| leading the way to the
new storage frontier
Editor:- I often get emails from readers which
go something like this...|
|Dear Editor /
I've been reading
your site for a while - but I don't have time to read all the articles. Please
tell me the best / cheapest / fastest / most reliable SSD to fit in my PC /
notebook / server.
I need 512GB and I've got a
PCIe / other
interface. I want a good quality product at an affordable price. What do you
Best wishes , SSD Reader
PS - I'm based in US /
Taiwan / Germany / Scotland - can tell me where I can find a local supplier?
Most of the manufacturers listed on your site don't reply to my inquiries or
have the products you're writing about in stock.
|I do answer a lot these emails - but
inevitably my replies are something of a disappointment - because after
explaining that I don't have a time budget to answer questions from millions of
readers I then go on to pose more questions for the inquirer to think about
- instead of giving simple answers. Therefore this long overdue article is
my attempt to create a simple FAQs page - which answers the question - of
why I can't answer your question.|
A lot depends on the background
of the person asking the question. The type of question I've mentioned above -
usually comes from consumers
or small business owners. But as most of the questions I get are from very
experienced SSD users and people within the SSD industry I take all incoming
There's a good reason for doing this.
of the apparently simplest questions I've been asked over the past 10 years -
have triggered off research and articles about serious issues. For example:-
- whose SSDs should I be selling?
- which SSD company should I
- should I buy or sell shares in this SSD company?
My view is that if
there isn't a simple answer on the web - but it's a good question - then I
should try and research the subject and write an article or editor's comment
about it. That's how many of the most
StorageSearch.com got started.
- what are the reliability
issues using SSDs in search-engines or databases?
- for me - reader questions are always valuable - even if I don't have the time
budget to reply to all of them.
Going back to the question - what's
the best SSD for me?
I don't have the time budget to analyze readers'
needs to suggest an appropriate product - and sometimes if they are consumers
- they may initially think that in the time I spent replying to their email I
could have just given them a straight answer. But after a few emails they
understand why I'm so reticent about recommending anything other than categories
of products and more articles they can read and more questions they need to
think about themselves.
Why choosing an SSD is such a tough choice
an earlier article - How
bad is - choosing the wrong SSD supplier? - I explained why enterprise
customers and oems are wise to tread cautiously when picking suppliers and
The consumer case is different.
It's your own
budget your own decision - you just want to know the best place to buy an SSD.
Why should it be any harder than buying a Big Mac? Just tell me where the
nearest SSD equivalent to the reliable consistent eating experience is - and
I'll be on my way.
My view is that - in today's market - buying an SSD
is more like going to the doctor or an online dating site.
you have a problem - and you're pretty sure there's a cure - but it's not quite
that simple. One person's medicine can be another's poison. Or one person's
partner for life can turn out to be another's painful divorce.
some of the themes I've raised in the many emails on this subject.
- Why do you want an SSD? - Often the answer is to speed up a
notebook. But if the notebook is old and has a slow processor and slow latency
PATA / SATA interface - most of the theoretical access time advantages of the
SSD will be lost - and in the worst case a user can spend money on an SSD which
doesn't give them any worthwhile speedup at all.
- How much is the speedup worth? - You've got a very fast new PC. You
asked me about SATA SSDs - but actually your box has PCIe. What's your budget?
What's your application? Everyone would like to have a 40x speedup -
but your budget is going to be different if you're a financial analyst,
designing a new microprocessor, spend a lot of time designing powerpoints, are
a student writing reports or just want to play games faster.
BTW - how
do you know that there isn't some other way that might give you a speedup
cheaper? - Such as adding more CPUs or RAM? And for ultimate PC users -
RAM SSDs may work much
better than flash SSDs.
- How important is data
recovery? Most consumers don't do adequate backups. You need to choose
a subset of SSDs in the market which data recovery companies have a good
probability of fixing. (I talk to a lot of data recovery companies about this -
and in the SSD market - most claims about recoverability are in my view highly
optimistic. But some SSD controllers are easier to work with than others. They
may not be on the same list as those with the fastest performance, however. But
in the enterprise world - customers do perform backups or have RAID - so
recoverability at the single SSD device level is not relevant.
that's too much information? Here's more.
If the data on your notebook
is sensitive (maybe it contains a large amount of financial, market, medical or
defense related info) then you need an SSD which is definitely not recoverable
and which has higher standards of security than most encrypted notebook SSDs.
- How important is
Failure in the SSD context is more than just MTBF. If your SSD doesn't behave in
a consistent way
and you have to waste valuable time
fixes because it's flaky - that's just as important. That means doing
research into the reputation of the supplier and not just comparing speed, price
and capacity specs in the shopping cart.
And there are a lot of things I could have added to this
- Who are You? - When you contact an SSD manufacturer about the
latest product they are sampling in their pre-production phase - whether or not
you get an answer (or can order a scarce new product) depends on who you are.
If you're working on a project which is evaluating SSD for a new oem
system which will consume thousands of units - then you'll get a different
answer than a consumer who only has a budget to buy a single unit. SSD
manufacturers (like all storage
chipmakers) reserve their precious early product runs for qualification by
high volume customers - and will rarely reply to inquiries from people not
identified as being on their "A list". If you are just looking for a
single unit - your best bet is SSD oems who have consumer facing websites (with
shopping carts) or a reseller of products from most other SSD companies which
One of the great things about the SSD market for all buyers -
not just those looking for something to add into a notebook - is the huge range
of choices available. The directories and articles on this site should help you
ask yourself the right questions, and list all available manufacturers in the
market - after that the decision is up to you.
Finally - if you were
one of the readers who contacted me to ask any of the above questions listed in
this article - thanks for doing so. Reader emails are always stimulating and
indicate content gaps and areas for future editorial coverage.
StorageSearch.com isn't a consumer
facing publication - and although we do discuss SSDs - the consumer segment is
just one of many parts of that wider
SSD market. If
you're looking for more SSD publications? - You'll find other good reader
commended SSD sites in the
...Later:- in October 2011 - I had completely forgotten I'd already
written the article above - and started a new set of bullet points for another
reader who suggested I should publish a "top 10 best SSDs" list.
your suggestion for a list that says - Here are the best commercially available
2.5" SSD's at these sizes and costs.
I know maybe 300 or more
products in this category from over 100 suppliers of
It's not credible for anyone to round up that many products and do independent
testing. That's why all such articles are in my view close to useless.
What is useful and free from bias or pressure is the type of
top companies list
where I share with our readers a view of how popular SSD companies are filtered
by the process of the search analytics related to about a million or so annual
SSD readers. That gives you an idea of who's looking for what within
If I saw a top 10 best 2.5" SSD list like the one you
suggested I'd be suspicious of what criteria were used to compile it.
In the current state of the consumer market a randomly ordered list
might be just as reliable.
|Megabyte always treated incoming|
reader emails very seriously.
|"In 1985 - Curtis
introduced the ROMDISK, the first SSD for the original IBM PC."|
of SSD market history - true SSDs cost more than the average person's home..."|
the consumer SSDs
|Where does all the money
go? - inside SSD pricing|
|SSDs are among the most
expensive (and complex) computer hardware products you will ever buy and
understanding the factors which determine SSD costs is often a confusing
and irritating process... ...which is not made any easier when market prices
for apparently identical capacity SSDs can vary more than 100x to 1!
|| Why is that? There are
good reasons for these cost differences. But more expensive isn't always better
for you. To find out what goes into the price - and whether you need it - ...read the article |
|the 3 fastest flash
PCIe SSDs - list / lists|
|Are you tied up in
knots trying to shortlist flash SSD accelerators ranked according to
published comparative benchmarks?|
You know the sort of thing I mean -
where a magazine compares 10 SSDs or a blogger compares 2 SSDs against each
other. It would be nice to have a shortlist so that you don't have to waste too
much of your own valuable time testing unsuitable candidates wouldn't it?
StorageSearch's long running
fastest SSDs directory
typically indicates 1 main product in each form factor category but those
examples may not be compatible with your own ecosystem.
If so a
new article -
the 3 fastest PCIe
SSDs list (or is it really lists?) may help you cut that Gordian
knot. Hmm... you may be thinking that StorageSearch's editor never gives easy
answers to SSD questions if more complicated ones are available.
||But in this case you'd be
wrong. (I didn't say you'd like the answers, though.) ...read the article|
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