Sunday

Solid State Drives - Great, With Some Caveats

Solid State Disk drives (SSDs) are a pretty sweet technology - I can personally testify that they can give a new lease of life to an older computer, sometimes increasing performance quite dramatically. They are also lightweight, quieter, run cooler and use less energy than traditional mechanical hard drives. There are also some things you should aware of - let the buyer beware, if you like - concerning this still relatively new technology. There are still relatively expensive for a given storage capacity, and mostly come in (relatively) smaller sizes. Both of these are improving over time as the technology matures. Because the drives operate differently from the older technology, there are also some do's and dont's associated with using them...

DO use an uninterruptable power supply/battery backup device on a desktop PC with an SSD. This does not apply to a laptop, which already has a battery. SSD's may not handle power outages well.

DO NOT defragment the file system on the SSD drive. Things like defragmentation, prefetch and other file system services in Windows will just wear out the SSD quicker. Windows 7 and 8 are typically "smart" enough to automatically adjust themselves to SSDs, but refer to Microsoft's guide here.

DO NOT let the SSD get full - you will likely notice a significant performance decrease if the drives are fully utilized. While this may seem like a bit of a rip-off, the drives are generally a little larger than advertised for this reason - and that's just the state of the technology at the moment.

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