Alienware to add 64GB solid-state drives to desktop PCs

Alienware to add 64GB solid-state drives to desktop PCs

Summary: Interesting news - Alienware is to add 64GB solid-state drives to its Alienware Area-51 ALX and Aurora ALX desktop computers.

TOPICS: Hardware

Interesting news - Alienware is to add 64GB solid-state drives to its Alienware Area-51 ALX and Aurora ALX desktop computers.

Alienware to add 64GB solid-state drives to desktop PCs"Hybrid we consider to be a Band-Aid approach to solid state," said Diana [Marc Diana, Alienware product marketing manager]. "Solid state pretty much puts hybrid in an obsolete class right now."

I agree with Diana, hybrid drives are a dead stick and have become obsolete before their time even came.  If you want to live on the bleeding edge, go for solid-state drives, if you're not feeling adventurous, go with traditional disk-based drives. 

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My only concern is reliability.  Given that current hard drives have a lifespan of about 3 - 5 years, solid-state drives don't have a lot of competition when it comes to lifespan, but that's no reason to be foolhardy with your data.  One technology that makes solid-state possible is wear leveling which makes sure that writes are spread across then entire free space so one area of the memory isn't hammered more than others.  However, how well wear leveling works depends on how much free space you've got on the drive.  If you load up the drive with 50GB of fixed data (OS, apps, games and so on), the remaining 14GB is going to get hammered a lot more than it would if you had 60GB of free space, especially if you use the drive for temp files and hibernation data.  Maybe you already need two solid-state drives?

The upsides of solid-state drives is performance, but if you have concerns about reliability, it's probably better to stick with traditional hard drives for now.


Topic: Hardware

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  • I do not trust my data on any type of drive

    so whats the difference.
  • The issue is cost per GB

    Solid state disk has so much advantage over a spinning disk - reliability, resistance to environmental extremes, less mechanical failure, etc. I think solid state memory is also higher density and generates less heat. But, the cost per GB is so much higher. When the Disk manufactures reach a physical limit but solid state memory can keep getting cheaper, then it will be viable.
    • That and they're slow...

      To write a small file to an SSD you have to delete a huge block and rewrite the entire block. As a result, SSD are slow when writing small files.

      I tried to put the HTML documentation from Boost Libraries on my SD card and Vista told me that the process would take hours. I had to stop it before it got past 10%.
      • HOURS?

        Exactly how big was this HTML documentation?
  • Backups, no one should EVER rely on single point of failure

    If you don't backup your important files to external drives, DVDs, etc on a regular basis, you are playing Russian Roulette regardless of the drive type. Now, would I buy a first generation drive, no way, I am sure like ever other technology, there will be a ton of bugs, but would have no problem using one once the kinks are ironed out.

    Simply put, if you don't backup regularly, even a RAID may fail you eventually.

    • These days it is not always a hardware failure

      Another reason to always back up:
      User errors and viruses go a long way towards destroying data.
      • I agree

        I backup weekly (drag my home directory to my USB drive, literally, beyond easy), however, what are these Viruses and trojans people keep talking about. I hear mention, even tried to find one to install but it wouldn't run. :D

        The user part is the reason for religious backups though.

  • correct

    I agree with all 3 posts above. I will trust solid state drives more and more as times goes on. In that time, users will be testing them, and 2nd generation versions of these drives will obviously work better and reliably.
    MIS Master
  • RE: Alienware to add 64GB solid-state drives to desktop PCs

    Solid state drives are wonderful for performance, and I think it will get much better.
    I do agree with a couple statements made, both by Ardian and some od the other posters.
    As some may argue over the reliability of solid state drives, common sense should reign, Always back your data up.
    And as Adrian said, if you don't trust it, stick with what you know works. Adventure is only good for adventurers.
  • Why not two drives?

    It seems to me that I want a solid state drive for /usr, /etc and especially /boot. I would probably want a hard drive for /home so I can cheaply hold GB of multimedia. I want /tmp and virtual memory on a hard drive because that means my solid state drive will not get hammered with lots of writes.

    In Window-speak, I want to use the solid state drive for my C: drive and a hard drive for the D: drive. Then I make sure that Documents and Settings are on the D: drive. I would also use D: for a temp directory, my 'waste basket' and all of my virtual memory.

    This should give me fast boots and fast access to applications, long solid state drive lifetime and loads of cheap hard drive for document storage. Does this make sense?
    • Yes, but hard to do.

      If I remember correctly, moving your "home directory" away from the normal native C had some problems in Vista. I am too lazy to look for George's blog, but he covered this. You are correct though, that is a good idea. Boots in seconds, but you get massive storage.

      Hurry up and patent this before MS claims Redhat infringes on storing information to a device in a permanent way.

  • This is Alienware?

    Some home computing desktop I can see.

    But Alienware? The power computing business? Correct me if I'm wrong, but lots of power means lots of space - a power user would use that up pretty quickly.

    I suppose, though, if you used the solid state for the OS and a conventional for data, it would make sense.
  • Message has been deleted.

    G Brent LeVasseur
    • *** SPAM ***

      D T Schmitz
  • RE: Alienware to add 64GB solid-state drives to desktop PCs

    Adrian: You identified a very important facet of solid state drive technology. Depending upon the manufacturer of the drive and the SSD controller, there are different wear leveling techniques. For any SSD which holds important data, it is important to select an SSD which employs total wear leveling, which implies that the entire NAND array is incorporated in the wear leveling scheme -- which implies that both 'dynamic' and 'static' data is wear-leveled.
    • No, I think you missed the point.

      Once you take up a significant part of the drive with permanent files there is a very small space for temporary files that gets written to and erased constantly. This will result in errors in those files causing crashes.
    • I am also sure that ....

      ... Apple will get arround to copying the PC guys. That is Apple innovation at it's finest. :)
  • I totally disagree with the following;

    "I agree with Diana, hybrid drives are a dead stick and have become obsolete before their time even came. If you want to live on the bleeding edge, go for solid-state drives, if you???re not feeling adventurous, go with traditional disk-based drives."

    The hybrid drives provide the best of both worlds. A high speed cache for frequently accessed files and reliable storage for the rest. As the solid state wears out it can be mapped out of the table and the data moved to the magnetic media. The only problem being that the current hybrid drives do not have enough flash built in.