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Tag: SSD

Mac Mini Upgrade

Posted by tomwiles at 5:04 PM on November 4, 2013

I have two Mac Mini’s — one of them I use as a computer, and the other I use as an over-the-air HD-DVR connected to my home theater.

I decided to upgrade the machine as I use as a computer to an SSD hard drive, replacing the stock 5400 RPM drive. I replaced it with a Crucial M500 240GB SATA 2.5-Inch 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive CT240M500SSD1 purchased via Amazon for $159.99.

Dismantling a Mac Mini is quite a bit above my comfort level, so I took everything to a local Mac dealer I’ve had very positive dealings with in the past and paid them to make the swap.

The results are nothing short of phenomenal. Restarting the machine to fully back up takes about 29 seconds. Curiously, starting the computer from pressing the power button to fully up takes 24 seconds. This is much, much faster than boot-up sequence with the original 5400 RPM hard drive installed,

The machine has 8 gigabytes of RAM installed. Even with that much RAM, the overall feel of the computer once booted up is quite snappy comparing it directly to the otherwise identical HD-DVR machine that is still running it’s original 5400 RPM stock drive.

Hands down the best bang-for-the buck upgrade for any computer is an SSD drive. The speed boost is stark and will make a huge difference even on a machine with only 2 gigabytes of installed RAM.

If you have an older machine, particularly a laptop that has a decent processor but is in need of a serious speed bump, consider an SSD drive.

SSD prices are still high compared to conventional spinning drives, however I’ve found that simply adjusting my thinking a bit makes SSD drives much more affordable. A 120 gigabyte SSD drive sells for around $100 on Amazon. In an era of giant, inexpensive conventional external hard drives and ubiquitous home networks, it makes much more sense to use those external drives as shared storage to store photos, videos and other media, and get away from the idea of storing stuff on the computer itself. By using a 120 or 240 gigabyte SSD as the boot drive, it becomes possible to enjoy a massive computer speed boost and move media off to networked or external storage.

OWC shows off their latest Apple products

Posted by Alan at 12:20 PM on March 1, 2013

owc logoOWC, better known as Other World Computing and also as Mac Sales, was at the recent CES in Las Vegas to show a few of its latest products.

Starting with an iPhone case that has been tested (a video is on the site) at 4 foot drops onto concrete, as well as being hit by a hydraulic arm. The case comes in multiple colors. The company also plans to make the case available for Android in the future.

The company also showed off its brand new 2013 Viper SSD. The new drive has a capacity of up to two terabytes. It can be used in almost any application, but is made ideally for RAID.

OWC also displayed its popular USB, electrical outlet solution that can be installed in place of a standard wall outlet in your home (as I did last year). However this year, a 20 amp version was released. Finally, there are are a couple of more products unveiled  but you will need to watch the video to find out.

For pricing and availability, you can head over to OWC to get all of the information.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine and Nick DiMeo of F5 Live

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Upgrading An Old MacBook To An SSD

Posted by tomwiles at 9:57 PM on December 4, 2012

One of the machines I have is a 6 year old 13” white plastic Intel MacBook. In recent years I’ve used it as a backup machine just in case I needed it. It has a 2 gigahertz Core 2 Duo processor and is maxed out at 2 gigabytes of RAM.

Solid State Drive prices have been dropping lately, so I figured making the swap to a solid state drive and the performance boost it would bring would be worth it. I ended up buying a Crucial 128 gigabyte SSD for around $104 dollars with Amazon Prime picking up the shipping cost.

This evening I made the installation. I started out by installing the new SSD in an external Firewire enclosure and installing OS/X onto it first. After a very smooth, painless installation process, OS/X asked me what I wanted to transfer from the old drive to the new one, and though I left out most of the documents and other clutter, I did tell it to move the applications over, which to my surprise it did a stellar job of copying over to the new SSD drive.

After rebooting into the new drive while it was still connected via Firewire, I copied over a few miscellaneous files I needed and then shut everything down. Next, I swapped the new drive into the MacBook.

The results are nothing short of amazing. The old 7,200 RPM hard drive made the machine seem sluggish and non-responsive. With the SSD in the same machine, things seem to happen almost instantly. The conclusion I take away is that conventional hard drive performance has been a bigger performance bottleneck than we realized.

The days of the conventional spinning hard drive are numbered. The conventional hard drive will one day be going the way of the cathode ray tube monitor and floppy discs.

If you are tempted to shell out big bucks for a new machine just to get a performance boost, if you have an older machine that has otherwise good hardware, consider upgrading to an SSD for an incredible performance boost at a fraction of the price of a new machine.

Buffalo Launches Thunderbolt Portable SSD

Posted by Andrew at 3:13 PM on November 30, 2012

Buffalo LogoFollowing on from GNC’s review of the MiniStation Air earlier this month, Buffalo have a launched the MiniStation Thunderbolt SSD. As you might guess from the name, it’s a portable SSD with a Thunderbolt connection so it’s ideal for connecting up with Apple Macs.

Combining the SSD with Thunderbolt, the MiniStation has a read performance of more than 370 MB/s and a write performance that exceeds 250 MB/s, which is pretty nippy in anyone’s book. And I think those are Bytes and not bits. PC users aren’t left out with a USB 3.0 connection too, though it’s not as fast as the Thunderbolt connections.

MiniStation Thunderbolt SSD

Paul Hudson, Sales Director for Northern Europe at Buffalo, said: “The MiniStation Thunderbolt SSD combines a highly robust and aesthetically pleasing design with exceptionally fast data transfer speed. We have seen how Thunderbolt hard drives have transformed the available speed for read and write to storage devices, but with the additional of SSD in the Buffalo range, the speed stakes are raised again providing astounding performance.

The drive is bus-powered and will be available in two storage sizes, at a recommended price of £229.99 for the 128 GB product and £349.99 for the 256 GB version. There’s a .pdf spec sheet here.

Hopefully GNC will be bringing you a review of the MiniStation Thunderbold SSD in the not-too-distant future.

Kingston HyperX SSD

Posted by Alan at 11:22 PM on January 22, 2012

Kingston is known for their memory, but now they are branching out into the world of hard drives and, more specifically, solid state hard drives, or SSD’s as they are commonly referred to.   The HyperX is the top of the Kingston line when it comes to this technology.  The SSD is a much-hyped technology that has remained a dream for most consumers because of their price-point, but they are starting to come down into the realm of the affordable, although still top-end, drives. The SSD provides much faster speed than the traditional HDD, plus they are much smaller in size, which is driving the new Ultrabook craze, which was also capturing  the media at this year’s CES.

The new HyperX comes with an external drive bay that you can plug into your computer and software to clone you current drive to get you started without any down time.  The new Kingston drive may still be out of reach for the average user, but that’s okay, because they know it’s for the enthusiast, who knows how to get inside a PC and change out hardware, clone drives, and use all of the hardware and tools that come along with a project such as this.

Currently for the 120 GB version seen in the video below the price is coming in at a little over $200.  To find out more be sure to check out the video and visit Kingston.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Verbatim SSD Drives

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 6:22 PM on January 9, 2012

Verbatim One of the categories that you will see a lot of at CES 2012 are Solid State Drives (SSD). With the price of regular hard drives going up due to the flooding in Thailand. (Although the price of standard hard drives seem to be going back down at this time.)  As SSD drives becoming more reasonably priced they increase in popularity among consumers. Verbatim a leader in the data storage business since 1969 will be introducing some new SSDs at CES 2012. They will be introducing both new SATA II and SATA III drives. They will be bundled with NTI Echo smart cloning software which will allow an individual to copy their entire hard drive including operating system without having to reinstall drivers. It is simple to use and secure helping to eliminating the lost of data. There will also be a casing included that will allow you to convert your current internal drive into an external drive for extra storage. Also available will be a 3.5 bay adapter which will allow a desktop computer to be updated also.

What makes the Verbatim SSD drives special is the fact they have no moving parts are shock resistance and run silently.  The SATA II SSD comes in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. They have read speeds up to 270MB per second and write speeds up to 225MB per second. SATA III drives can reach both read and write speeds up to 500MB per second. SATA III drives use Sandforce 2281 controller. Garbage collection algorithms which help to maintain stability and reliability. There is also have advance wear leveling. The SATA III drives come in 120 GB, 240GB and 480GB capabilities. These drives will work with Window 7, Window XP, Mac OX 10.4 and greater and Linux 2.4.0 and higher. Verbatim will be showing off these drives and other products at Booth MP25374 in the South Hall at CES 2012.

OWC Mercury SSD Drives

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 11:27 AM on January 7, 2012

OWC Mercury DriveOther World Computing (OWC) will be introducing their newest Solid State Drive (SSD) line called Mercury Extreme. It is 3G with a combination of Sandforce Dura Class technology and Tier 1/Grade A NAND. Tier 1 (Grade A) is the top of line chips and are laser etched with a serial number. This combination produces data rates over 275MB. It is reliable and relatively noiseless. It has near bus saturation speed. Unlike regular SSD where the write speed tends to slow down after regular and constant use, OWC Mercury Extreme SSD drives do not. They use Block Management and Wear technology instead of the traditional OS Trim Management to help prevent that slow down. MacPerformance confirmed that Mercury SSD removes almost all slow down in data speed over time. The Sandforce Dura Class Technology also offers 100x the data protectin compared to ordinary SSD. They do this by the combination of 7 percent over provisioning, the highest level or error correction and Sandforce Raise (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements).

You can get a 30 GB drive starting at $67.99 MSRP. It is available through OWC and selected retailers. There is a 30 day risk free guarantee and 24/7 live chat support. The drives are compatibility with any desktop or external drive that uses 2.5” drives. You can also get adapters for as low as $3.00, which allow 2.5” drives to be placed in 3.5” bays. OWC Mercury SSD are available with a capacities from 30GB up to 480GB starting at $67.99. OWC will be showing off these hard drives and more at CES in the North hall at Booth 5231.

GNC-2011-12-29 #733 Soapbox Time!

Posted by geeknews at 1:18 AM on December 30, 2011

Happy New Year, this is an epic show. For those of you that are long time supporters of the show thank your for your continued and ongoing support. For the Haters well I can’t say what I really want to say.

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GNC-2011-10-20 #715 Seven Year Anniversary!

Posted by geeknews at 1:06 AM on October 21, 2011

This show is pretty close to the seven year anniversary of the show. It has been a great run, and I want to thank all of you for being loyal fans.. You will get a chuckle at the beginning of the show as I for some reason have no idea what day it is.. Lot’s of tech and thanks for all of the emailed comments.

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TDK Looking to Double Hard Drive Capacity

Posted by Alan at 2:00 PM on October 10, 2011

Storage, both HDD and SSD, is growing in capacity and shrinking in price all of the time.  With hard drives currently as large as 2 TB available, and promises of even bigger ones coming it seems there is almost more storage already than anyone of needs.  Plus, for those willing to pay a premium, there are SSD’s, which are smaller in capacity, but much faster in read time.  Plus, we have even heard vague rumors of holographic storage coming in the future.

Now, from the future technologies department comes some news that TDK, the once famous cassette tape maker, has a technology that could double the storage capacity of a hard drive by using laser heaters to write the data.  TDK calls the technology HAMR – heat-assisted magnetic recording.  The laser needs to be combined with a new way of making the drive platters.  Supposedly TDK has used the technology with platters that would normally have held 1 TB of data and successfully stored 2 TB on them.

It sounds very futuristic, and honestly it is.  There is no release date for the technology, no idea of how such drives would be priced in comparison to a standard drive, and no real idea if this technology will ever even hit the market.  Frankly, beyond this one report from the Register, there is really no concrete evidence of this technology existing.  But the science of storage is always moving ahead at a fast pace, so it’s likely that such things as this are at least being tested.