Hard disk vs. solid-state drive

Solid-state disk (SSD) drives are all the rage among techies. The drives use non-volatile NAND flash memory, meaning that there are no moving parts and they are faster in reading and, in most cases, writing data. Computerworld magazine has published a worth to read article Review: Hard disk vs. solid-state drive — is an SSD worth the money?

The conclusion in the article is: For most users, this a good time to consider buying a higher-end HDD that should deliver more-than-enough performance while you wait for SSD prices to drop further. That could be a long wait.

Typical notebook or desktop users probably won’t notice a big difference between an SSD drive and a traditional hard disk drive other than a faster boot-up and quicker application-launch times. For laptops and desktops, where consumers will continue to seek as much capacity as money can buy, SSD adoption will likely suffer for years to come.

SSDs make sense for small handheld devices and special applications. SSD will continue to dominate in small handheld devices because the cost to produce flash memory-based drives is significantly cheaper than hard disk drives when drive capacity does not need to be very big.

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  4. Solid state hard drives says:

    Linux does have a flash-cognizant file system, ubifs, if the system has direct access to raw flash. In the PC world, though, backwards compatibility is critically important; the typical PC BIOS doesn’t know how to boot off of raw flash, and Windows (which still has 85% of the market) doesn’t know how to use raw flash. So if you want a few 80 gigabytes of flash in a laptop, today the only way to get it is with it attached to a SATA interface in a 2.5″ laptop disk form factor. Which means you don’t have direct access to raw flash…

    It may be that first generation SSD’s (which are cheaper) with more intelligent file systems would make sense, but given the huge number of Windows machines, it’s not clear how long 1st generation SSD’s will be available in the market. So it makes sense that we add more smarts into the file system which optimizes for a certain amount of intelligence in the SSD’s. Remember, those of us who are Linux file system developers have relatively little ability to impact what Intel and other SSD vendors will be making available to the market. We can try making some suggestions, but at the end of the day it’s probably more useful for us to adapt to what they are doing — assuming we can figure it out or we can get low-level implementations out of them, along with warnings about what aspects of their internal implementation are likely to be around in future versions of their SSD’s, and what are initial implementation bugs that will likely disappear in future firmware updates or in future versions of their products.

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