Top 10 SSDs: Not all storage devices are created equal

Top 10 SSDs: Not all storage devices are created equal

Summary: For Solid State Drives, performance is a given, so look at other factors such as warranties, MTBF and cost.

TOPICS: Storage

 |  Image 7 of 10

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Thumbnail 8
  • Thumbnail 9
  • Thumbnail 10
  • Fusion-io pioneered this form factor for servers. Their design uses ECC for all DRAM buffers - a nice detail if data integrity is vital - but you pay for the quality. Most system vendors OEM Fusion-io for their servers.

    Credit: Fusion-io

  • Virident - who won a big investment from Seagate - has PCIe SSDs in a variety of capacities. Usually less expensive than Fusion-io.

    If you are running a storage area network - SAN - you might want a shared resource accessible over Fibre Channel. You'll pay enterprise prices, but the performance is stunning.

    Credit: Virident

  • Violin Memory. Their unique architecture doesn't use SSDs. Instead they've designed a system that goes direct to  the flash chips and offers excellent and reliably low latency.

    Credit: Violin

Topic: Storage

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I am amazed people use this as a reason to buy SSDs

    "Any SSD will outperform a hard drive for booting or application startup."

    Pay more for less storage merely to reduce the time it tasks to perform an infrequent task (boot / shutdown) or one which already takes a second or two (application startup).
    • The SSD will put the kick back in your PC not just the boot

      True, pure memory operations/programs running in memory are not effected however there are lots of background tasks going on all the time with the disk. Using a browser in particular lots of small files get written to disk and with an SSD its blazing fast. Try it, you'll see. All that other stuff you're storing for whatever reason can go to another disk.
      • True

        However, you can speed up your 64 bit computer OS by adding more RAM and decreasing cache sizes for background processes needing File I/O. One more way to speed up browsing is to turn on private browsing where nothing gets stored on disk. The downside is that the same data (images, headers and banners for example) have to be downloaded every time. You can also create virtual disks in memory where background file I/O can take place.
        • Wrong

          Ill informed drivel.
      • I have tried them.

        I have one in my MacBook Air and one in my Power Mac. I had one in my previous laptop. With that said I stand by my statement. Buying an SSD to reduce boot / shutdown / application launch times doesn't make much sense. They're tasks which are perform infrequently (boot / shutdown) or don't take much time to begin with (app launch times) that the high cost for significantly less storage doesn't make much sense.

        Now there are tasks which people do where SSDs offer significant benefit. Startup / shutdown / application launch times aren't it.
        • What about reliability

          I'm on my third hard disk in my 2007 iMac. Given the pain of replacing a disk in the new iMac's, I'm thinking of going with an SSD--hoping that the SSD won't have to be replaced for a long time.
          • Is SSD reliability better?

            I'm on the original spinning hard disk on my 2007 PC. I do like I don't have to be as careful with my MBA due to the SSD. That is a benefit. I believe power consumption is better too.

            But these are different reasons to advocate SSDs. IMO faster start / shutdown / app launch times should not be the reason to move to an SSD.
        • I understand your point but I disagree

          @Ye, While I understand your point regarding boot/app startup being arguments, I have found a real benefit in the faster boot. I replaced a smaller HD with a larger hybrid drive (SSD + platter) in an older laptop. Well the boot time AND hibernate time improved so much that it changed the way I handled sleep/hibernate/shutdown. I used to seldom shutdown because of the long time. Now I feel that I can power off and be back up in very short time.

          And of course, everything feels snappier. It was a pretty nice upgrade. And honestly it has been one of the best upgrades I have ever done. The only time adding RAM has made as significant improvement was when I added memory to a seriously starved PC. And this was with a hybrid not a pure SSD.

          But you're right sometimes a big ado is made about the stuff that actually has lesser importance.
          • I specifically replaced the spinning hard disk in my Power Mac with...

   SSD to test this theory (that's why I have the SSD in such an old computer). It made it improved the start / shutdown / apps launch times of this system. Even made it feel a little bit snappier. But you want to know what really improved response time? Taking the same amount of money and buying a 2006 Mac Pro (which has a spinning disk).
        • More than just speed

          SSD has other benefits such as low heat (almost mandatory for notebooks) and shock resistance.
          • Which is why I said:

            "Now there are tasks which people do where SSDs offer significant benefit. Startup / shutdown / application launch times aren't it."


            "But these are different reasons to advocate SSDs. IMO faster start / shutdown / app launch times should not be the reason to move to an SSD."
          • For some it may be a good reason.

            The reason to buy it could well be the startup/application launch as well, as it can affect the user experience more than many other things. I upgraded my parents to an SSD, and now they actually use it rather than the fairly new laptop they have. Why? When I talked to them they were constantly mentioning how snappy everything starts, from the startup of the computer to the response when starting programs. What you see as not a valid reason is for them the main advantage.
          • Their fairly new laptop must be grossly misconfigured.

            On my five year old PC applications take a second or two to launch. Compared to my Power Mac (which has an SSD) this PC feels considerably snappier. Enough so I see absolutely no reason to replace the hard disk with an SSD.

            If your systems boot / shutdown / application launch times are excessive then you're likely experiencing a problem. A problem for which the SSD may be masking.
          • Your applications are small

            Some bigger applications gain a LOT. Like 5 second startup instead of a minute or so.
    • You're looking at the wrong market

      The main target of SSDs isn't PCs (though it certainly speeds boot and IO), it's typically big servers or as a tier in disk subsystems, where many users or batch jobs generate millions of IOs.
      • I am looking at no specific market.

        I'm merely saying that, IMO, advocating buying an SSD to improve startup / shutdown / application launch times, as Robin did, seems foolish.
        • No it is not

          It really depends how quickly you want to launch your apps and how frequently you have to reboot. For home PC SSD makes a lot of sense. I boot my home PC couple of times a day and want to start apps right away. SSD here makes a lot of sense. At work with lots of RAM and reboots once every few months most of the stuff is cached and adding SSD would only save couple of minutes every few months. So, no reason to upgrade to SSD.
    • Your not getting the whole image....

      SSD less power consumption and no moving parts and controllers to fail... faster data rate etc.,
      • Again: My comments are directed at startup / shutdown / application...

        ...times. It's my opinion buying an SSD to improve tasks which are done infrequently (booting / shutdown) or that are already fast (application launch) is not the best move. You spend more and get less capacity for what? A second (if that) improvement in application launch time?

        SSDs have their place. IMO startup / shutdown /app launch times are not it (for the majority of people).
        • tunnel vision much?

          why are you so fixated on this inaccurate conception that SSDs are only relevant to startup/shutdown times. That's completely false. The advantage of SSDs is the rapid I/O they can perform, versus traditional HDDs. No one here is saying an SSD should replace your HDD, just that you would see a great benefit from having an SSD as your boot device. Any time the OS partition is reading or writing date (i.e. CONSTANTLY) is when you will see improvement
          Jason Chapman