Wednesday, 23 January 2008

The future is SSD.

Last month, I ordered a new Macbook laptop and an MTron 32gb Solid State Disk drive to go with it. Thirdy two gigabytes is fairly small, but I planned to expose other hard drives I have through my wireless network for heavy duty data storage, so 32gb would be enough for a boot drive.

Solid state disks have a number of advantages over their regular brethren. For one thing, there are no moving parts, meaning they use less power and generate much less friction - therefore less heat. Also, having no moving parts, they are more robust against knocks and falls. All these characteristics make them ideal for mobile computing devices.

SSD's have traditionally had a couple of weakpoints. Because they are essentially a big block of flash NAND memory, they can be much more expensive (per GB) than a regular hard drive. Also, flash memory is typically slow, especially at writing data. Not ideal to run an OS from, then.

Well, that was until the MTron drives came out. Take a look at this article from Anandtech: MTRON MSP 7000 SSD - Raptors Beware in which the MTron SSD absolutely destroys the Western Digital Raptor (previously, the fastest desktop hard drive, which I have in my G5 Powermac). 0.1 ms access time!!!! Reading that article really made my mind up (just take a look at the benchmark results). So I paid a small fortune, waited a while and the hard drive arrived.

I mirrored my data across from the standard Macbook drive and booted up from the MTron. It is very quick. Not just at booting, or shutting down (which is now instant) but at every day usability tasks. So quick, a friend of mine stated they have never known a computer be as quick as this!

My boot times went down from over around about a minute and 20 to 20 seconds. Everything loads fast. The system responds to everything you doextremely quickly. Money well spent, then.

So the writings on the wall for standard hard drive technology. A few years from now, performance like this will be available to everyone and not at a premium. Rock and roll!

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