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A bargain SSD for the masses

I spotted a bargain SSD: The Kingston SSDNow V+100 96 GB  is available at Amazon for $130. (It’s available other places for about the same price, but with Amazon’s free shipping, it’s probably cheaper there.) It uses a Toshiba controller that (by some accounts) lacks NCQ, but other than that, it’s a modern controller, and it has a good track record, having been the controller Apple used in its Macbook Air.
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Using ATA Security eXtension BIOS to add hard drive password protection

Most desktop PCs don’t have the ability to set an ATA password in the BIOS, precluding you from enabling the onboard AES-128 encryption in a drive like the Intel 320 SSD.

If you’re willing to hack your BIOS or burn a boot ROM to put in a network card, Arne Fitzenreiter has ATA Security eXtension (ATASX, or ATA SX)–a way for you to add that support to computers that lack it.Read More »Using ATA Security eXtension BIOS to add hard drive password protection

State of the SSD, 1Q 2011

It’s no secret that I loves me some SSDs. And 2011 looks to be a good year for SSDs. Anandtech has a preview of what promises to be the fastest available drive on the market, once it’s released. It may not be at the very top of the heap for really long, but it represents the state of the art for now.

I’d rather not spoil the whole article, but there are two key takeaways from it.
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The SSD Decoder Ring

I occasionally get a question about an SSD, usually when one goes on sale somewhere. Inevitably, I’ll get an e-mail message with a URL and the words “any good?” with it. Often I’ll know off the top of my head, but depending on whose name is on the drive, I may not.

But here’s a cheatsheet with all the major drives on the market, and who makes the controller in them. http://www.pcper.com/ssd
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A free SSD alignment tool

We’ve talked recently about the importance of aligning your partitions on your SSD or your RAID array. What if I told you you could align an SSD or RAID array for free? Here’s where to find a free SSD alignment tool–it’s just not normally billed as such.

Alignment helps performance, sometimes tremendously, and it also dramatically improves your SSD’s life expectancy. Newer versions of Windows automatically align their partitions, but only if you do a clean installation to an empty drive. Older versions of Windows created their partitions starting at sector 63, for tradition’s sake. Maybe moving off sector 63 made dual-booting with Windows 9x harder.

Two readers, Jim and Xrocode, suggested utilities to do the job. One costs $30 and seems fairly automatic. One is free and requires a small amount of work. Grab the freebie here. It’s a 274 MB download, so it doesn’t even take all that long.

Read More »A free SSD alignment tool