Readers of a certain age will remember CompUSA, a defunct big-box computer retailer. What happened to CompUSA? It went out of business, then came back as an undead brand, then went away again.
In some ways, CompUSA was the epitome of 1990s computer retail. It had huge big box stores with aisles of software and upgrades. It sold desktop computers, including its own house brand, Compudyne, manufactured for CompUSA by Acer. But the business model didn’t work as well in the 21st century.
When will SSDs be cheaper than hard drives? Based on history, it’s possible to make an educated guess, and I’m going to do it.
Back in 2011, I noticed that historical hard drive pricing fell in line pretty nicely with Moore’s Law, and predicted that SSDs would do the same. I predicted that SSDs would reach 25 cents per gigabyte sometime in 2016, and was wrong. They hit that price in 2015. So I was late by a few months.
But I’m still willing to try to predict when SSDs will cost less than hard drives. I’ll predict when they’ll hit parity too. SSDs work differently from hard drives but their pricing trend is frighteningly similar.
I picked up a Celeron G1610 CPU last week and I’m using it to build a Linux box. Yeah, it’s a Celeron. But it performs like a 2011-vintage Core i3 or a 2010-vintage Core i5, consumes less power than either, and costs less than $50. It’s hard to go wrong with that. Read more
Those of you who’ve been around as long as I have–which is probably most of you–will remember Plextor as the maker of the very best SCSI CD-ROM drives back when there was a market for SCSI CD-ROM drives. I had one, and I haven’t used it in years, but I relied on it, especially when I was doing A/V work. And it never, ever let me down. Read more
I just saw that LSI Corporation bought Sandforce, maker of high-performance SSD controllers, earlier this week for $400 million.
LSI makes a lot of things. I’ve owned a couple of SCSI controllers over the years with their chips on them. I’ve administered servers with their RAID controllers in them. They also make system-on-a-chip solutions.
I thought I was recovered. But I don’t think you ever recover. Not really.
You see, this week I was trolling Craigslist for garage sales. I look for trains, toys for my boys, and other things that strike my fancy. I spotted a sale that advertised an Amiga computer. I shouldn’t have put it on my list, but I did. I didn’t want to buy it, but I had to see it. I had to. Like I said, you don’t recover.
A few weeks ago, my security go-to guy, Rich P., bought a new Intel 320 SSD for his netbook. With my encouragement, of course. It finally arrived this weekend, and he installed it. Rich reports not only faster speed, but also a 30-minute improvement in battery life over the WD Scorpio Black it replaced.
He told me the secure erase function, to enable AES, had a snag. But he solved it. I’m documenting it here in case you ran into the same thing he did. Read more
It was 2007, give or take a year. I was working a shop that had a WAN connecting four data centers around the world. A couple of hard drives in a SAN at one of the remote data centers had either failed or were in the process of failing.
No problem, we said. We’ll send some drives, and we’ll send along some extras so the next time it happens, you can just grab a spare off the shelf, slam it in, and not miss a beat.
Simple, right? Well, you should never underestimate a human being’s ability to make the simple difficult. Read more
Spinrite 5 is an old friend. It got me out of some jams in the late ’90s, but as new versions of Windows that defaulted to NTFS came into my life, Spinrite 5 ceased being an option, since it only worked on FAT-formatted drives.
I’ve had occasion now to use Spinrite 6, its successor, which still runs under old-fashioned MS-DOS but now understands a multitude of filesystems. Other than that, it hasn’t changed much: It’s an obsessively thorough repair and maintenance tool for hard drives.
SSDs will eventually make Spinrite unnecessary, but there are still a lot more conventional hard drives being shipped each year than SSDs. Read more