Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Battle of the Storages; or, How Much Do You Need?

So I spent a fair while yesterday writing a post that predicted the rise of Hybrid Drives on laptops, that would marry a high-capacity disk drive with a reasonable-capacity flash drive. The idea is catching on for desktops due to improved access speeds; my theory was that it would also catch on for laptops, due to improved battery life. Intelligent drivers on the hard drive would migrate the most-used apps onto the flash part, so it would only spin up the hard drive when it was accessing less-used files.

I wound up throwing it out, though, because I'm not sure of a critical question: how much capacity are laptops going to need in the future? They're already starting to build solid-state laptops with 32GB of flash drive. My first reaction was that that isn't enough -- after all, it's far less than most current desktops. My second reaction was that I was full of it: I'm not currently using 32GB on my own laptop, and I don't really expect to need more than that soon.

So let's step back and ask the underlying questions: how much disk space are you using on your laptop, if you have one? Is that all necessary, or is the disk just filling up because the space is available? How much capacity do you expect to need in the foreseeable future? Do you think that 32GB would be enough for you for the next few years? And would you pay, say, a few hundred bucks extra for a laptop that used a solid-state 32GB drive (which would presumably be a shade more rugged, run a bit faster, and have somewhat better battery life)? I'm trying to figure out if solid-state drives are about to do to hard drives what LCD monitors did to CRTs -- be a bit pricier at first, but better enough that they slowly displace the old technology.

Just to start off: the honest answer for me is that 32GB is probably plenty for now -- the only reason I can see wanting more would be to rip my entire CD collection to my iPod, and there are other ways to deal with that. The fact is, my laptop is increasingly used as a network-access device, which doesn't require tons of local disk. So the solid-state notebook is really kind of appealing to me...
Tags: technology
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