its own patients.

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  6. #4
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Information on a drive is stored and or transferred as it has always been done; as ones and zeros.
    We are not at the point where SSD's can be used economically as storage drives.


    Time for you to do some reading:

    How do Mechanical hard drives work
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_disk_drive


    How do solid state drives work
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_drive

    Floating points in computer
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floating_point

    Binary Computer Code
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2013-03-19 at 09:50.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

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    Ibex (2013-03-29)

  8. #5
    Star Lounger Ibex's Avatar
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    Many thanks CLiNT, curioisclive and ruirib.

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