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JJ Husker

Help/Advice- SSD vs Standard hard drive?

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I need more advice/knowledge bestowed from you tech savvy folks.

Can somebody explain how/why a 128GB or 256GB solid state drive can take the place of a 1TB hard drive?

 

I understand a lot of the benefits of the SSD route (faster access time, more stable, no risk to moving it while drive is running etc.) but I am struggling with the cost decision issue of going 128GB SSD or 1TB HDD. 128GB does not sound like enough storage to me for a new laptop. Is there some magic in an SSD that allows it to hold more than the advertised amount? What am I missing that is allowing the computer folks to offer one or the other?

 

And yes I realize you can get both installed among other options. I'm just really curious how anyone can consider 128 or 256 enough in today's environment.

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SSD is a much faster storage technology. 128GB also doesn't sound like enough storage for a new laptop...but it depends on how you use it. I have a new one that is 256. It makes me a little space conscious, but not too much. Mostly I would think about what kind of and how much software you're going to put on it (games, virtual machines...each instance of these things can chew up 10GB. But maybe you don't game!)

 

A lot of raw storage stuff you don't need very frequently, so it's most efficient to offload that to the cloud (e.g, Google Photos) or external backup drives, which can be slower but larger. Yes, you might have a large library of backup content or media, but since you're not going to access it often there's a good argument for not always accepting the much slower performance. Plus, not having moving parts is nice.

 

To begin with, disk access is one of the slower parts of a computer's function. When you can just use the processor cache that's fastest; when that runs out you have to go to RAM, and. then when that runs out you have to go to disk. So also make sure you have enough RAM.

 

 

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I'll share what brought this up. Ordered a HP Envy x360 for my daughter for Christmas. She'll be using it when she goes off to college next year. Got a really good deal on it (I think) but as we were setting it up discovered that one of the keys would not register keystrokes. Key doesn't feel bad, seems more like a software issue that just won't recognize it. Anyway, wanted to exchange it for a functioning unit but that particular model is out of stock. So now my only choice is return it for a refund or exchange it towards a different unit. Like I said I got a really good deal originally so I hate to simply return it and lose that big discount. But the other comparable units I could exchange it for are somehow lesser units and/or more money.

 

This one had a 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD. Any similar $$ replacement I get seems to have just one or the other. So I'm trying to justify possibly going with only the smaller SSD or only the 1TB HDD and I'm not getting to where that seems like the smart way to go.

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Zoogs- thanks for your comments. I'll give you some more details so maybe you steer me better.

The user (my daughter) isn't into gaming and she is pretty sold on cloud type storage, Google docs, etc. So the only real use for a large HDD for her would possibly be audio files (songs) and photos. She has a nice digital SLR camera and likely would have a ton of pics to store somewhere. That is why I had added the 1TB HDD originally. But I suppose an external USB drive would be just about as handy for her large storage needs. Also she didn't want MS Office or any word processor as she is used to using Google docs. She wanted a Surface but dayum....those things are pricey so I talked her out of that but whe still wanted a convertible that she could flip the screen on for watching Netflix etc.

 

I think the problem with direct exchange is the processor. That one had a Gen7 i7 dual core but most of the ones they actually have in stock are Gen8 i7 Quad cores. A much better chip by all accounts but that drives the price up. Had 16GB Ram but also a lot of them in the price range only have 12GB

 

I'm thinking 12GB and a 256 SSD would probably suit her for a college computer since she doesn't game and could find other ways to store bulky files. What do you think?

Edited by Comfortably Numb

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Are you saying it has both a 1TB and a 128GB SSD? Wow, that seems like overkill. 

 

So I'd say a smaller internal SSD drive is preferable. What's the $ range here? <1000? 1k-1.4k? 1.5k+? Is your daughter going into engineering/computer science/graphic design, anything that might be very software intensive?

 

In my extremely biased opinion, Apple products are the only way to go. You'll want something that is easy and enjoyable to use and has good support.

 

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Ahh, I see. 12GB RAM is probably good! A quad core i7 seems much more powerful than is likely necessary (but still, it'll be nice). If you could have total freedom over all the specs, the CPU is probably where I would downgrade a little in exchange for 256GB storage.

 

For ref, I have a 2017 MBP with a dual core i5, 8GB RAM, and 256GB storage. I probably have around 80GB free; a somewhat ridiculous chunk of it is currently occupied by virtual machine(s), but then, I haven't installed that much software either. I sort of wish I had 512. I don't think I could deal with 128, personally.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, zoogs said:

Are you saying it has both a 1TB and a 128GB SSD? Wow, that seems like overkill. 

 

So I'd say a smaller internal SSD drive is preferable. What's the $ range here? <1000? 1k-1.4k? 1.5k+? Is your daughter going into engineering/computer science/graphic design, anything that might be very software intensive?

 

In my extremely biased opinion, Apple products are the only way to go. You'll want something that is easy and enjoyable to use and has good support.

 

 Yes, it had both 1TB and 128GB SSD. Also 16GB memory, 15.6" touch screen convertible display....$850. That's why I don't want to simply return it. Similar replacements are more like $1100 to $1300 range.

 

Not exactly what sure direction she'll go but right now is leaning towards statistics/math/psychology. I could see her possibly getting into graphic design.  I appreciate the affinity towards Apple products but that isn't an option at this point.

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Wow!

 

Yeah, I can't imagine lugging around such a large machine, but to each their own. It really sounds like CPU and RAM wise, this is going to have plenty of power (I'd be concerned about battery life!). I'm pretty partial to solid state, but it sounds like we have different approaches and expectations for how to use our machines. The 1TB is going to be slower, but maybe a lot more convenient when all is said and done and you can just keep everything on one device. If it's a convertible laptop/tablet mix, though, maybe it means you're going to want to lug it around a lot while it's on as you would a tablet...I haven't actually used one of these before.

 

Does she have a computer now? Maybe you can get a sense of how much storage she's using. Is it really impossible for them to just give you a 256GB SSD? Another question is how long you are hoping for this to last.

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I guess I wouldn’t say it was a large machine unless you’re strictly talking about storage, memory and computing power. It’s under 4 lbs. and she didn’t want go less than  a 15” screen. IDK, maybe it is large compared to a Mac book but notice the price tag difference.

 

Its not a simple matter of them being able to provide a 256GB SSD. I mean we can purchase any computer we want now but I was trying to keep most all the specs and capability for somewhere near the same price. I guess back to my original concern, I just don’t feel like 256GB is a large enough drive especially if there is likely to be a lot of high res pics involved. But yeah, point taken, it’s probably much more machine than she will need. I’m hoping for it to last at least 4 or 5 years. Heck our PC at home has lasted something like 8 years but it is well beyond its useful life. It’s a Dell XPS that was maxed out when new and now it’s a dinosaur. Not sure you can ever have too much drive or memory if you want them to last more than 3 years.

 

What I’m finding to be the problem is the combination of touch screen, convertible screen, and the cpu. We got such good deal on the one we had to return just haven’t been able to come close to the same build without dumping another $400 or $500. So, in a nutshell, I’m being a tight a$$ I guess. We’ll figure something out...

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Okay, this is kind of crazy @zoogs

I’ve been checking their website everyday for the last week and a half to see if they got any of these computers back in stock so that I could exchange instead of return. Also was checking an almost identical unit that cost more but neither have been available. I finally gave up today and tossed this one in Fed Ex for the return. I checked their website literally in the hour preceding shipping it. Nada. Within an hour of dropping it off at Fed Ex I get an email saying they are processing the refund. I go back on their website a few minutes ago and guess what, both units are now in stock however the one I returned is now full price (only 1 in stock??) but the other one, which has the Gen8 quad core chip and was listing for about $1200, is now priced exactly the same as the unit I returned. So I ordered it. Getting the exact same unit but with the better cpu. Ha.

 

I really wonder if they are counting my defective return as that 1 available unit...

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