Who needs to sleep?
So the SSD is a revelation. Firstly, I find myself using different applications. On a four-year-old MacBook, Photoshop opens almost as quickly Preview – the default Mac OS X image viewer. There's little point in associating Preview with images now. And since a cold boot takes 10 to 15 seconds, there's little point in putting a PC to sleep either.
SSDs specifically cured one feature I used out of necessity, that was a real speed handicap: disk encryption. The performance penalty of FileVault is now negligible. I don't even remember it's on, until I log out, and see the clean-up screen.
This is most impressive, considering that the e-mail client creates hundreds of thousands of individual files. Thousands more files are scattered around the disk. I'd expected to see performance improvements on large reads and writes, but this is where it really pays off.
I also find myself using Virtual Machines much more than I expected. Installations probably take half as long - and reviving a sleeping VM is almost instant. If you find yourself regularly using Windows on a Mac, you'll want an SSD.
Kingston's approach to SSD transplants includes an enclosure for the old HDD and cloning software
Since tasting the first hit, I've gone on to give three machines the upgrade, largely because of the convenience of Kingston's SSDNow bundle, which includes all the bits and bobs and a nice USB enclosure for the drive you're swapping out, and a case design held together by a slider rather than the screws.
For pure performance, and if money is no object, it has to be an enterprise SSD. But most users won't require a "100 per cent duty cycle" - that some servers do - and won't need the guarantees that come with such kit. Most of us don't have SAS (aka SCSI) interfaces, for that matter. And for an enterprise SSD, you're looking at around £3/GB - nearly three times the rate of regular SSDs. But for value and practicality, Kingston is a good bet, and I'm a Kingston convert. You can find a 128GB V+100 kit for under £120 on eBay, or a 256GB for around £300. But you can judge the capabilities and choice available from our recent SSD roundup, where the latest Samsung came out on top.
The SSD conversion has meant a few compromises, and arguably, pushed discretionary spending (somewhat reluctantly) in other directions. 256GB is just enough for a my basic music and photo collection - and doesn't leave room for my clippings archive or backpages, or any game files. So I've been using shared and off-line storage much more and looking for the perfect home NAS. The search for the latter isn't a happy story, but I'll save that for another day.
Next page: Fly in the ointment
You've miss-understood your roll
You, or I, as a consumer exist purely to put money into the pockets of the manufactures.
Allowing us to upgrade our systems means that we do not buy new systems as fast as they need us too. If you run the standard spec on the kit you will probably be forced to upgrade within 2 years.
If they let you upgrade the memory (2 generations on my experience) and the hard drive (I seem to do this 3 times in the life of a laptop) then your might not fulfil your primary - ney Only, function for as long as 7 or even 8 years.
Where's the point in that?
How are these poor people going to make a decent living?
For desktop users, there's a nice trick you can do with (at least) Linux software raid - "write-mostly" mode. Put an SSD and an old-fashioned hard drive together in a mirrored pair (RAID1), and set the conventional drive to "write-mostly". Then, all reads happen from the SSD, but all writes are made to both disks. You get the read speed of SSD without the reliability worries. Write speed takes a hit, obviously, but, you know, it's a trade-off.
To Answer the questions....
1) Yes and No. SSD awareness is more of an operating system feature. Windows Vista/7, newer Linux versions (don't remember the kernel version number), and yes, even MacOSX (to some extent) recognize SSDs and behave differently (ie: pass TRIM commands to the drive). As far as MBR and the like, yes, works the same.
2) Read my #1 response.
3) It's not imperative, but definitely SSD-debilitating if your OS "defrags" your SSD regularly. Debilitating, meaning reduces lifespan (unnecessary writes) and can cause your drive to run in a "dirty" state, like an unTRIMed drive.
Best bet is to run a TRIM-capable SSD and OS, or at least have garbage collection capabilities for the SSD.
A few other notes:
1) Glad the author used a V+100 Kingston drive. Their older counterparts (the SSDNow 64GB and such non-V+100 drives) are horrific performers compared to other like-priced SSDs.
2) "There's just one fly in the ointment – the age of the upgradeable computer is vanishing." - I would just like to refute this concept outright. Most PC laptops come with easy component bays for hard drives and RAM. They're even making it /easier/ to access such components. It's the world of Apple that you are seeing the "upgradable computer" vanish. They go so far as to (attempt to) require Apple-branded marked-up SSDs (via drivers) to support TRIM. This quote is from the skewed perspective of an Apple user.
forgot a little bit of info
when ssd's do fail most (if not all of them) just lock the write capability meaning that all the data on the drive is still readable and can then easily be imaged onto a new replacement drive.
running ssd as boot drive here (with whatever HD hungry game I am playing a lot of) and a pair of 1tb drives as main storage.
You are totally wrong about Palm, it was a pretty robust OS that had simple multitasking. Some of the 3rd party apps were flakey yes, and these could take down the OS due to the basic hardware which didn't have an MMU.