Few days ago I just done the ultimate upgrade for my PC. Obviously this upgrade is a SSD aka Solid State Drive. Nobody imaginated before the SSD how much the disk system is important for our PC performance. My PC boot in only 5 seconds, and I open huge software which required 20-30 seconds, in just 3-5 seconds. My choice is a Crucial M500, great compromise between cost and performance.
I don’t was too interested about the SSD performance, because almost all SSDs saturate the SATA 2 channel (3 gbit port). In facts for older PC as mine, the bottleneck is the SATA port. SSD as the M500 saturates also the SATA 3 port (6Gbit).
Why does SSD boost performance? In four words: no mechanical moving parts. Storing data on chips, zero the latency to retrieving data from different sectors in the drive. In a normal Hard Disk, there is a rotating disk and a head which move on the disk to retrieve data. If the data accessed by PC were contiguous, HD could have performance similar to SSD. But in real world accessed data are scattered on the disk. This slows down performance for a HD, because it need to move the head to get the data. For a SSD there isn’t anything to move, and can retrieve the data with no latency.
This upgrade is probably the last for my PC. It’s about 6 years old, a really long life for a PC. Last year upgraded RAM to 8GB (from 4), and now the SSD is the last piece. It’s incredible a PC after 6 years has still good performance which don’t push me to change everything. In this years CPUs performance have grown more slowly. The producers have focused on power consumption, due the diffusion of mobile devices, and the limits of actual CPU technology.
I bought my Quad core CPU 6 years ago, and yet the actual CPUs have the same core’s number… There is no much software can efficiently use more cores, that stopped the run to increase the core number. Only in the server market there are CPU which many cores.
The software also to allow the porting on mobile devices has not increased the hardware requirements. Just think Windows. From Vista the hardware requirements are almost the same. Therefore there is a more interest in optimizing software performance.
Probably this is the most long life hardware generation of ever… waiting new technology processes make us able to return to great yearly performance improvement.