Remember when Bill Gates said that 640k “ought to be enough for everybody?” He denies making this famous statement at a computer trade show in 1981, but it seems to have stuck, even though it was probably out of date within five years, let alone 36. You probably wouldn’t be able to even save three photographs now.
In 2017 we need size and speed, and lots of it. As we advance from standard video to HD to 4k and 8k and beyond, for example, we could need anywhere from a few gigabytes for a compressed movie up to several hundred gigabytes or beyond. That said, according to PC Gamer, the largest capacity SSD to date is a 60TB SAS SSD Seagate drive, which isn’t anywhere near the consumer market.
Your SSD drive will largely depend on what you need of it; if you’re planning to host an entire site and everything associated with it, then you’ll need more than if you’re purely using it for storing and retrieving large files. Space might be a consideration, and whether the drive is intended for external/internal use.
Whatever the purpose, diligent research is necessary, and there are a number of ways that you can tackle this.
- Read trade magazines
Consult the eminent titles such as PC Advisor, TechRadar, CNet, Computer Shopper and others, and don’t just leave it at one visit as what’s regarded as pioneering and great value now might not be given the same accolades in a few months. These sites generally publish annual reviews of the newest and best drives, in minute detail. For example, PC Advisor’s latest tests compare essential speeds of both large-file sequential transfers and small-file random access, multi-level architectures (where appropriate) and other in-depth analysis.
However, the small user might be more interested in paragraphs such as this: “When buying an SSD, look out for long warranties and high write limits if you prize data integrity, although with the help of proper backup routines, data loss is less of an issue today. Different SSDs demand more or less power in active use or when idle, and there are different power ratings again for when a laptop is in a sleep or hibernation mode.”
- Know why as well as what
Don’t just write down a few options and leave it at that, as you might visit a store – if you’re not buying online – and your preferred choice is sold out. An advisor may then ask you specifically what you’re looking for, so knowing what you need for your task/project and why you need it will help you find the best fit. Print out and highlight any benefits of particular models, and see if the advisor can find something similar in another model.
- Consider price
After years of falling prices for SSDs there now seems to be a surge in prices, which might be enough to push you into making a choice sooner rather than later. According to Computing.co.uk, a price rise of 5-10% from hardware creators seems to be commonplace now, brought about by a shortage in some of the key components for drives, and therefore low supply. That, in turn, is pushing up demands from big companies leading to a rise of around 20% in just a few months. It’s possible that it could continue for at least another year, so you might want to buy now.
As well as reading, talk to the experts. You might be building a website and need remote hosting, in which case an introductory email query detailing your requirements for a VPS SSD will suffice. Even if you eventually take your business elsewhere, or choose a cloud-based option instead, no reputable company should begrudge giving up its knowledge. Also, social media and review sites such as Trustpilot are a great place to look for advice and potential hosting companies.
However, don’t procrastinate too much as the price could rise – see point three! Most drives are now very reliable and built to last, so you should be confident in your choice, no matter what it is.