The return of the diskless PC
1TB SSDs to free desktops from slow HDD strangulation
The diskless PC is to return - not as a thin client, but packing a 1TB solid state drive instead. OCZ is showing Colossus, a prototype of this, at Computex in Taiwan.
Unlike OCZ's Z-Drive, a PCIe-connected 1TB SSD shown at this year's CeBIT, Colossus comes in a standard 3.5-inch drive bay form factor. This format is generally used for hard drive storage arrays and server and desktop drive bays, with the 2.5-inch format, which many SSDs use, designed into notebook computers.
According to reports, Colossus uses Samsung flash chips and has two Indilinx controllers, plus a JMicron RAID controller. It offers read and write performance up to 265MB/sec though a 3Gbit/s SATA connection.
The Z-Drive is much faster, offering 510MB/sec read performance and 480MB/sec write, although the sustained write speed drops to 200MB/sec.
The idea of getting back to PCs that zip through applications instead of lumbering along waiting for the disk I/O is obviously attractive. We all know that Microsoft just cannot write a fast system anymore: Windows 7 is not going to turn our desktop Hummers into Ferraris, any more than Windows Vista did. No, the Windows O/S is a dog, and replacing the hard drive with an SSD looks to be the only practical way of turning our desktop mutt into a greyhound.
One terabyte SSDs show that the capacity needed is here. Now we want the price to drop. Imagine the SSD sales boost if masses of desktop users could afford to retrofit SSDs to their PCs by swapping out a hard drive. That's got to be exciting SSD suppliers in a big way. It's also surely got to be a big interest of PC suppliers needing a sales boost and not getting one from new versions of either the Windows O/S or Intel CPUs.
The price decrease needed for desktop HDD-replacement SSDs to become generally affordable is substantial, but we may be seeing the start of such desktop HDD replacement in 2011, possibly sooner.
The Colossus device may hit retail outlets in six to eight weeks in 512GB and 1TB configurations, and cost around €2,500 for 1TB. ®
The diskless PC never went away
I have 9 active PCs in the house - 4 desktops, a media center, firewall/PBX and kitchen PC (cookbook/media/stereo) and the house server. Only the house server boots from its own RAID set - everything else is diskless using Linux (there was a period when the firewall ran BSD). Quiet, low power (7W to 30W),maintainable, reliable and it JUST WORKS (TM). No data loss for 9th year straight and counting.
So as far as I am concerned the diskless PC never went away and is not going anywhere anytime soon. Yeah, fine it is not supported by Microcrap. So what, who cares? Microsoft is not the answer, Microsoft is the question and the answer is NO.
how much storage do we really need ?
does anyone , that doesn't play games or edit video really actually need a machine either faster or with more storage than has been available for the last five years ?
I personally don't believe so.
The slowest component in a system (when I'm not playing games, or video / photo editting) is ME, (as in myself, the human being , and not a brain damaged Microsoft OS, circa 2000 ). And personally I am getting slower, coz I'm an old middle aged fart these days, so me needing a new faster PC with more storage is like giving an OAP a Ferrari with the carrying capacity of a juggernaut to go down to the shops to get their weekly groceries.
now where did I park my zimmer frame ? I could do with some new neurons.....
@ 'Windows O/S are so slow because they forever thrash the HDD to death with the swap file...'
That just looks like you don't have enough RAM for the OS or what your doing on the system. Windows should only need to use the swap file if there isn't enough system RAM available.
Granted Windows isn't very good at managing swap memory when it needs to use it, but as long as you've got enough memory in your system, it shouldn't need to use swap memory.
The swap space is only there as a backup for exceptional circumstances, to stop your system from falling over because you've run too many apps at the same time or some app has decided it needs more memory than you actually have installed.
If your system is using swap all the time, then you need to get the system sorted out first.
I'm at work now using an XP Laptop, Got Word, Excel, Lotus Notes, IE, Firefox, half a dozen explorer windows, UltaEdit and two other bespoke apps all running at the same time (I rarely close an app once I've opened it) and the swap file hasn't been touched since I booted up this morning. 840MB of 2GB still fee.
@Ken Hagan: Fully agree about your comments around memory being more important than processor speed. It amazes me how many people buy PC's that are essentially crippled from new because the supplier wanted to shave 10 quid of the selling price (or increase their margins) and only supply the system with 512MB rather than 1GB of memory.
The amount of people who've brought Laptops to me to look at, because they are running really slow, to find out they've only got 20MB of memory or less free after just booting up, either because the system didn't have enough to start with, or they've got too much crap loading on boot, or both. £20 spent 2GB of memory and a bit of a clean up of the system and they think they've got a brand new machine, because it's finally running as the speed it should have been running at in the first place!
For me, if you using XP, 1GB should be your minimum for light work, 2GB min for heavier work. Vista or newer 2GB min, and when you consider that 2GB of memory is typically less that £20, even for Laptop memory, there really is no excuse for crippling your own machine by skimping on it. Even if your a gamer, 2GB of decent branded SLI memory is still only around £40-£50.
Even Linux appreciates the extra memory (I dual boot my PC's) :-)
"That much money could buy a ton of motherboard RAM."
So much, in fact, that you'd have to spend most of it on a motherboard that could actually take the enormous amount you could buy with the remainder. But it was ever thus. For as long as I've been in the business, the most cost effective way of creating a fast system has been to use the cheapest processor you can buy and spend the money on RAM instead. Over the same period, beige box makers have followed the opposite strategy. Go figure.
@ Jess Thursday 4th June 2009 13:07 GMT
LOOK here http://www.riscos.com/ now on version 10 so alive and kicking