SSDs: More questions than answers…

Posted: February 7, 2008 in computers, hardware
Tags: ,

Why if the MTBF (mean time between failures) is some astronomically huge number, for instance 2 million hours, is the warranty only for 12 months? BITMICRO states their 1.6TB (yes you read that right – terabyte) SSD has a MTBF of 2 million hours and yet, as i stated above, the warranty is for 12 months. I did the math, 2 million hours is approx. 228 years, even allowing for leap years. Don’t you think they could split the difference and offer a least a few years more than just 1? Which brings me to another question. Do we still need RAM if we are using a SSD? Solid State Drives (SSD) are made of Flash or DDR, so basically, the same stuff your computer is using for RAM. If the hard-drive is made of ram, then the need for ram to speed up the system doesn’t seem necessary anymore. Is this the thinking behind Apple’s decision to only provide 2 gig of ram in their latest laptop the MacBook Air? The trouble with this thinking is that the SSD is an option, and an expensive one at that, so most of the MBAs will be sold with the standard drive, and the 2 gig of ram will be a hinderance to the possible speed of this bleeding-edge machine. AND… while i’m on the subject of the MBA – what’s up with only having one USB port? Two is not enough sometimes for me on my MacBook (mouse and external drive running Time Machine use them up). Would it have been so tough to provide two USB ports, especially since the darn thing doesn’t have ethernet NOR a superdrive, both of which you can get but each needs the USB port. But i digress.

It seems to me that SSDs are the next wave of storage for all laptop computers and other devices, simply because the lack of moving parts makes them more stable for mobile devices – heck, phones and ipods are already using them for that reason, IMHO the next big thing will be integrated SSD’s in car stereos that you can offload your mp3s to instead of connecting your ipod. Some manufacturers are already providing CF slots or SD slots in their stereos as well as USB connections, but do you really want to fumble around with a flash card while driving? Much better to have a hard-drive built into your car stereo that you just add music to before you hit the road. No more fumbling for the ipod to change the song or trying to find a safe place to put it where it does not get in the way of the drink holder or the climate controls. Gotta make sure i have a place to put my “timmy’s” while i am driving.

The only real drawback at the moment is the cost of SSDs. As a comparison, a typical platter style HD will cost in the neigbourhood of 50 cents to $1 per GB – less of course as you go bigger, whereas a SSD is running approx. 15 times that right now. Give it time though, it wasn’t too long ago that the old-tech HDs where considerably more expensive.

Reliability is only one part of the equation though, there is also the increased access speed and the lower power consumption which will push many manufacturers to consider switching in the continuing effort to make devices smaller, more energy efficient and provide longer battery life. i guess the only real question is will there be enough early adopters to help drive down the costs quicker or will we have to wait for the manufacturers to do this on their own time schedule.
TCG

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Comments
  1. […] Drive (HDD) with an SSD, it was just too cost prohibitive, (actually i did a blog post about that http://thatcomputerguy.ca/2008/02/07/ssds-more-questions-than-answers/) but as with anything, costs do come down and the bleeding edge isn’t quite so sharp.   So […]

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  2. […] Drive (HDD) with an SSD, it was just too cost prohibitive, (actually i did a blog post about that ssds-more-questions-than-answers) but as with anything, costs do come down and the bleeding edge isn’t quite so sharp.   So […]

    Like

  3. […] Drive (HDD) with an SSD, it was just too cost prohibitive, (actually i did a blog post about that ssds-more-questions-than-answers) but as with anything, costs do come down and the bleeding edge isn’t quite so sharp.   So […]

    Like

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