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A fresh look at solid state hard drives for PCs

August 13, 2015

This post is meant as quick and dirty summary practical advice for an average PC user based on what I’ve learned the hard way. The issue of replacing a hard drive came up again now because I am forced to deal with a problem in my Windows 10 upgrade process.

  1. Most PC technology advisers agree that the #1 performance upgrade you can perform to your PC is to replace the more common spinning disk hard drive with a solid state hard drive, known as a “SSD”.
  2. In the past some SSD manufacturers like OCZ had reliability problems. I lost several SSD drives and suffered many days of down-time fixing the problems in 2012-1013. The problem was reportedly worse in notebook computers that were moved often or shaken (i.e. transported on the back of my motorcycle). OCZ went bankrupt and was acquired by Toshiba. I swore off SSDs for a few years.
  3. The consensus of advice is that the quality control problems in the SSD industry are now resolved.
  4. A SSD purchased today should last at least as long as your computer.
  5. If you rely on cloud technology and storage (Google Drive, ICloud, OneDrive, Dropbox), your local data storage requirements have probably actually decreased. In this case a 500GB drive is adequate for most users who do not store multi-media files (downloaded movies) on their PC.
  6. Samsung EVO series SSDs have a good reputation for quality and performance. Microcenter sells the model 850 EVO  500GB SSD for $170.
  7. A combination of a SSD, a real time cloud-based data sync service (I like OneDrive) and an automated physical backup and disk image program (I just switched back to Windows backup after dropping Acronis) seems to offer the best overall management plan for my digital life and data.

With the price of a SSD down and the quality issues apparently resolved, this is an easy upgrade decision for me now.

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