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Solid State of Affairs | Computer Skeptic


We’ve made a lot of computer upgrades since the pandemic started. Despite the news that everyone is blowing money on everyone, it shows that computer owners are saving their money and realizing that they can upgrade their old computer instead of buying a new one. One of the more worthy upgrades that will come shortly are the solid-state drives.

Computers have been using mechanical hard drives for decades. Mechanical hard drives operate similarly to a record player. Inside the small hard drive case is a platter wrapped in a magnetic surface that rotates at about 5,400 rotations per minute. A read-write “head,” similar to a stylus on a record player, travels back and forth on the platter reading and writing microscopic positive and negative magnetic charges. Your computer’s processor translates those charges as binary 0s or 1s which are then translated into Tweets, cat pictures, and the operating system. These hard drives are a miracle of innovation and are incredibly fast, efficient, and reliable for storing and retrieving data.

However, mechanical hard drives are easily affected by many types of failures. For example, if you drop a laptop while it’s on, that floating read/write head can make physical contact with the rotating platter and result in an area on the hard drive that can no longer hold positive or negative fee. This head/platter contact is known as a hard drive “crash.” If the data resides in that area, that data is lost. The computer may allow some of these bad places but if you have many, your computer may not boot and you may lose all your data. Hard drive crashes like these are the main reason we recommend that you keep a backup of your data. The electric motors in these drives can also slow down over time resulting in computers being much slower to boot and operate.

Solid-state drives (SSDs) are rapidly replacing mechanical drives in newer computers. SSDs have no moving parts so are more resistant to physical shock, run quietly, and have faster access times and lower latency. The reason is a computer that can easily access data. For example, a mechanical hard drive usually goes out of power until full boot in 3 to 5 minutes. SSDs turn on in less than 30 seconds for an older computer, and less than 5 seconds for newer computers. If you click on an icon to load a program, it will launch almost immediately on an SSD drive.

Someone with reasonable computer skills can clone their old hard drive to a new SSD for less than $ 50. but expect to pay and up to $ 200 (parts and work) for a skilled technician to do the work. It may seem like a lot of money (especially because it is) but if you have an old, slow laptop and are thinking of buying a new one, this $ 200 investment can easily delay the purchase for a few more years.

Jim Fisher owns Excel Computer Services in Florence. Reach him at www.ExcelAL.com



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