With its latest SSDs, Intel is paving the way for fast, standard NVMe connections in storage systems for both more and less adventurous users.
Hard Disk Drives (Internal)
If you're looking for an M.2 upgrade, this is the drive to have.
Western Digital's NAS-optimised 'WD Red' drives are now available in 2.5-inch models at 750GB and 1TB, and a new 4TB model pushes up the maximum capacity of the existing 3.5-inch range.
If you’re looking to speed up an old or even a new PC or laptop, buying a solid-state drive is one of the smartest choices you can make. OCZ’s Vertex 450 is a relatively cheap, still-super-fast SSD that is largely comparable to the current market leaders.
Seagate's SSD 600 is a 2.5in solid state drive with a 7mm thickness, and that means it should fit into most common notebooks. It has a 6Gbps SATA 3 interface, a hard casing, and it comes in capacities of 120GB, 240GB and 480GB. But will it make your notebook faster, give you more battery life, and perhaps even make it feel lighter?
OCZ's Vector solid state drive (SSD) is a high-performance model that's aimed at high-end consumer and workstation users. It comes in a 2.5in form factor that's suitable for installation either in a desktop or a notebook and it's a solid unit that's housed in an alloy enclosure.
Intel's latest solid state drive, the SSD 335 Series, is touted as being the first SSD in the industry to ship with 20 nanometre flash memory chips, made jointly by Intel and Micron Technology. The smaller chips are a natural progression for the industry and will eventually allow Intel (and other vendors) to produce more affordable drives.
OCZ is a flash memory company, with a solid history in enthusiast-level RAM since 2002. It’s since moved out of the RAM market, but has a great reputation for producing some of the best solid-state storage drives and USB flash drives available.
OCZ's Vertex 3 low profile (LP) solid state drive (SSD) is aimed at those of you who have laptops that only take 7mm thick, 2.5in drives. It provides an upgrade path that is more about increasing speed and efficiency rather than adding a higher capacity (at least for the model we looked at), and it's definitely a good solution for any of you who want to move on from a mechanical drive to a zippy SSD.
An SSD can read and write data many times faster than the best mechanical hard drive. On the downside, flash memory is many times more expensive than the innards of a typical hard drive, so manufacturers have limited their SSD capacities to hit reasonable price points: A 128GB SSD costs about $130, and for that same price tag, you can buy a 3.5-inch desktop hard drive that delivers 2TB of storage, or a 2.5-inch laptop drive that provides 1TB of storage.
WD's Red series of hard drives is designed to be used with network attached storage (NAS) devices, rather than in desktop computers. The drives are new additions to the company's already colourful internal drive line up, which includes the Blue series (for everyday computing), the Green series (for low-power systems) and the Black series (for high-end PCs).
Sometimes you just need to have all your stuff stored in one place. Having multiple drives and partitions can get confusing when it comes to both accessing your data and figuring out what needs to be backed up, not to mention the mess of power and data cables that comes from installing more than two hard drives in your case.
A hard drive dock offers an easy way to get data off any old (or current) hard disks that you have lying around. Rather than having to open up your PC or fiddle with installing them in an external case, a hard drive allows you to just plug and unplug disks as you please. The dock that we are looking at here has a USB 3.0 interface and there's nothing complicated about its functionality.
The original Seagate Momentus XT impressed us in 2010 with its innovative cache of SLC NAND flash memory: a small 4GB chip that stored a copy of commonly-accessed data and delivered it when needed at speeds much, much faster than the hard drive’s spinning platter could muster. While the rest of the Momentus XT functioned at similar speeds to any other fast laptop hard drive, this crucial flash memory did amazing things like reduce boot times and program loading times to rival the fastest solid-state disks. The new 750GB version of the Momentus XT doubles the size of the flash memory and adds a series of new algorithms to improve boot speed, as well as including another 18 months’ improvements in traditional laptop hard drive technology.
At 10,000-rpm, the Western Digital VelociRaptor WD6000HLHX drive certainly spins faster than the competition. But does faster rotations-per-minute translate into faster performance? The PC World Lab's tests show this drive may not have as much advantage as it once did.
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