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Notebook Storage SSDs and HDs Compared

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the now-what-would-you-pay dept.

Data Storage 149

The Raindog sends us a particularly timely showdown article comparing seven 2.5" mobile hard drives, four of them HDs and three SSDs, across a wide range of application, file-copy, power-consumption, and noise-level tests. Tom's Hardware was recently forced to issue a correction to a claim, which we discussed here, that SSDs aren't actually much more power-thrifty than HDs. The Tech Report's in-depth comparison provides some data points on the question of whether solid-state storage is ready to supplant traditional mechanical hard drives, but notes that the price disparity is still substantial.

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149 comments

It's not the power efficiency... (5, Insightful)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#24204541)

It's the lack of moving parts. Try dropping both types repeatedly and see which one stops working first.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (5, Insightful)

MagdJTK (1275470) | more than 5 years ago | (#24204667)

Fair enough, but is this particularly relevant to the market? Sure, it would be nice, but would you rather pay a couple of hundred quid or just look after the computer in the first place?

The way I see it is that geeks would replace their laptop early enough that the HD will probably last long enough and that casual users won't want the extra expense. I think to be honest, the performance difference is the only real advantage and as soon as the prices come down, I'm getting one!

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (4, Insightful)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#24204775)

Depends on what you're doing. If you have a laptop that just travels between home, the office and maybe a cafe or two, then no. You don't need a solid state hard drive. If, however, you do a lot of traveling with your laptop, you may very well drop it once or twice, especially if you're hurried at an airport or some other such situation. Are SSDs for everyone? No, but for power users who are on the go a lot, they make your data a lot safer.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (2, Insightful)

MagdJTK (1275470) | more than 5 years ago | (#24204891)

Fair enough --- I can see how they would be very useful in the kind of environment the Panasonic Toughbook was designed for.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (5, Interesting)

nko321 (788903) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205449)

I have kids and it isn't an option for me to simply stop using the laptop when the two year olds are around. I need zilch for storage capacity and love longevity. $200 more for a notebook that lasts a year longer, speculatively speaking? Sign me up!

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (0)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206143)

People have coped with normal hard drives for years without any problems.

If you have money floating around then sure, but for the vast majority of users, the money is better spent elsewhere.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (4, Interesting)

kesuki (321456) | more than 5 years ago | (#24204899)

flash based drives simplify mil spec laptops, though. imagine having to design a laptop with a conventional HDD knowing that it has to survive being thrown into the back of a jeep carelessly, or be able to still work after a soldier pile dived on top of it trying to avoid machine gun fire, or even expected to still work if it had taken a pretty big shock as a result of nearby artillery or grenade blasts.

they used to have really good shock absorbing cages to protect the drive...

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (1)

Heather D (1279828) | more than 5 years ago | (#24207835)

This is what I'm interested in from SSDs I still do a lot of work on the road in places where I need to do data gathering while driving over roads that sometimes aren't really so much roads as widened animal paths. Big rocks and/or potholes have cost me days worth of data on several occasions.

The Eee, for instance, looks like it would be ideal for my needs.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (5, Insightful)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205019)

Sure, it would be nice, but would you rather pay a couple of hundred quid or just look after the computer in the first place?

It's not really a matter of looking after the computer in the first place. There is demand for a rugged computer that can be manhandled without it breaking apart. When I come home I want to toss my computer on my desk like I do with my keys and wallet. After I've surfed a while I want to toss my computer on the coffee table like I do with magazines. The whole "holy laptop" approach where you have to carry it around on a silk cushion and press the keys one at a time so as not to hurt its feelings is the reason I've never bothered buying one.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24205737)

Jeez, excluded middle much?

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (5, Insightful)

keytoe (91531) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205855)

When I come home I want to toss my computer on my desk like I do with my keys and wallet. After I've surfed a while I want to toss my computer on the coffee table like I do with magazines. The whole "holy laptop" approach where you have to carry it around on a silk cushion and press the keys one at a time so as not to hurt its feelings is the reason I've never bothered buying one.

You know, there are degrees of ruggedness between carrying it on a pillow and beating the shit out of it. I've had a laptop at my side pretty much constantly for upwards of 10 years now. At no time have I ever treated it as anything other than a tool. I don't baby my tools. I don't coo to it wistfully at the end of the day. I don't 'press the keys one at a time'. I also don't fling it across the house - but I don't do that to my socket wrenches either.

In all those 10 years of laptop lugging, I have never required any repairs or replacement due to mishaps. If you truly haven't bought a laptop because you picture them as fragile, I highly recommend you pick one up and give it a try. There is something to be said for carrying around a fully functional workstation wherever you go. Just remember that there is a continuum between 'holy laptop' and 'throw it across the room' - it's not a quantum step.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (4, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206105)

I've never had to repair anything due to mishaps, and I treat my laptop with reasonable care. However, I have had to replace two laptop hard drives on three occasions due to drive failures in the last ten years. Actually, make that two in the past five years, and none prior to that. One was an acoustic failure (loud, whining drive, but worked perfectly for the better part of a year in that state before I bothered to get it replaced). The other one... I put the machine to sleep, woke it up a minute later, and the drive wouldn't spin up, making a click-of-death "can't find track zero" noise. My suspicion is that it was a failure of the head due to abrasion as it drags across the ramp when parking.

Mechanical failures don't just happen to people who abuse their machines. Yes, they happen much more frequently to people who treat their machines like excrement, but they also happen randomly for no apparent reason... usually due to flaws in the mechanical design. Some drives have bad ramps that put too much stress on the heads when they park. Some drives have bearings that eventually start to leak oil all over the disk surface. And so on. I'd be much happier if I never had to deal with a Winchester drive again... particularly in laptops.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206277)

I also don't fling it across the house - but I don't do that to my socket wrenches either.

Yes, I don't fling my "socket wrenches" across the house either, at that point I refer to them as "what happens when dinner's not ready on time" or simply "reminders".

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206071)

Who "tosses" their keys or wallet around, let alone a laptop? That's ridiculous.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#24208135)

Um, most people. I toss my keys and wallet onto the kitchen table or nightstand all the time. I also toss my laptop onto my bed all the time, of course it's a water bed and it's almost always powered off when I do it, but it would be nice to not have to worry about whether it was or not.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (5, Funny)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206285)

I dropped my fujitsu laptop multiple times this year and it styiklkl worklsd fklaweklersdsdklerty

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24207147)

After I've surfed a while I just want to toss off.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (4, Interesting)

ozamosi (615254) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205037)

I was babysitting my mother's new puppy a few months back.

I was happily IRC:ing away from the couch, when I heard the puppy standing by the door.

For those of you that don't know, the thing about puppies is that they do prefer to pee outside, but their bladder system isn't really that good, so when they decide they want to go out, you only have a few seconds to avoid an accident.

So, I quickly put my laptop on the table, throw my headset away, and start to quickly move towards the door. Unfortunately, I didn't really put the computer down very good - half of it was hanging outside the table. As I tried to move past it, my knee touched it, and that was enough to throw the computer of the table, letting it fall for 4-5 decimeters before it hit the floor. It gave up a faint "peeep!" before it died.

My hard drive only kindof worked after that - booting was fine, but there were lots of broken clusters that sent the computer into a (seemingly) infinite loop, forcing the computer to use all CPU resources waiting for the hard drive, in effect freezing it. Slowly but surely, more and more clusters broke down, more and more files got damaged, until I finally bought a new drive. Trust me - at that point, I really, really wanted to buy a SSD.

Oh well, at least the puppy got out in time...

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (3, Informative)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206017)

HDDs are really not the main thing to worry about when a laptop is dropped or damaged. Screens are much more expensive than HDs, and much harder to replace. Now, data on HDDs is another story, potentially very valuable or important and impossible to replace, but it can be backed up.

Also, for the same price as a single SSD you could buy literally dozens of HDDs with more than double the storage as the SSD, so in terms of price, even if you pretend SSDs are super reliable and don't even need backup they are still more expensive than dealing with the unreliability of HDs. Obviously, it is much more convient when your hardware doesn't fail, even if it can be replaced fairly easily and cheaply, with minimal data loss, but HDDs are only one compontent of several that can be damaged and make your computer unusable, and with their incredibly limited storage SSDs are much more inconvient. You won't lose your data even if the thing is destroyed, because it won't fit on there in the first place.

Obviously, SSDs have some places where they excel, but at current prices and storage levels they are way over-hyped and over-used. The eee is an especially glaring example of this, putting a ridiculously high end component into a low end machine, forcing a incredibly low amount of storage.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (2, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 5 years ago | (#24207071)

However it is a very important example of exactly why SSD drives a important for portable computers, drop factor and, that is especially important for UMPC's especially in school use, where drops will be a expected now add OLED displays and you have significant improvements in reliable and battery life. So all you have to do is wait out patent greed because the obviously simpler construction method of SSD drives versus spinning platters means they will eventually end up being cheaper.

Not to be too picky on Toms hardware, but they are a well known cash for comment web site (ie. vista has 'nearly' the same performance as xp) and, that article is about as wishy washy as can be and implies a whole lot without saying anything at all.

Gees don't you know, V8s and tiny 4 cylinders use about much the same fuel 'er' when a car is rolling down a hill and your foot is off the accelerator or when in 'er' 'energy saving mode' and the engine is like switched off.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206923)

My hard drive only kindof worked after that - booting was fine, but there were lots of broken clusters that sent the computer into a (seemingly) infinite loop, forcing the computer to use all CPU resources waiting for the hard drive, in effect freezing it. Slowly but surely, more and more clusters broke down, more and more files got damaged, until I finally bought a new drive.

FYI your drive suffered a "head crash" in which the read/write head literally smacked the platter causing a minor abrasion to the media.

Your lucky that incident wasn't fatal to the drive. You did make a full backup ASAP right? Or did you just ride it out?

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24207243)

You waited until more and more files got damaged before finally buying a new drive? Why not buy a new drive as soon as you were aware of any problems? BTW, that puppy is going to cost you far more than the cost of a new laptop over the course of its life. :)

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24205333)

The one component which I replace most often in other people's laptops is the hard disk. I don't know how they handle their computers to cause these failure rates, but there you are: People need more reliable and robust storage. Data is usually more valuable than the computer hardware. It's a bigger PITA to lose a hard disk than a display.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (2, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205937)

In my experience, it's not so much shock as it is heat that kills the drive. When you encase a high-performance hard drive in a cheap plastic coffin, it can't withstand much sustained usage. Now if only laptop makers would turn that drive caddy into a semi-decent heatsink, things would probably be different.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (2, Interesting)

ArtistFrmrlyKnwnAsAC (1288796) | more than 5 years ago | (#24207753)

I wrote another comment recently [slashdot.org] about building my own flash drive with a couple of 16gb CF chips and an adapter from Addonics. I left out *why* I did this. I'm very rough with my tablet PC, and a spill earlier this year killed the mechanical drive. That was the 3rd drive to die for various reasons relating to rough use over the previous four years in this particular tablet. Six months of very rough use later, I've had absolutely no problems with the flash chips. The notebook is as fast with my homemade drive as the old 7200rpm that died, but now it runs cooler and completely silent, and gets about 25 more minutes of battery life at full load. The performance is a nice side-effect (compilers and IDEs like a fast drive), but my original intent was to have something that could survive my daily bike commute in a padded saddle bag over 20mi of bumpy roads + random dropping/banging around. Couldn't be happier so far.

How can a 32gb Thumb Drive (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24204685)

be $160 and a 32gb SSD cost 3x that....am I missing something? transfer speed?

Re:How can a 32gb Thumb Drive (5, Informative)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 5 years ago | (#24204995)

You're missing SLC vs. MLC and high-performance controllers.

Re:How can a 32gb Thumb Drive (2, Informative)

owlstead (636356) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205869)

And high quality tested parts. At least that was what I read in an article by someone that checked if the SSD drives were ready for deployment in his server farm. These guys like to do rigorous testing and good information, at least the professional ones.

Don't forget that these controllers are brand spanking new, and they are not in their 1000th revision like the controllers used on the hard drives. I'm really looking forward to the Intel designed drives. I presume that they will use their own controllers - the first showings seem to be very positive (no numbers posted yet).

Re:How can a 32gb Thumb Drive (4, Informative)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205997)

The thumb drive will die young if you use it as a hard drive, they're typically only designed for 10-15k write cycles (per cell). They also use MLC cells, which store two bits each - that doubles the capacity, but quadruples the error rate. Errors are usually corrected via parity/ECC, but obviously if you have more errors, you're more likely to exceed the ECC threshold.

There's also the issue with performance. A thumb drive might get 10-15mb/sec on a good day, 20 if you pay way too much money for a "dual channel" unit. Hard drives are expected to deliver 40mb/sec minimum these days, else your apps will take forever to load.

If you really want to be a wacko, you could try RAID-0 across a bunch of thumb drives. You'll get the performance back, but good god you're playing with fire.

Re:How can a 32gb Thumb Drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24206559)

If you really want to be a wacko, you could try RAID-0 across a bunch of thumb drives. You'll get the performance back, but good god you're playing with fire.

Replace RAID-0 with something like ZFS (with enough redundancy) and you've got just about the most reliable live storage in existence. Now if there was an adapter that would let me insert 32-128 microsdhc's in a nice grid and access them simultaneously..

Re:How can a 32gb Thumb Drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24206917)

That's what RAID10 was invented for.

Re:How can a 32gb Thumb Drive (2, Interesting)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 5 years ago | (#24207509)

And how many users will write over 320 terrabytes to their hard drive during it's lifetime? That's 190 days of continuous writing at 20MByte/sec. I wish people would stop citing write cycle limits, I have yet to hear from anyone who's actually failed a drive this way.

It's called... wear leveling algorithms.

The future is actually probably going to be a hybrid of SLC and MLC. I read a paper recently on this. They got about the same performance as SLC only, using only a small amount of SLC.

Re:How can a 32gb Thumb Drive (1)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206111)

am I missing something?

About $60 [microcenter.com]
Can't vouch for the speed on that one though. As far as the difference between that and SSD there is probably a difference in speed, number of writes per life of drive, and the type of controller.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (1)

Phybertekie (975815) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205033)

Drop a laptop harddrive once on a corner and odds are it won't work very long. To paraphrase Rush from the song Xanadu: They're made equal by hatchet, hammer and rock - squashed

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (1)

TriggerFin (1122807) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205725)

Very loosely paraphrased, indeed. Looks more like The Trees, which were "all kept equal by hatchet, axe, and saw."

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (2, Informative)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205071)

Of the two times I've seen a laptop dropped (to the point of something breaking), the screen broke, not the hard drive.

SSD's do nothing for this.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (2, Insightful)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206053)

Take the hard drive out of the broken screen unit and put it in a new unit.
Sixty seconds later you are back in business.

The cost of the hardware is immaterial compared to the contents on the drive.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (4, Insightful)

pthisis (27352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205103)

For me the selling points is noise. Most of the time whatever machines I'm near are plugged in, but having a nearly silent media pc in the living room, having a silent instant-on music player in the bedroom, and having a whir-less office would increase my happiness for many hours out of the day.

Power savings would be pretty nice, too, but much less often.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206169)

Noise ?

A decently built PC should be practically noiseless, if you choose the right parts. An SSD does eliminate one spindle, but the HDD should already be the quietest spindle in the system - the CPU/GPU/PSU fans are the troublemakers here.

If your hard drive is noticeably chatty, either insulate it with grommets/rubber bands, or just stop buying Maxtor.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (1)

jomiolto (1092375) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206489)

Noise ?

A decently built PC should be practically noiseless, if you choose the right parts. An SSD does eliminate one spindle, but the HDD should already be the quietest spindle in the system - the CPU/GPU/PSU fans are the troublemakers here.

Note that we are talking mainly about laptops here. Most of the time the fan(s?) on my laptop are almost completely silent, and the noisiest part of the computer is the hard drive. Not that it's a problem, though, since I don't usually even notice the sound it makes, unless it is really quiet (like now, 4am in the morning ;).

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (2, Informative)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205275)

On warm sea-level areas (such as a caribbean beach), high RPM harddrives tend to fail rather quickly. SSDs would operate just fine.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205437)

but if you drop them enough don't all the bits fall out?

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (2, Funny)

jomiolto (1092375) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205985)

No, the packaging is designed to keep the bits in, even if you drop the drive. However, the force of the impact can clutter all the bits in one corner of the drive, giving them no space to move and change their state, so you should give the drive a good solid shake if you happen to drop it. That way the bits will be spread evenly inside the drive again, and they may happily continue their data storing existence, without the fear of bumping to their grumpy neighbour.

Re:It's not the power efficiency... (1)

Mex (191941) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205731)

I just dropped a new 160 gb laptop and I lost all the data. I-m very interested in these new SSD drives.

How about a link? (5, Informative)

digitac (24581) | more than 5 years ago | (#24204573)

I think someone forgot a critical link... try this for the Tech Report article:

http://techreport.com/articles.x/15079 [techreport.com]

Re:How about a link? (5, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#24204917)

How about the link to the just published (today) update on Tom's [tomshardware.com] that not only has useful methodologies, but shows a new OCZ drive that wipes the floor with the rest of the drives in both power draw and performance?

Obviously the goggles do work (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 5 years ago | (#24204587)

I can't see where the actual article is

Re:Obviously the goggles do work (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24204915)

That's because the /. editor left it out when they moved this post from the Firehose to the front page. Quality, eh? Go figure. But here it is [techreport.com].

Re:Obviously the goggles do work (2, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#24204941)

Nobody reads them anyway, so apparently the editors have decided not to bother including links anymore.

What about recovery? (5, Informative)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | more than 5 years ago | (#24204637)

I've read that the algorithms used in SSD's are usually proprietary. The problem with SSD's is that they DIDN'T fix the wear leveling problem. It exists, just a lot slower now due to the algorithms referenced above. If my drive dies, I'll have to find a service that can recover my files, but they will have to be certified in samsung, seagate, white label, etc. I really feel uncomfortable with that idea.

Re:What about recovery? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24204735)

I've read that the algorithms used in SSD's are usually proprietary. The problem with SSD's is that they DIDN'T fix the wear leveling problem. It exists, just a lot slower now due to the algorithms referenced above. If my drive dies, I'll have to find a service that can recover my files, but they will have to be certified in samsung, seagate, white label, etc. I really feel uncomfortable with that idea.

You could just backup your files...

Re:What about recovery? (2, Funny)

Ortega-Starfire (930563) | more than 5 years ago | (#24204783)

Backup your files? Now that's just silly.

Re:What about recovery? (1)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205879)

Backup your files? Now that's just silly.

Back it up to what? Another ssd if they become standard? Tape drive? Pshh. Not a chance. Look long term. The only other option would be to pay someone to store my crap and frankly, I value my security/privacy far to much for that.

Re:What about recovery? (1)

Ortega-Starfire (930563) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206043)

Then use Mozy and add an encryption key. Face it, the NSA has better things to look at then whatever is squirreled away on your hard drive. They'll use the supercomputing crackers on those things first, and your porn collection later.

For more fun, encrypt it beforehand as well, use steganography, AND

Re:What about recovery? (2, Insightful)

MagdJTK (1275470) | more than 5 years ago | (#24204923)

I mean no disrespect, but I think this attitude is a bit damaging. A lot of people seem to think that a recovery service is a replacement for a backup regime rather than a last resort if an absolute disaster has occured.

Re:What about recovery? (4, Informative)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205005)

TFA says for a 60G disk, with 50G written daily, the drive will last for 33 years in respect to wear.

Re:What about recovery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24205299)

Who writes just 50G daily?

I write several terabytes daily, with frequent flushes. Lots of my programs use postgresql as their data store or berkdb with write ahead logs and frequent fsync() calls.

Many of my programs also do their I/O in chunks smaller than 128kb or whatever the native block size is on SSDs.

Try this experiment: Get a normal thumb drive (a high quality brand so you know it has good wear levelling), and put run mkswap and swapon on it, and just run your system for a few hours. Doing this on my machine kills any 4gb thumb drive within a few days. The longest one has lasted is around a month. I have tried all brands.

Lots of I/O means flash dies a horrible death. Simple as that. Sadly SSDs are simply not viable replacements for harddisks yet even though the capacity is now less of a problem.

Re:What about recovery? (3, Insightful)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205475)

The larger the drive, the more space to spread the wear.

Re:What about recovery? (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206099)

Not only that, I think there are multiple ways to do wear leveling and I don't see even the highest quality thumb drives use the best ones. There is no need for that - they are not produced for this kind of scenario the GP is describing.

I'm trying a 8 GB USB drive with high data rate and low seek time as a drive for my fanless PC. Since I have 1 GB RAM and not much memory intensive applications, I do expect even that drive to last forever.

Re:What about recovery? (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206369)

I'd also wager two 128 GiB SSDs in a Series1 TiVo will easily last at least until February 2009, if they were to make some with PATA interfaces

Seriously though, I think it would last even longer than that. A Series2 with dual tuners and a typical load of TiVoToGo pulling and video podcast downloads should have no problems either.

I haven't run any numbers on a Series3 with two CableCards constantly recording 1080i HD programming, but I'd want one 1 TiB SATA SSD and one 1 TiB eSATA SSD on it for the test.

Re:What about recovery? (1)

IkeTo (27776) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205655)

> Try this experiment: Get a normal thumb drive (a high quality brand so you know it has good wear levelling), and put run mkswap and swapon on it, and just run your system for a few hours.

For me it would do nothing. My swap is nearly never used except for hibernation.

Re:What about recovery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24205839)

Well, I have yet to find a laptop with more than 4GB of ram available for a reasonable price. I can easily exhaust my memory and often do. Also, I run many programs which mmap() many large files, and for some reason the VFS often decides to swap out inactive dirty pages rather than drop (clean) data from the page cache.

These behaviours alone can explain my active swap files, but in fact I sometimes also run a lot of my own code which happens to allocate 100s of GBs of address space and write a few values here and there (essentially using the MMU to manipulate really really fast a sparse vectors).

Re:What about recovery? (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205965)

Who writes just 50G daily?

Probably 99.999% of laptop users. Remember, these are notebook drives.

Re:What about recovery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24205433)

Really? I thought modern, high density flash memory had only a ~3000 cycle life. The old, single bit/gate memory was good for 100,000 write cycles, but I think those parts topped out at a few megabytes.

Re:What about recovery? (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205639)

Nah, about ten thousand, and - as far as I know - that's the guaranteed number of write cycles. And the Samsung drive reviewed uses 64 GB of single bit memory, so it's not old. What it is is expensive. Both of these things are in the freakin' article by the way (and they seem to be correct if I must believe my internet sources).

SLC vs. MLC flash (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205929)

I thought modern, high density flash memory had only a ~3000 cycle life. The old, single bit/gate memory was good for 100,000 write cycles, but I think those parts topped out at a few megabytes.

Single-level-cell NAND flash is still produced, for use in the faster, (slightly) more expensive drives with longer warranties. And multi-level-cell NAND flash is usually guaranteed for 10,000 writes, not 3,000. And the number quoted on the data sheet is the minimum longevity for each sector; more writes than that are possible. The CF controller doesn't retire a sector until it starts returning too many just-barely-correctable errors.

Re:What about recovery? (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205569)

Does this also apply to Compactflash cards that are used as harddrives? I was thinking of doing that instead of buying these more expensive SSD devices.

Re:What about recovery? (2, Informative)

supertux (608589) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205991)

It is my understanding (I read it on the internet somewhere) that every flash device has some form of wear leveling built in, except for the actual raw flash chips. So if you solder flash chips onto some device, you'll need to format those flash chips with jffs2 or similar because jffs2 will perform its own wear leveling.

As for compact flash as a hard drive, I have been using an 8GB Transcend 266x CF connected to an addonics CF->Sata adapter for use as the OS drive in my gentoo based mythtv system. Man, it really kicks butt.

I've only been running it for about 10 or 11 months now, but so far I've had no problems. The mysql database mythtv uses gets updated all the time. Since it is a gentoo system and I like to keep it up to date, the CF sees a lot of compiling action.

Speaking of which, having portage run off the flash has sped up my compiles way more than distc or ccache ever did for me. Or put another way, for compiling from, the flash drive is a godsend.

Performance is good as I get a consistent 40MB a second for sequential reads, and a consistent 34MB a second for sequential writes.

Re:What about recovery? (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205757)

Hmm, lets see.

(60 / 50 * 10000) / 365 = 32.something years. 33 years if you work for marketing.

Well, I don't know, but that's *really* efficient write leveling.

What do these drives do if you always write to the oldest data still in use, e.g. when doing round robin logging over the full size of the drive? Or are there other use cases that would mean a shorter life-span?

It's a manufacturers claim. I suspect the actual lifetime for casual notebook users will be pretty high. But if you continuously watch movies and remove the oldest ones, you might not be so lucky. Even then I would probably rather trust these things above a hard drive in a laptop.

Don't forget that 2/3 year warranty for a (mainly) portable product is still pretty high. It's new technology as well, so they'll try and be on the conservative side.

LINK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24204663)

http://techreport.com/articles.x/15079

Practical observations (3, Insightful)

carp3_noct3m (1185697) | more than 5 years ago | (#24204857)

Boils down to a couple of things: Reliability = Good, Speed = Good, Space = Fair , Cost = Why can't I pirate this! Damn, but that would be "stealing". When the cost goes down and the size comes up a bit, Ill be ready to buy one.

Re:Practical observations (2, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#24204961)

Reliability = Good, Speed = Good, Space = Awful , Cost = Not this decade, Charlie Brown.

And for all those saying "no moving parts - what if I drop my laptop?" - If you drop your lappy hard enough to break a modern drive, you'll probably be shopping for a replacement. Unlike those "tests", laptops don't land flat and square.

(queue all the "but I dropped my laptop and the only thing that broke was the hard drive" posts)

Re:Practical observations (5, Interesting)

carp3_noct3m (1185697) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205293)

Actually, I have a funny story. For Marines in Iraq movies get passed around on HD's alot. Me and some buddies had a 320g external hd at the time. Well, one day theyre watching Lost and we get attacked, I jump down and kick the cord. We all watched in Tivo slomo while the poor thing went all the 3 feet from desk to floor. It even had the entire album of some of my fancy themselves rappers friends. They blamed me, I blamed them for stringing a 10 foot usb to the laptop (which was hooked to a projector, its funny what you can get in the middle of nowhere when you know the supply officer)and the terrorist blamed the hard-drive. We lost over 200 movies, and SSD just might have stopped the whole thing, and now im ranting, but theres one of my war stories, buy me beer/scotch if you want more/better ones.

Re:Practical observations (2, Interesting)

vivin (671928) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206005)

Us Army guys had one of those in Iraq too - we called it the "Whore"-Drive. I destroyed my laptop drive there, but it was mainly intentional. I was trying to connect it to the crappy wireless we had, and I got so frustrated that I punch my laptop. Repeatedly. The HD didn't like that.

Re:Practical observations (2, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 5 years ago | (#24207271)

I got so frustrated that I punch my laptop

Never punch inanimate objects. You cannot win. Something will probably break, and both options are bad. I found this out when I got cross and punched a monitor. It was a while ago, so it was a CRT.

I never punched a computer again.

Re:Practical observations (1)

SylvesterTheCat (321686) | more than 5 years ago | (#24207633)

> buy me beer/scotch if you want more/better ones.

I would buy you beer/scotch regardless... assuming you are will tolerate the company of an Army artilleryman....

I even promise to bore you with only 1 of my Afghanistan stories for 2 of your Iraq ones...

You didn't say how long you have been back, however... Welcome home.

Re:Practical observations (3, Interesting)

MikeUW (999162) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205373)

I dropped my laptop once - actually, it kind of cartwheeled up into the air as I pulled it out of my backpack, then crashed on the ground.

No my hard drive didn't break - but it landed square on the end with the wireless card sticking out of it, and crushed the card. Fortunately the rest of it was fine.

In fact, I've never had a notebook drive die in any way (though maybe by saying so I've jinxed myself). Lots of desktop drives have died on me though...and I never dropped any of those.

Re:Practical observations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24205719)

You know this decade is almost over, right?

Slow down, cowboy! It's been 8 years since you last successfully posted a comment

Re:Practical observations (2, Informative)

Pebby (1321397) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205831)

No, while your laptop is off, your HDD is as likely to break as anything, but while it is ON and accessing data, that sucker is spinning. A big jostle can seriously damage it. Panasonic Toughbooks even had shock-mounted HDDs in them to stop this. Solid state drives completely eliminate the worry about spinning - this is why we can manhandle our cellphones without worry while they're ON. It's not like with a spinning CD in a Discman - the optical lens is nowhere near as close to the CD as the parts in a HDD are crammed together.

Re:Practical observations (2, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206375)

Maybe you need a modern laptop hard drive [akihabaranews.com]

* SecurePark - WD's SecurePark technology parks the recording heads off the disk surface during spin up, spin down and when the drive is off. This ensures the recording head never touches the disk surface resulting in improved long term reliability due to less head wear, and improved shock tolerance.

* ShockGuard - WD's ShockGuard technology protects the drive mechanics and platter surfaces from shocks during shipping and handling and in daily operation.

* Free-fall Sensor - As an added layer of protection, if the drive (or the system it's in) is dropped while in use, WD's free-fall sensor detects that the drive is falling and, in less than 200 milliseconds, parks the head off the disks to help prevent damage and data loss.

* WhisperDrive - WD's exclusive WhisperDrive technology combines state-of-the-art seeking algorithms that result in one of the quietest 2.5-inch drives on the market.

I've got 2 x 320-gb WD drives in my laptop - VERY quiet, very good performance - can you even BUY 320gig SSDs?

apple users are dick smokers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24204971)

fucking faggots. go suck steve's dick some more you fucking faggots. fucking faggot snobs.

SSD (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24205147)

i wouldnt pay squat.
SSD is a loser mission.
the fabs and creator of fabs are better used soemwhere else.
oilgoin' down to $80, still to expensive ...
"i need TOOLS! u don't." >notice the trademark (tm)

Thanks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24207875)

I always wondered what a post would look like written by someone after a full brainectamy. And now I know: exactly like a digg user posting on slashdot.

All those design points are incongruous (3, Interesting)

gelfling (6534) | more than 5 years ago | (#24205847)

I would love an SSD for r/w performance that blows a mechanical drive out of the water.

I would love an SSD that doesn't use much power.
I would love an SSD that's shockproof.
I would love an SSD that runs cool.
I would love an SSD that's silent.
I would love an SSD that roughly the same price performance of a mechanical drive.

The problem is, it can't be all of those things. It can't even be most of those things. So pick the ones you need.

Re:All those design points are incongruous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24207387)

it can't be all of those things

Why not?

Re:All those design points are incongruous (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#24207617)

I would love an SSD for r/w performance that blows a mechanical drive out of the water.

It looks like the OCZ drive does this.

I would love an SSD that doesn't use much power.

It looks like the OCZ drive does this, too.

I would love an SSD that's shockproof.

Isn't this a natural result of the "solid state" part of "solid state disk"?

I would love an SSD that runs cool.

Direct result of "doesn't use much power".

I would love an SSD that's silent.

Isn't this a natural result of the "solid state" thing, again?

I would love an SSD that roughly the same price performance of a mechanical drive.

Newegg lists an out-of-stock OCZ drive (maybe the same one?) for $450 for 32GB. The cheapest laptop drive they have is $50 (60 GB). So the OCZ drive costs around 9x as much as a cheap HDD for performance 2-4 times better than the HDDs in the article, which gives 2-5x worse price/performance. (It also has 6-12x better performance/watt or 2-3x better performance/watt/dollar, but you didn't ask about that).

The problem is, it can't be all of those things. It can't even be most of those things. So pick the ones you need.

It looks to me like an on-the-market SSD already is all except the last one, and it's fairly close there.

Good Vibrations (0, Offtopic)

Browzer (17971) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206193)

I love the colorful clothes she wears
And the way the sunlight plays upon her hair
I hear the sound of a gentle word
On the wind that lifts her perfume through the air

Im pickin up good vibrations
Shes giving me excitations
Im pickin up good vibrations
(oom bop bop good vibrations)
Shes giving me excitations
(oom bop bop excitations)
Good good good good vibrations
(oom bop bop)
Shes giving me excitations
(oom bop bop excitations)
Good good good good vibrations
(oom bop bop)
Shes giving me excitations
(oom bop bop excitations)

Close my eyes
Shes somehow closer now
Softly smile, I know she must be kind
When I look in her eyes
She goes with me to a blossom world

Im pickin up good vibrations
Shes giving me excitations
Im pickin up good vibrations
(oom bop bop good vibrations)
Shes giving me excitations
(oom bop bop excitations)
Good good good good vibrations
(oom bop bop)
Shes giving me excitations
(oom bop bop excitations)
Good good good good vibrations
(oom bop bop)
Shes giving me excitations
(oom bop bop excitations)

(ahhhhhhh)
(ah my my what elation)
I dont know where but she sends me there
(ah my my what a sensation)
(ah my my what elations)
(ah my my what)

Gotta keep those lovin good vibrations
A happenin with her
Gotta keep those lovin good vibrations
A happenin with her
Gotta keep those lovin good vibrations
A happenin

Ahhhhhhhh
Good good good good vibrations
(oom bop bop)
(Im pickin up good vibrations)
Shes giving me excitations
(oom bop bop)
(excitations)
Good good good good vibrations
(oom bop bop)
Shes na na...

Na na na na na
Na na na
Na na na na na
Na na na
Do do do do do
Do do do
Do do do do do
Do do do

Drive spins up, drive spins down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24206401)

It drives me crazy. I've tried laptop-mode-tools and various hdparm settings; but here I am doing nothing more than browse the web or work on the VPN in screen or RDP sessions; and I hear the drive spin up, and a few minutes later, spin down. And again... and again. The palm-rest gets nice 'n toasty, and hddtemp says 50 degrees C. Aaaaaarrghhh. Even running Firefox entirely from memory (cache and the entire profile directory); still the same thing. It wastes energy and slowly toasts itself to death. That's why SSDs.

Of course, I'm using a CF->IDE adapter, 'cause I dont' need server-grade performance; just something like a 5400 rpm notebook drive; and something that doesn't generate heat.

Dropped 2.5" HDD onto cement repeatedly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24206641)

FWIW, my Creative Nomad Jukebox 3 has been dropped from carrying height onto asphalt or cement at least three or four times. It has a 20 GB 2.5" HDD which I've never replaced in... I dunno... six? eight?... years. Amazingly, the LCD is also perfectly fine. I still use it to listen to music every day during my commute and at work. Fuck the ipod.

Re:Dropped 2.5" HDD onto cement repeatedly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24206757)

FWIW, my Creative Nomad Jukebox 3 has been dropped from carrying height onto asphalt or cement at least three or four times. It has a 20 GB 2.5" HDD which I've never replaced in... I dunno... six? eight?... years. Amazingly, the LCD is also perfectly fine. I still use it to listen to music every day during my commute and at work. Fuck the ipod.

(It's either a Hitachi or a Toshiba drive... can't recall exactly, right now. For the iPod defenders, I say it half tongue-in-cheek... I know the Nomad's comparatively huge, but it's still working, so I've just never had a reason to buy an iPod. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.)

The best thing since the MOUSE (3, Insightful)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206805)

SSDs are the best thing to happen to PCs since the invention of the mouse.

I have had a MemoRight GT for 3 months now, and my laptop feels amazing. I am disappointed Tom didn't include one in his review.

Because the seek speed is 40x + than an HDD, data access is blazing fast on even the cheaper SSDs. The hangup is in the slow read/write speeds and problems with random access. MemoRight GT is the first SSD I saw that was faster than HDDs in all of these areas, and hence it not only outperforms I/O wise, you get the full benefit of fast access... And this will make your PC feel 4x faster.

Everything becomes faster. Web pages load faster. Email arrives faster. Windows moves faster. No more HDD cache writing lag or "what is my HDD doing" moments.

I don't care that much for battery life, though I am sure some do. As Tom concludes, that is pretty much a spec you just need to look out for, so if you want it, look for a drive that has it.

What I do love though is the silence. Anyone who has gone through an HDD failure is sensitive to HDD sounds probably more than they know, or would like.

SSDs make no sound, and there are no strange vibrations.

I spent close to 2K on the drive, but it was worth every penny. If I buy a new SSD when the 3rd generation drives arrive, my Memoright will still always have a place in one of my notebooks.

SSD and my EEE. (1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 5 years ago | (#24206911)

Quite, boots fast with Linux on there. I love it and part of me does wish I had one on my desktop. It just seems to work so much nicer then a regular hard drive from the use I got out of it.

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