Why The Limitations Of SSDs Are Actually Good

You've been holding off on buying an SSD for awhile now, telling yourself they're too expensive and too limiting. Well, you're wrong. Here's why.

The Higher Cost Will Pay Itself Off

Solid-state disks are considerably more expensive than hard disks, which is likely the biggest barrier for most people. 128GB SSDs will generally run you about $US200 and 256GB will run you closer to $US500. While this cost might feel prohibitively high, it's not as bad as you think.

Let's take the higher cost of $US500 for example and say you've purchased a 256GB SSD to upgrade your laptop. Straight out of the gate you have a leftover internal hard drive that you can either sell for about $US50-75 or turn into an external. Being optimistic, you're down to $US425. That's not a big savings overall, but if you upgrade your laptop every 1-2 years you can keep using the same SSD. When you buy a new laptop, remove its hard drive and swap it with the SSD in the old one. The old laptop you're going to sell will now have a larger capacity hard drive and you can charge a little extra when you sell it. Over three sales you'll probably make an additional $US100, bringing us down to $US325. When the time comes to upgrade to a new SSD, you can sell the original SSD alone or with your old computer. Mark up the cost of the machine by $US325 and you've covered your original costs. $US325 for an SSD laptop upgrade is a pretty good deal. Of course you'll need to buy a new SSD, but you'll have made back your money at this point while using your SSD for several years.

Note: SSDs don't last forever and performance can degrade over time with some models, so make sure you get a high-quality SSD that's rated for a long life if you're going to do this. You can use a tool like SSD Life to keep an eye on things.

Size Doesn't Matter (Sort of)

After asking how much hard drive space you actually need in your computer, I came to realise that you, our readers, are a bunch of insane hoarders. That's OK! I like to hoard stuff too, but I'd never pay extra for more than 256GB of disk space. When you have more space, you're most likely going to use it. This puts you in the habit of storing useless files on your computer that you either don't need or rarely need. It's like living alone in a two-bedroom apartment just so you can use the extra bedroom as a storage closet. For the most part, you can get rid of a lot of the files you think you need.

For some of us, we have a massive collection of crap we find comforting. For others, the space is necessary for large media projects. I fall into both of these categories, but external drives solve the problems far better than trying to manage huge amounts of data on the main internal drive. First of all, you get the benefit of virtually limitless space for your stuff. Second, you can organise your stuff by the drive if that helps. Third, if you need additional protection offered by, say, RAID, you can get that with external drives whereas you're not going to get that with a laptop and some desktops. Ultimately, the size of the internal disk in your computer can actually be bad for you after a certain point. For me it's around 250GB (I only use 200GB but I like to keep about 50GB of space free). For some of you it may be as little as 128GB, a size where SSDs are significantly more affordable.

In the end, the size limitations are going to be better for you. You can horde your crap on external drives, stay more organised, and reap the benefits of a super-fast solid-state disk in your laptop or desktop computer.

When you decide to take the plunge, be sure to read how to take full advantage of your solid-state drive.


Comments

    When I built my new work PC two months ago I put in a 64GB SSD. I figured it would be a good chance for me to try one out at works expense, lol.
    All my files are stored on the server so 64GB is enough for me.
    Once I installed Windows 7, graphics programs, etc Im left with 30GB.
    We users dont really need much space.

    As for speed. . . its great!
    Ive set numerous programs to start on boot and its very fast.
    Windows 7
    Thunderbird
    Illustrator
    Roland Versaworks
    WinAmp
    Openfire - Spark
    The work production/schedule program.

    I turn my PC on, turn my printers on, come back to my PC and its all fired up.

    I've been thinking about buying a Macbook Pro and putting my own SSD in there. The reason behind this is like you say I can get a 128GB SSD for around $250, but a 128GB SSD from the Mac Store costs about $500.

    Normally I wouldn't care, but since this will be my first Macbook the thing I am worried about is that if I replace my factory hard-drive I have been told it voids my warranty and I have just cost myself $2000 bringing my total to -$2250 if something breaks. Is this just a scare tactic? or is it common practice for people to swap out hard drives in new computers for SSD.

      Hi Bish,

      I have been waiting to buy a new MBP myself, with palns to buy extra RAM + SSD from third party suppliers (which are so much cheaper than Apple's)

      Regarding the Apple warranty, read this article and rejoice! =)
      http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=13946

      By the way, if you are scared of installing it yourself, some Apple authorised reseller will do it for you, for a modest fee.

    What a load of crap. If you need the HDD space you need it. External HDD's aren't the solution to every problem. And how does that justify the cost? Keep your tiny SSD for 3 laptop upgrades and sell the second hand HDD to try and recoup the costs? In 6 years time once you've upgraded your laptop 3 time you'll probably have SSD's as standard that are faster and have more capacity the the one you are trying to recoup.

    Here's a real world suggestion, wait until you can afford it, then buy one if you need one. Don't listen to this crap spun here.

      +1 to Cameron's comment.

      Totally agree with Cameron.

      +1 and i don't comment a lot.

      Some users play games. Games are roughly 8 GB each.

      Wasn't there an article on here or somewhere else where SDDs were going to come down in price in 2-3 years? Which means that this article is mute.

      ALSO in 3 years after heavy use and/or poor OS optimisation will cause memory fading.

      resaleValue = 0;

        if you really care about gaming, you'd hardly be doing it on a laptop, and if you're on a desktop, there'd be room for normal hard drives.

        I have a 64 Gig SSD, and it's the best money i've ever spent.

    Check out the seagate XT hybrid drives...500Gb with 4gb flash drive...installed in my macbook, boot times are 13 seconds, with aperture loading in about 3. cost of drive $140.

      Hey Kanthan, your Seagate XT Hybrid drives are useless unless you turn your computer off often! If you leave your PC on and access others files more than the boot files, that 4GB solid state is going to be filled up with other files. Until manufacturers find a way to flag what files to cache in the they will give a boost instantly, but that will fade away.

        I use a Seagate 500gb Hybrid and it's clear you don't know what you're talking about.

        It's given an incredible performance boost to a laptop that was starting to show signs of age. Now it performs, in day to day tasks, beter than a brand new machine.

        Sure, it only caches 4gb of files, but you dont need to reboot for it to work! It's faster waking up from sleep, screamingly fast loading frequently used apps.

        All that for a fraction of the cost of an SSD, and plenty of capacity.

    I game, heavily. I have well and truly about 300gb in games I play regularly. About another 50 or so I play less often and all my media to boot. Until the storage capacity can reach 500gb for maybe $150 or so more than a hard drive it is simply too hard for me to economically run a SSD.

    And yes, I do run all my random useless files off an external hard drive, but generally speaking, taking heavy media off the internal hard drive (especially true for games) slows it down immensely. It'd be nice, just not realistic for me.

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