Thursday, March 29, 2007

New Hard Drives on the Horizon

I think a lot of new technologies are mostly hype. And some very usefull new technologies take a while to catch on. But every once in a while a new technology (or in this case, an "it's about time" incremental advancement) comes along where I have to say "I wish I had that NOW!"--or more often "I wish I could afford that NOW!"

Soon all laptop hard drives will be based on flash drive technology. They'll be faster, quieter, cooler, and more impact resistant than standard hard drives. Plus they'll be more reliable than current flash drives.

But the new solid-state flash drives use a different form of flash memory, industry analyst Rob Enderle explained to LiveScience.

“Their speed used to be 20 percent faster than magnetic media, but now it’s two to four times faster,” said Enderle, head of the Enderle Group in San Jose, CA. Meanwhile, each flash memory cell can only change state so many times before wearing out, but the new drives make sure that the same cells aren’t used over and over, with repetitive actions being relegated to RAM, he added.


Additionally, SSDs don’t make any noise, emit little heat, and consume on average about half the wattage that mechanical drives consume.


Samsung claims that its SSDs can survive shocks about six times more powerful than hard drives can survive, and about 20 times more vibration. SanDisk calculates that the average life span of its SSDs is two million hours, or six times more than a mechanical hard drive. Meanwhile, hard drive failure is the cause of 25 to 45 percent of all laptop deaths, Gartner estimates.

I suspect that that's not quite hype-free, but it's obviously leaps and bounds better than my crappy system.

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