SSDs, data loss, electricity, and hype

I’m not particularly worried about this, but under the very worst case scenario, certain solid-state disks can theoretically lose data in a week or two if they’re left without power. But that doesn’t instill panic and get clicks when you say it like that.

But you knew I was going to write about it. Let me tell you why I’m not worried.

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A new way to measure reliability and quality of hardware

If you’re in the market for some new PC gear, it helps to measure reliability and quality of hardware. How do you measure that? How about buying the one that induces the least buyer’s remorse? That’s an approach you can take with the data from Hardware.fr. It’s in French, but Google Translate works.

This doesn’t measure long-term reliability–only DOA rate and short-term reliability–but it’s data I haven’t seen before, so I think it’s a welcome resource.

What was hot in 2014? Gigabyte motherboards, Antec power supplies, Kingston RAM, Seagate hard drives, PNY graphics cards, and Samsung SSDs. Keep in mind in some categories it was a tight race. An ideal return rate is one percent or less, and no motherboard maker achieved that, though one-percenters exist in all of the other categories. Some are significantly below one percent.

It’s notable that all motherboard makes that they track are above two percent, which is a poor rate of return, and the brands they track are the good brands. I don’t think I want to know the return rate on second- and third-tier boards. The moral of the story: Burn in your system after you build it.

The problem with Lifehacker’s computer manufacturer ranking

Lifehacker posted a controversial computer manufacturer ranking this week. I’m not sure how you can rank anything with Apple, HP, and Dell in it and not be controversial–someone’s going to be offended that their favorite isn’t at the top and their least favorite isn’t dead last–and while I agree with it more than I disagree with it, there are at least three problems with it.

So, let’s go. Read more

SSDs might be getting less interesting, but that’s not necessarily bad

Ars Technica has a story about SSD news coming out of CES.

Basically, they’re predicting that the big news this year will be consolidation and lower prices. That may be bad news for someone who writes about SSDs for a living (I don’t), but good news for consumers. Read more

Reduce your RAID failure rate

It’s not often that you end up talking about computer hardware at church. It’s especially not often that you end up talking about a RAID failure at church. But one such conversation got me thinking again about ways to reduce RAID failure rate.

This past Sunday, I talked with the executive director, who told me five of the drives in the 8-drive RAID array failed all at once. “That’s not supposed to happen,” he said.

It isn’t. But I know why it did.

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Why Amazon can’t make a Kindle in the USA

Dan Bowman sent over this ongoing series at Forbes. I’d seen the first couple of parts of it, but didn’t realize it was still ongoing. In light of new Amazon tablet rumors, it takes on new relevance.

It’s a thought-provoking look at the state of U.S. manufacturing today, and the state of management. I don’t know if the author thinks it’s too late to reverse this decline, but presumably no. Otherwise he wouldn’t be writing it, probably.
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