Which drive computer should a student get?
The laptop market is moving from traditional “spinning rust” hard disk drives (HDDs) to chip-based, solid state drives (SSDs) for a number of reasons. SSDs are more responsive; They consume less battery power; They are less likely to break when dropped and take up very little space.
The main advantage is their quick responsiveness. SSD program loading and saving programs and files are very fast start and process.
In laptops, the hard drive is not spinning all the time, in order to save power and provide longer battery life. When a program needs data from a hard drive, it has to wait until the hard drive is up, which causes a slight delay. When a program receives data from an SSD, it doesn’t have to wait: it becomes available almost immediately.
The drawback is that SS Di’s have always been priced higher. SSD storage costs much more than HDD storage and has a much higher ratio. That’s why it’s been more than two decades for this change to happen on the lower star. However, each time flash memory prices fall, SSDs become cheaper, but more people are willing to pay the difference in price.
This is a must know if you are able to get an SSD.
Of course, SSDs mean that most people have to work with very little storage. A laptop may come with a 128GB or 256GB SSD instead of a 1TB or 2TB hard drive. A 1TB hard drive stores eight times as much as a 128GB SSD, and four times as much as a 256GB SSD. The big question is how much do you really need.
In fact, other storage devices have helped compensate for the low capacity of the SSD.
For example, many people now store more data in the cloud – using online services such as Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox – on their laptops. The advantage is that you can access your online files from other devices including desktop PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Some people have home media servers or NAS (network-attached storage) file servers. If you have thousands of music files, thousands of photos, and hundreds of movies, they probably aren’t going to fit on a laptop. The solution is to put them on a NAS, which will stream them to your TV, PC, and other devices.
Today, 64GB SD cards and 4TB external hard drives are cheap, while 8TB drives are also affordable. If you have a lot of external storage, you may not need as much space on your laptop. But if you play some big PC games, you’ll probably need an SSD.
Chips are everything.
There are at least four types of laptop storage, not just two. Many inexpensive machines don’t have either an HDD or an SSD, they use EMC chips instead. These are a variant of MMC (Multi-Media Card) and SD (Secure Digital) storage cards that have become common in digital cameras and smartphones. Laptops and tablets typically offer 32 GB or 64 GB of storage, although updating to Windows 10 from 32 GB can cause problems.
Obviously, eMMC “drives” aren’t as fast as SSDs, but they work well enough for their intended purposes.
Consumer-level SSDs started out as a replacement for traditional hard drives. They usually come in cases that fit in the grooves of a single drive, making it easy to replace an HDD with an SSD. This is still possible with some current laptops and many older ones.
However, the advent of high-capacity flash chips meant they could be plugged into motherboards, avoiding the need for bulky HDD-sized cases. This enables PC suppliers to build thinner, lighter laptops.
Early SSDs of this type often used a layout similar to PCI Express Mini cards. The PCIe slot was already being used for wireless and network cards, video cards, disk controllers, and other purposes, so it was a well-known format. However, now we are moving to the M.2 card which is optimized for SSD storage. (M.2 modules can be longer, and you can mount chips on both sides of the card, which doubles the storage in the same space.) M.2 PCI Express, Serial ATA and USB 3.0 Supports, and normally would, an SSD. Use PCIe.
In case your eyes lit up knowing this, just remember that using M.2 and PCIe with NVM Express (NVMe) drivers and controllers produces the best results. NVMe is designed specifically for SSD storage, and works with SSDs, not just card-mounted versions.
Before buying a laptop, check what kind of storage it uses. If it fails can you replace the SSD or HDD? Can you upgrade as drive prices drop?
If storage chips are soldered to the motherboard, assume your programs and data will go with your laptop, although Apple may recover them from some models.
If you want a more responsive laptop and lots of storage space, consider a hybrid drive that combines the two. Seagate calls them SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Drive).
Hybrid drives have controllers that handle both the HDD and the flash that make up the SSD, so they appear as a single drive. SSHD learns over time which files need to be on the SSD for faster access and which files can reside on a traditional hard drive.
For convenience, SSD chips can be packaged with the hard drive. However, sometimes the SSD M.2 fits into the NVMe or similar slot. For example, my desktop has a traditional 1TB hard drive with 16GB of Intel Optane memory that acts as a cheap “hard drive accelerator”. (With a mains-powered desktop, you can keep the hard drive spinning, so the SSD makes little difference to responsiveness.)
Hybrid drives never really took off, and as SSD prices drop, their days are numbered. However, if you really need 500GB or 1TB of affordable storage, they’re faster than non Acerlet HDDs.