You could always build your own inexpensive drives, but for those of us with no time, buying external hard drives has been relatively expensive. Not anymore: a good quality 1tb drive from Other World Computing (sans Firewire 800) is only $229!
For video, these are probably best for backup only; I like the FireWire 800 connection for working on Final Cut Pro. But I go through 1tb backup drives like crazy. I might pick up a couple of these.
But are we only cooling our heels with cheaper hard drives until the “next big thing” comes? Leon Bailey blogs about a Samsung press release concerning its own line of solid state drives (SSDs) — drives that have no moving parts and look more like computer RAM — that states
that the company expects sales of SSDs “to increase 800 percent between now and 2010″. That would be a huge increase over any timeframe but, unless notebook sales are also going to grow eight-fold over the next 18 months, there will have to be a major decline in the sales of traditional 1.8 and 2.5in hard disks for Samsung’s projection to pan out.
So are the spinning-disc hard drive days numbered? I’m not sure about 2010, but I do know that, historically, any computer equipment in my office that was older than 3 years old was considered archaic (no longer: most of my Mac towers are 3 years old or older). But the allure of faster, solid-state storage will be strong: we won’t have to wait for drives to spin up or power down.
Unfortunately, it’s no guarantee that solid state drives are the answer. Fujitsu is playing down expectations for the new drives compared to current spinning-disc drives, saying
As most rotating hard drives often park and enter a low-power mode in low activity, the actual gain by using solid-state technology is never more than about five percent, according to Fujitsu estimates. Reliability is also an issue, as some flash drives are often limited to roughly 10,000 writes per storage cell before the area becomes unwriteable, leaving drives near the end of their lifespans without the ability to record data.
In a review of a new(er) solid state drive from Silicon Power, Olin Coles states
Value is a relative term, especially when you discuss bleeding edge technology. People ridicule the thought of making the high-dollar purchase of an SSD over a standard hard drive, but then they get into their Hummer’s and Porsche’s and drive to Starbucks for a five-dollar coffee. At the ends of every emerging technology are two sides: one which will buy the technology and one that will not.
Well, I would love to be in the high-dollar group, but I’m not. So I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the price to come down. Until then, I’ll go out and buy a few more OWC drives.