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Flash Drive v. Hard Drive For New Laptop

Flash Drive v. Hard Drive For New Laptop

Old Jan 29, 11, 11:57 pm
  #16  
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Originally Posted by Landing Gear View Post
How soon will there be larger capacity SSDs, say 500 or 1TB?
512GB SSDs already exist, but cost about $1,000. Until these get down to the $250 range, I won't be going in the SSD direction.
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Old Jan 30, 11, 12:53 am
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by mcgahat View Post
Good question. I think speed is definitely one question but also how much is the security of knowing you are less likely to have a hard drive failure when traveling? That is big for me as well.
True, with no moving parts a SSD is not going to physically crash like traditional hard disk drives. Depending on the OP's line of work that would be a plus factor, but for me in particular, this is something that I'm not particularly worried about.

I've been lugging around the same corporate laptop for over 5 years now and it still hasn't crashed on me. Just in case though, I have backups of my data, and if I'm on a trip where there's some critical data that I might need (presentations, reports etc), I bring these data along on a flash drive and also on paper if there's a chance I won't be able to access a PC. In principle the flash drive is the same but it is still much cheaper than the SSD option.

Having backups and bringing along extras may sound inconvenient, but I think this is just part of having good information systems management. Even if you use an SSD you need to have a backup somewhere.


* Using the same laptop for 5 years means there might be a greater chance of it crashing sometime in the future - yay, good excuse to get a new laptop!

Last edited by KIXman; Jan 30, 11 at 12:58 am
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Old Jan 30, 11, 1:08 am
  #18  
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I just put a SSD into my four year old Thinkpad. It's like a new computer. If it's powered off and I tap the power button, I get the Windows login screen within about 15 seconds. I can fully use the computer (no hard drive loading things into memory and slowing things down) about two seconds after logging in.
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Old Jan 30, 11, 1:15 am
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gfunkdave, good to know you kept backups!
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Old Jan 30, 11, 3:16 am
  #20  
 
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Originally Posted by Landing Gear View Post
Please take a look here at Frys.

256 GB SSD Drive prices: $470-700.

Plus, what happens to the warranty?
Fry's isn't exactly the best for deals. Most laptops still carry a warranty after user-serviceable upgrades.

Originally Posted by mcgahat View Post
I do not think $650 is a rip-off considering the fact that you will not have to deal with the hassle of actually rebuilding the drive yourself. Of course if you did order with the cheaper drive, buy a SSD then clone it yourself you would have the old drive to use as a backup drive or utility drive.
Considering I can buy a 240GB SSD drive for $400 here, I would call an extra $250 is a rip-off.
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Old Jan 30, 11, 3:28 am
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Originally Posted by KIXman View Post
True, with no moving parts a SSD is not going to physically crash like traditional hard disk drives. Depending on the OP's line of work that would be a plus factor, but for me in particular, this is something that I'm not particularly worried about.
That's the key benefit for me, hard drives don't like moving yet a laptop by it's nature isn't static. Even with all the snazzy shock technology that new laptops have hard drive failure is more common in laptops than desktops. SSD's take that issue away and you get a nice speed advantage to boot.
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Old Jan 30, 11, 3:40 am
  #22  
 
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There is a middle-ground if you want some of the performance of SSD, but the price of a normal hard disk, which are the "Hybrid" drives like this one.

At around $100 for 500GB it's only a little more than a normal platter drive, but it also has a 4GB of Flash/SSD which apparently can give a significant performance increase depending on what you're using the drive for.
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Old Jan 30, 11, 5:32 am
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Originally Posted by Landing Gear View Post
Does anyone know if there are warranty issues if you change the drive yourself on a laptop?
There might be issues.

What most people do is save the drive you take out of the laptop and put it back in if/when you need a warranty repair.

-David
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Old Jan 30, 11, 7:38 am
  #24  
 
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SSD can fail as well - this has happened to me on an OEM Dell. The problem is that it is much more difficult and expensive to recover the data on a SSD rather than a HD.
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Old Jan 30, 11, 9:19 am
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Originally Posted by duluthDL View Post
SSD can fail as well - this has happened to me on an OEM Dell. The problem is that it is much more difficult and expensive to recover the data on a SSD rather than a HD.
Agreed that a SSD can fail as well but why was it so much more expensive and difficult to recover?
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Old Jan 30, 11, 10:59 am
  #26  
 
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As others have already pointed out, there is no doubt of the performance superiority of the SSD over traditional hard drives (an acquaintance likes to call 'em "spinning rust" Everything will simply be much faster with the SSD ... at least when it is new.

It is important to realize that SSD quality varies greatly amongst brands. The premium brands (e.g. OCZ, Intel) will consistently perform well on all performance metrics and for a long time to come, especially true for the prevalent MLC SSD drives. The lesser brands will likely perform only half as well (but probably still better than most laptop hard drives) and lack the "secret sauces" in their controllers to ensure adequate write performance (a real Flash memory weak point) as more of the drive is used/reused. I have personally experienced cheaper SSDs pausing/freezing annoyingly on disk IO. You must do your research (Anandtech is an excellent source) and understand that you get what you pay for ... there are good reasons why OCZ and Intel SSD cost 50% more than cheap brands.

An important consideration is the drive form factor ... e.g. my Thinkpad X300 only supports 1.8" SSD with microSATA interface. This means there are only two brands (OCZ and latest generation Kingston with the Toshiba controller) worth considering, stay away from the Photofast. Not surprisingly, they command high prices ($700+ CAD for 240-256GB). If your laptop supports 2.5" SSD, you will have at least half a dozen options at significantly lower price points.

If you are not technically inclined and/or can't be bothered to do the research required to find a good product you will be happy with, my recommendation is to pay the premium and get the SSD option available through the laptop manufacturer. They have applied the rigorous due-diligence and testing to ensure satisfactory performance, reliability, and compatibility. One-throat-to-choke for warranty is good as well.

SSDs do fail, but generally at a much lower rate than hard drives. Btw, there is no reason why SSD would be harder to recover from; I suppose the poster meant it would be harder to find a data recovery service that knows how to recover data from a broken SSD. As with all newer technology, it takes the market a while to catch up to the needs, especially true for a niche market. The best thing to do is to make sure you perform consistent backup of your data. Fyi, I have found Casper to be an excellent and cost effective tool for creating a bootable clone of a drive and I setup an Outlook task reminder to run it once a month. Combine that with a set-it-n-forget-it online backup service (e.g. Backblaze or Crashplan), and you are golden!

Last edited by nchinetti; Jan 30, 11 at 11:47 am
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Old Jan 30, 11, 11:57 am
  #27  
 
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I will never purchase another computer, dektop or laptop, that does not have an SSD as the OS drive. It is a huge improvement in useability. That being said I won't be ripped off either. So in your example I'd buy my own SSD and install it myself. It's not hard with tons of how to's on Google.
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Old Jan 31, 11, 3:37 am
  #28  
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Originally Posted by mcgahat View Post
I do not think $650 is a rip-off considering the fact that you will not have to deal with the hassle of actually rebuilding the drive yourself. Of course if you did order with the cheaper drive, buy a SSD then clone it yourself you would have the old drive to use as a backup drive or utility drive.
What hassle? Most Windows machines come out of the box with manufacturer-provided crapware; I've not worked with Sony in while, but in the past, they've been more guilty than most of that. Reinstalling a clean copy of Windows is, for many of us, the first step to using a new machine regardless of whether we're using the original disks.

As far as who makes them. WD, Seagate do make them but I am seeing more from Crucial, OCZ and Kingston. I would assume because they are better suited to manufacture but dont know why for sure.
I'm still most comfortable with Intel; they're no longer the price-performance leader, but the X25M has a GREAT track record and it's still pretty competitive in speed and price for the new-ish 120GB [email protected]$250 (the $400 price of the 160gb, not so competitive.)


Originally Posted by docbert View Post
There is a middle-ground if you want some of the performance of SSD, but the price of a normal hard disk, which are the "Hybrid" drives like this one.
Little or none of the durability benefit, though. I'd personally take an SSD even if it were slower to get that, but then again, I'm very hard on my equipment - back before SSDs I was killing at least one mechanical drive a year between 2002-2008.

Originally Posted by LIH Prem View Post
What most people do is save the drive you take out of the laptop and put it back in if/when you need a warranty repair.
Yup. Of course, this is easier on some models than on others.
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Old Jan 31, 11, 7:26 am
  #29  
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A decent price point for high-quality 80-160GB SSDs right now is about $1.50/GB (compared to $0.08/GB for traditional 500GB-1TB hard drives).

In fact, Newegg has a good 120GB SSD for $170 after rebate.
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Old Jan 31, 11, 7:46 am
  #30  
 
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Originally Posted by LIH Prem View Post
There might be issues.

What most people do is save the drive you take out of the laptop and put it back in if/when you need a warranty repair.

-David
Originally Posted by nkedel View Post
Yup. Of course, this is easier on some models than on others.
Boy, you can say that again. I've changed out hard drives in Dells and Lenovos for years and am used to removing a screw, sliding out a tray, changing the drive. Recently a friend asked me to help him change out his laptop hard drive and I said, "No problem." He brought over a Sony. After much looking at the laptop and online, I finally found instructions that involved removing the screen, the keyboard, darn near disassembling the entire box before you could remove the hard drive. Never again.

Considering the OP is talking about a Sony, I'd look at what's involved in swapping. $650 is only marginally above market for a 256 GB SSD, and may be WELL WORTH THE PRICE to have it installed.
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