“The hard-disk drive is so common that most computer users take it for granted as a natural part of a personal computer. But now, the hard drive has a challenger for its longtime role as the principal storage device in computers. It’s called the solid-state drive, or SSD, and it has begun to show up in some big-name notebook computers,” Walter S. Mossberg reports for The Wall Street Journal.
“Solid-state drives have some key advantages. Because they lack moving parts, they are faster, draw less power, are harder to damage and are quieter than hard drives. Unfortunately, today’s early versions of SSDs for laptops also have two big drawbacks when compared with hard drives: They offer much lower capacity and have much higher prices,” Mossberg reports. “For instance, on the newly announced Apple MacBook Air ultrathin laptop, the HDD version costs US$1,799 and stores 80 gigabytes. The SSD version costs $2,798, but actually stores less — just 64 gigabytes.”
“SSD does deliver on its promises, but, in some cases, just barely,” Mossberg reports. “For the small slice of users who are deeply and constantly worried about hard-disk failures, it may be worth it to pay a huge premium today for an SSD that stores less.”
“To measure battery life, I conducted my usual harsh test, where I turn off all power-saving software, set screen brightness to maximum, turn on the Wi-Fi and play an endless loop of music,” Mossberg reports. “In this test, the SSD made little difference in the MacBook Air and, in fairness, Apple is making no claims of any significant battery-life gains on its SSD model. The SSD MacBook gave me just five more minutes of battery life. Apple says this is because its hard-drive model already uses a very low-power drive,” Mossberg reports.