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If you’ve ever seen footage of aerospace training where they hurl someone on a centrifuge until they hurl themselves or pass out from the g-forces, then you have an idea of what a traditional disk drive looks like when it’s working. It’s essentially a spinning disk, like a CD-ROM, only at rotary speeds well beyond those of the aforementioned space travel training techniques humans can experience. When a hard drive or any object moving that fast is dropped, the results are usually pretty cool to look at if they weren’t so potentially tragic. Unless there’s a safeguard in the design, most moving hard drives that are dropped are usually destroyed on impact along with all the data on them. For this and other reasons, traditional disk drives are dangerous places to be putting precious pieces of information with no alternative backup storage.
Computer and software designers already knew years ago, when disk drives were reaching their zenith, that solid state storage products were ultimately going to replace most hard disk drives in future computers. It’s simply the natural progression of things. Above all there is significant increases in storage safety when the storage device has no moving parts. This reduces the chance of dropping the overall computer or storage unit itself leading to permanent loss of data or damage. You simply can’t count out the possibility of dropping a computer no matter how careful you think you are so that matters a lot. The other important indicator that solid state is primed to take over memory for good is that lack of magnetic interference doing damage to the memory. Traditional disk drives, much like their floppy predecessors, are extremely vulnerable to outside magnetism causing complete memory wipe-out. Storage units sans risk of magnetic destruction are going to matter a lot with the rise of the pocket-size computer.
Which works great considering that solid state storage is a lot smaller than the necessary amount of hard disk space for a comparable amount of data. But the technological breakthroughs of putting so much on so little are not without their costs, literally. Currently a consumer can get a hold of a 1TB hard drive for about $100 bucks. That same amount of storage space costs $4000 if you’re buying a solid state drive. The differential won’t be permanent nor will solid state drives always be so expensive; analysis indicates that solid state prices drop 50% every two years as technology increases. In the meantime the kind of memory needed for large scale projects is a little hard for consumers to attain in solid state form but eventually it’ll be priced accordingly.
Solid state memory is more complex in design compared to traditional hard disk drives but far more simple in structure. The less movement, the better, as far as computer technology goes. Eventually we’ll arrive at a point where all home computing is performed through a single solid drive hub hooked to a household mainframe and accessed by remote devices throughout the day. Until then keep spinning.
Category: data storage