My next Workstation

Preston Hagar prestonh at
Thu Jul 8 17:27:47 UTC 2010

On Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 12:11 PM, Billie Walsh <bilwalsh at> wrote:
> In my experience with computers memory is always going to be faster than
> mechanical hard drives. Back in the dark ages I had an old 8088 computer
> that I installed what was called a "Rampat" board with 100meg of memory on
> it. The computer was already running the maximum memory that it could see so
> I used the extra as a ramdisk. When I called a program from my bat file it
> first copied the program from the hard drive to the ramdisk and then
> executed it. There was a slight performance hit from the copy process but
> the programs ran so much faster it was unreal.
> I have an Asus EeePC with a 64 gig SSHD, 2 gigs memory and Atom processor,
> with 10.4 installed. For speed it kicks butt. It's way faster than my dual
> core laptop or quad core desktop [ four gigs memory on both ]. Boots faster
> and executes programs faster.
> I've heard a lot of talk about long term durability with SSHD's but then I
> have some really _OLD_ computers around here with no memory problems. Some
> have outlived the original hard drives that were in the computers by many
> years. [ two or three hard drives ] YMMV
> Something else. Never skimp on memory. Use as much as possible or until your
> dipping into the kids college fund, whichever comes first. Best investment
> in computer performance.
> Just my $1.00 worth [ $0.02 adjusted for inflation ].

Good info about SSHD.  As one quick note though, you mention that your
old computers have no memory problems and use that as a reasoning for
the durability of SSHD.  Two things to keep in mind:

1.  They don't make things like they used to.  Parts are more cheaply
made and less tested.  This has dropped costs greatly, but leads to
more failures.

2.  RAM in your old computers is volatile memory.  That is to say,
when the power is removed, it loses all stored information.  A SSHD is
non-volatile and retains information when the power is turned off.
The technology is somewhat different.  SSHDs are really more like USB
flash drives, they just have finally achieved speeds and capacities to
make them usable for a system drive.  SSHD can be nice, but you do
sacrifice capacity and greatly increase the cost.  Also, depending on
the maker of the SSHD, it may not be much faster than good SATA drive.
 When you throw 4 SATA drives in a RAID 10 array, you often have just
reached the cost of 1 good SSHD, but now have close to the same speeds
and tons more capacity.  Also, with SSHDs, you have a finite number of
writes.  Sure, the number is high, but if you use the drive for swap,
or anything else that does a lot of small writes (I seem to remember
one of the older versions of Ubuntu having a bug that wrote to the
drive tons and was causing early SSHD failures) then it can wear out

Anyway, SSHD can be great, but there are some drawbacks as well.


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