Q&A session with an Intel SSD engineer

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There’s an interesting community-powered Q&A that’s just been posted over here at HardOCP in which their forum members were invited to ask questions of an Intel SSD engineer. There are many interesting questions asked and answered, regarding power consumption, which OS or file system to use, whether there are “grades” of flash, and more.

It’s kind of technical at times, but here are a couple points I thought were particularly interesting:

  • SSD makers could do a 3.5″ form factor, but at current prices the components are barely filling out a 2.5″ enclosure. Fortunately rail adapters are cheap.
  • Despite showing performance gains over HDDs when using SSDs, most filesystems are totally unoptimized for SSD use. Data placement is handled by the firmware, and although the drives could be “defragmented,” it’s not in the same way HDDs are. Apparently Windows 7 is ahead of the pack on SSD integration.
  • Your little 1GB thumb drive uses some of the same tech, and it would be possible to make a full-size hard drive out of that quality of cell and driver. It would be really cheap, but it would be extremely slow and unreliable. So keep using the major brands as a yardstick for pricing and watch out for unrealistic deals.
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