Solid State Disks aimed at wrong market segment

People are making a big to-do about Solid State Disks (SSDs) like this one. While I agree a 128GB size is impressive for SATA-connected flash memory, they shouldn’t be marketed as replacements for regular laptop hard drives. Yes, I think HD damage due to drops is a valid reason to try and use SSDs, but they’re still flash memory: they have an inherently limited number of uses before they die. Hard drives last longer, especially ones made nowadays. They can handle more read/write cycles. And, the biggest thing of all, they more capacity, especially with perpendicular bit storage.

You know where I think SSDs would work great? As secondary storage in addition to a regular hard drive. They could figure as a secondary drive on laptops or desktops, and be used for storage of all sorts of things that don’t need to be stored on the drive itself or that get fragmented quickly, like the page file, or the scratch disk in Photoshop. They could also be used to hold all of the temp files that the operating system generates. While you’re working on a file, say a Word document, the OS should store it automatically on the SSD, then transfer the saved document to the hard drive when you hit Save. Things like this could really help cut down on the HD fragmentation.

The SSDs could also be used to store vital OS files that are needed for boot-up (as was suggested a couple of years back, when flash storage was still too expensive and small). That way, computers could potentially start up instantly. The regular files would be stored on the HD, of course. But to say SSDs are hard drive replacements is a stretch. Their application as such, while suited for certain environments and laptops like the Panasonic Toughbooks, military equipment, or media players like the iPod, is ill-suited for regular laptops and computers, where storage needs are growing exponentially.

We should really focus our efforts on developing bigger, quieter hard drives for laptops and desktops, not on replacing them with expensive flash memory of unproven long-term reliability.


2 Thoughts

  1. I agree. 128 GB flash based drive compared with 500GB normal laptop hard drive is almost a disaster. I can imagine SSDs in such “laptops” as Macbook Air, where portability and dimensions matter more than anything else, but regular laptops will benefit more from bigger hard drives with spinning platters.

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