I’ve written about SSDs several times since I first adopted the technology three years ago, and there’s no doubt that replacing a spinning hard drive with an SSD is the best way to boost overall performance of an existing PC (or Mac). I’ve owned three SSDs in total, and am about to replace my current model – a 128GB Crucial C300 – with something newer, faster and bigger (in storage capacity).
As is my custom when upgrading computer components, I’ve spent hours researching various reviews, benchmarks, real-world user observations, and recommendations from trusted online sources to find the best SSD available. And in this particular hardware treasure hunt, I’ve had the welcome (and rare) experience of finding almost every source of information pointing to a single choice:
The Samsung 840 PRO SSD
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In late March I told you Intel would release its new Ivy Bridge processors – or at least the first tranche – on April 29th. But this morning the ‘net is aflutter with a rumor that the launch as been moved up to April 23rd.
I’m not so sure.
Perhaps Intel has decided to have a press event on April 23, but I’d bet (not my life – let’s say a penny) that you won’t see retail availability of the new chips until around that original date, April 29th.
I’d like to be wrong, though. I’m looking forward to a long overdue upgrade.
You won’t find a bigger proponent of SSDs than yours truly. If you have a desktop or laptop, there really are few (if any) upgrades you can perform that will increase the performance of your system more than replacing your boot hard drive with an SSD.
I’ve been using an SSD as a boot drive for about two years and have never looked back. Faster boot times, app start-ups, file loading, media playback, software performance… I could go on and on.
My first SSD was a 60GB OCZ; I chose it because it was the only model in my price range at the time and its performance was okay. I replaced it early last year with an excellent 128GB Crucial C300, which I’m currently using. I have two other drives for storage, so I don’t think I’ll go to a 256GB model quite yet, but when I upgrade my office PC with a new Ivy Bridge CPU and motherboard in a few weeks, I think I’ll upgrade my SSD as well.
After some looking, I’ve decided to stick with Crucial, and go with their newer, faster m4 series, which promises about a 30% increase in speed (assuming you have a motherboard with a compatible SATA III interface).
The 128GB Crucial m4 SSD looks like the one. Maybe if the price drops on the 256GB version… no, no. 128 is fine.
Last year, hard drive prices soared following massive flooding in Southeast Asia. As I wrote in December, a 2TB Western Digital Caviar Green hard drive that sold for $89 before the flood was more than $169 when supplies were tightest.
But prices are falling. That same drive, nearly $170 dollars in December, is now $129; and the same goes for many popular hard drives currently available. For example, you can now purchase a 3TB Seagate Barracuda for $164, a price down nearly $80 from a few months ago, or a 500GB WD Caviar Blue laptop drive for $79, down nearly $50.
At this rate, it’ll take a while longer for drive prices to get back to “normal.” If you can wait, you’ll likely save a few bucks. But if you need a new drive now, it’ll only hurt about as much as filling up your gas tank rather than buying a new gaming console – though it might not be long until you’d rather buy a PS3 than fill up.