Tips and Tricks December 3, 2018
New Personal Storage Developments
If you have bought a new computer recently, especially a laptop; you have encountered the fact that a common offering in terms of installed storage is a Solid State hard drive, an SSD drive, instead of an older HDD spinning drive. Its advantage is speed, but its weakness is size in terms of its capacity to store data. Common offerings for SSD drives are 250 Gigabytes and 500 gigabytes, before costs rise exponentially for larger sizes. What can one do to maximize the cost/benefit of adding external storage, if that is your choice?
External storage tends to be attached via a USB port. There are currently 4 common types of that port on the sides of recent laptops, differing in throughput speed, colour and shape.
Here is a partial list of what they are:
USB 1.1 – slowest, white parts visible inside
USB 2.0 – 40 X faster than USB 1.1, white inside
USB3.0 or 3.1 (first generation) – 10 X faster than USB 2, blue inside, new shape for type – b connector
USB 3.1 (second generation) / Thunderbolt 3 – 2 X as fast as USB 3, new shape of type – c connector, blue
Whatever device you attach to these ports, the total throughput speed cannot exceed the slowest link. If you attach a slow hard drive the speed will not be greater than its speed or the port it is attached to or the cables connecting the two.
External drive options:
SSD – fastest and most expensive option – lower capacity of storage
Portable HDD – relatively cheap, but very slow throughput speed
HDD SATA drive installed in dock with USB 3.1 connections – faster than portable drives – cheapest per gigabyte of storage – 7200 rpm models are typically 1/3 faster in throughput than 5400 rpm drives.
SSD drives are gradually falling in price, but are currently very expensive. Until they reach levels comparable to these other alternatives, I feel the other options are more reasonable, depending on just how vital the fastest speed is to you.