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Brett Nordquist (Customer Experience Engineer)

Solid State Drives Soar in Popularity

Written on January 30, 2013 by Brett Nordquist

It wasn’t long ago that Solid State Drives (SSD) were considered a luxury item, reserved for those who demanded drive speeds only SSDs can deliver. The first generation of SSDs were not only limited in capacity (40 and 60 GB models were popular) but were very expensive, often costing more than $500. That makes for a difficult sell when a mechanical drive could be had for about half the the price and nearly 10x the capacity.

Starting in the first quarter of 2011, companies such as Intel, Corsair, Samsung and other began dropping prices on their SSDs. At Puget Systems we’ve found Intel to build a reliable and fast SSD at a reasonable price and have consolidated our offerings around their main lines.

A number of changes to how our customers consumer media have also accelerated the adoption of the SSD including streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify as well as cloud based storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive.  These and other similar services help reduce the amount of storage capacity many PC users require. 

While SSD prices were coming down and capacities were increasing, floods in Thailand caused mechanical drive shortages around the globe. Speculators saw an opportunity and swooped up massive inventories of existing drives which drove prices through the ceiling. Drive prices and availability didn’t fully recover until the latter half of 2012. Although this was unwelcome news for our industry, it opened the door for many customers to consider an SSD who may not have before.

Sometime a small opening is all a technology needs to break out and succeed within the mainstream community, and that’s what we are seeing today as SSDs begin to overtake mechanical drives in total sales at Puget Systems.  SSDs run cool, take up less physical space, and make no noise which explains their popularity in laptops, but those advantages also translate well to desktop and workstations.

We’ve found that once customers experience the overall increase in system performance that an SSD provides they can’t imagine returning to a mechanical drive. The Intel 240 GB models hit that sweet spot in terms of price and capacity today, which is often enough as the only drive needed for a new system.

Mechanical drives still fill a need for those needing a terabyte or more of storage capacity, and I’m certain we’ll continue to offer them in the computers we build for many years to come.

But there’s a changing of the guard taking place in storage, and that’s a good development for our customers.

Sean Long

Especially for laptops, SSDs also have a much greater resistance to shocks, impacts, and vibrations.  My girlfriend had a laptop, and the HDD in it was so sensitive to shock ... a light, hollow-cage-ball plastic cat toy bounced off of the laptop, once, and IMMEDIATELY crashed the drive.  We're talking, "throw it away and buy a new one" crashed.

Posted on 2013-01-31 00:56:22

Sean, that's a good point in regards to resistance to shock and vibrations. I've noticed the same thing with my PC which my kids would occasionally bump and crash the drive. That hasn't happened since I installed an SSD. 

Posted on 2013-01-31 00:58:41
Sean Long

That very lack of moving parts, and resulting resistance to shock/etc, is what makes me confident that SSDs will probably become the go-to hardware for portable systems - laptops, tablets, and similar - in the near future. Presuming they haven't already, of course..

Posted on 2013-02-02 05:09:54
Neville Sarkari

While I do think that an SSD is almost a "must have" for a laptop, I am really enjoying having one in my Puget built tower system as well. Excellent performance.  I have a mechanical drive (Caviar Black 2TB) for mass storage, but the SSD boot drive is really nice.

They are even better suited for laptops which are booted more often and, as noted above, face more bumps and jolts.

Posted on 2013-01-31 02:57:26

Installing a 240GB Intel 520 in my Puget computer provided a very nice boost in performance. I have my OS, programs, and 'working' documents on it. Other documents, older downloads and miscelleaneous stuff are stored on two 500GB WD internal drives. Everything is backed up to a 1TB WD SATA external drive.

With regard to backups...I created 'Libraries' in Win 7 for each of my 500GB drives. When I backup using Windows Backup/ Restore, those libraries, as well as the contents of my primary SSD (including system image), are backed up.

I am very happy with my Puget computer, and the Intel SSD is icing on the cake!


Posted on 2013-02-02 19:15:50

I have a year-old Genesis with Win8. Is it difficult to add an Intel SSD and migrate the OS? I also have SkyDrive and backup selected files to the cloud manually via File Explorer. Any tips to automate that?

Posted on 2013-02-21 17:26:07

Although there are imaging tools such as Acronis True Image that attempt to migrate your OS over to the new SSD, I recommend installing Windows from scratch as well as your programs onto your new drive. It will take longer but I believe you'll encounter fewer issues in the long term.

Posted on 2013-02-21 23:24:49