Solid State Disk -- essentially big flash drives in the shape of and with interface level compatibility with internal laptop drives -- is here. They don't compete for size with traditional spinning drives, and won't soon for anything close to the same cost. But they can be used effectively.
What got me started this time was realizing that I had this modular drive bay in my Dell D820 that is currently filled with a CD/DVD that almost never is needed. I found a $50 unit that goes in the same bay, and is meant to house a second 2.5" IDE laptop drive. With some looking I found SSD drives in that configuration ranging from 2GB all the way up to 64GB. The sweet spot right now is at 4 or 8 gb which can be purchased for under $200.
So, what is the advantage if I were to plug one of these devices in?
Well, 8gb is enough to store my local Notes data directory, my windows temp directory, my windows swap file, AND the windows hibernation file. That represents about 75% of the disk activity I may use if I am working at the pc. I could probably also move my firefox cache directory as well and then need the regular drive only for program loads and big files.
SSD uses a tenth as much power, and provides throughput on large file transfers up to 40 times faster. There are some definite down sides to this strategy however. Chief among them is that you do NOT want to swap out the drive windows has its virtual memory or temp data on just to use a CDROM.
A shame I don't have a second internal bay.
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