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Old 11-01-2013, 05:11 PM   #16
bcla
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prisstina View Post
Will do! I'm pretty paranoid about having multiple backups *everywhere* in case of a disaster scenario.



Ugh, yikes to the destroyed Asus. That's rotten.

Thanks for the info about bit rot and how stored data can decay/disappear.

Sometimes it feels like companies are making machines and components that just aren't as reliable anymore...or maybe I'm too cynical.
Some people have multiple computers and often don't turn them on and expect that the data will remain intact indefinitely. I think you could bury a hard drive in a hermetically sealed box for 50 years and it should work if you can find a compatible interface.

Even if you don't understand the physics, it's not that hard to understand. Flash memory records data via electrons being "shot" into an insulator layer. This insulator can keep the data there intact until enough of it eventually leaks out. The more and more times that the data has been erased, the less intact the insulator is.

One big benefit of solid state storage like flash memory is that it's far less susceptible to damage from mechanical shock. There are all sorts of methods used to protect hard drives, and they still get damaged. However, the real benefit is speed. The read speeds of state of the art solid-state drives is much, much faster than the best hard drives. They're also extremely quiet and use considerably less power than hard drives.

The most important thing is that these drives have self diagnostics that will tell the operating system that the drive is approaching failure. While a lot of people thought of these drives as lasting nearly forever, they're not. It would be technically possible to solder the drive directly onto the main board with the RAM and CPU, but that's generally not a great idea. We get that with smart phones, but those will generally be replaced. However, I can imagine someone with a MacBook Air who will have a functioning machine for 7-10 years and will want to have the drive replaced.
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:23 PM   #17
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I was looking at laptops and ultra books last summer and was told to avoid flash memory because unlike a hard drive, it can't be replaced if it fails. True or false?
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:47 PM   #18
bcla
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Originally Posted by jrmasm View Post
I was looking at laptops and ultra books last summer and was told to avoid flash memory because unlike a hard drive, it can't be replaced if it fails. True or false?
Depends on the machine. Some machines come with standard SATA drives and can be replaced with either hard drives or solid state drives. Others come in the form of a "daughter card". I don't know of any that aren't at least theoretically replaceable. However, what Apple has right now for machines that only use solid state drives uses a proprietary connector. Frankly a solid state drive in a hard drive "form factor" wastes a lot of volume. By switching to a thin card only, they can make the machine really thin. Some places sell what they claim is compatible with certain MacBook Air models:

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/

If you've got a smart phone, basically the built-in storage is on a solid-state drive that can't be replaced if it fails.
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