For the second half of the 1990s, my standard advice to people buying computers was to max out the RAM as the cheapest, best way to improve their computers' efficiency. The price/performance curve hit its stride around 1995, and after decades when a couple gigs of RAM would cost more than the server you were buying it for, you could max out all the RAM slots in any computer for a couple hundred bucks. Operating systems, though, were still being designed for RAM-starved computers, and when you dropped a gig or two of RAM in a machine, it screamed.
It's still good practice to max out your RAM, but it doesn't get you much of a dividend. The turbo-charger of the 2010s is solid-state disk-drives, and they're screaming up the same price/performance curve that RAM traversed twenty years ago. Two years ago, I traded my laptop drive for a 400GB SSD, spending as much on the drive as I had on the machine, and it was worth every penny. My laptop battery-life nearly doubled, and I stopped getting watch-cursors altogether; no matter what task I performed, it was done instantly.
In October, I bought a one terabyte SSD
for a ridiculous $435 -- about a third of what I paid for a 600GB drive a little over a year ago! -- and having run it for two months now, I'm prepared to pronounce it good. I wasn't familiar with the manufacturer, Crucial, but they got very good reviews on Amazon, and at that price I was prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. My machine -- a Thinkpad X230 running Ubuntu 13.10 -- chugs along with nary a beach-ball, and I can go six to eight hours on a six-cell battery with full brightness, and continuous Wifi and Bluetooth usage. I'm rough on my computer, and it's taken plenty of knocks and bumps without any noticeable impact on the drive.
To accompany the new drive, I bought a pair of $78 Toshiba USB3 1TB drives (one for backing up at the office, the other for my travel bag). They're nothing near as fast as the SSD, but combined with the USB3 bus, they're plenty quick for daily incremental backups, which take less than five minutes.
If your storage needs aren't as massy as mine, there's a whole line of Crucial SSDs, 480GB for $269, 240GB for $140 and so on. They all come with three year warranties, though I haven't had cause to get service for my drive yet (knock wood). The drive is 7mm high, and comes with an easy-to-fit adapter for 9mm enclosures.
I was less impressed with the adapter I bought to copy the files over; it was fiddly and prone to losing its connection. Ultimately, I slapped the new drive into a case in order to make the transfer.
Crucial M500 960GB SATA 2.5-Inch 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter/spacer) Internal Solid State Drive CT960M500SSD1
Where are our petabyte drives? Brian Hayes takes us through the reasons storage is “stuck” in the low terabytes. The tl;dr is that we got such exceptional capacity growth in the late 90s and early 00s we don’t need much more right now, so the focus since then has been on SSDs, networking, interfaces, etc, […]
Amélie Lamont, a former staffer at website-hosting startup Squarespace, writes that she often found herself disregarded and disrespected by her colleagues. One comment in particular, though, set her reeling — and came to exemplify her experiences there.
In this episode of the Flash Forward podcast we travel to a future where humans have decided to eradicate the most dangerous animal on the planet: mosquitos. How would we do it? Is it even possible? And what are the consequences? Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon We […]
Jared Sinclair developed the RSS reader app Unread, which made $10,000 in its first 24 hours on the iOS market. And we’ve all heard the story of Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen, whose creation was reportedly earning $50,000 a day at the height of its 2013 explosion. While those are rare examples, they’re also testament to the […]
If you or your company’s IT system are besieged by black hat cyber attacks, an ethical hacker might be all that stands between crippling damage and a company’s long-term prosperity. It’s no wonder that the market for IT security specialists is exploding. Certification is the key – so learn the tenets of ethical hacking and get […]
Your laptop and mobile devices are top of the line…so why are you trotting out that raggedy decades-old suitcase when you go somewhere? Time to up your travel game with a complete 5-piece Herschel Travel Luggage bundle…and we’ll even give it to you for free!Of course, you’ve got to win the Ultimate Herschel Travel Bundle […]