Solid State Drives (SSD) – What are you waiting for?

Sample pricing, courtesy of recent MicroCenter.com email - this promotion has expired

Sample pricing, courtesy of recent MicroCenter.com email - this promotion has expired

Time is money.

We recently passed a milestone in market saturation of Solid State Drives (SSD). Entry level drives in reasonable sizes can now be had for less than $1 per Gigabyte (even before those annoying mail-in rebates).

That’s my “buy” trigger.

Lest we lose perspective, I recall we paid $3 per Megabyte for the 200MB hard drives in early PC CAD systems. Yep – a $600 line item for internal storage that wouldn’t hold today’s version of Windows Operating System. Don’t even get me started on RAM prices…

Solid State Drives provide noticeably superior performance over spinning, magnetic disks. Higher resiliency, along with lower noise emission, heat generation and power consumption are just icing on the cake.

They are now truly “no-brainers” for laptop devices and a very strong argument can be made for converting all your desktop boot drives to SSD. Their next best application is as Caching drives for Autodesk Revit Workstations.

What’s the drawback?

Well, price, for one. They’re still more expensive than equivalent magnetic disk drives and aren’t yet available in larger volume sizes. Folks who have gotten in the habit of storing Terabytes of information on their local drives (shudder!) won’t be able to fully utilize SSD technology. But, Local “Data Hoarding” is a topic for another day.

Second is the finite number of writes an SSD can endure. Technological developments have rendered this less of a factor, as the theoretical limit now exceeds what we would consider normal life spans for computers. That said, I would monitor SSD’s used in Caching applications on an annual basis.

So, what are you waiting for?

Changing a boot drive from magnetic disk to SSD may be our last opportunity to experience a truly dramatic performance boost. Everything else is incremental.

Dave

About Dave Pluke

Dave Pluke served as "the man behind the curtain" (Principal and VP of Technology) of a successful Structural Engineering firm for over 2 decades. Overseeing the transition from two, stand-alone 80286 Personal Computers, through Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) and Design to a fully networked, Building Information Modeling (BIM) integrated environment has provided plenty of "life lessons" (sounds better than "battle scars", doesn't it?). This blog's purpose is to share those experiences and apply lessons learned to better assist meeting the challenges of the future.
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