Economical Solid State Drives Are Here

We all covet the latest and greatest of technology, not to mention possessing the fastest computer. One way to increase the speed of your computer is to use a solid state drive (SSD) instead of a mechanical one. Essentially, SSDs are flash memory devices that appear as a hard disk to the computer. It is very fast to write and read from memory as opposed to accessing data from the rotating platters of a mechanical disk drive. Solid state drives are three to four times faster than their mechanical counterparts when writing or reading large files. Sound good? Then you’ll love to hear that SSDs are hundreds of times faster for the smaller random reads and writes that are common for normal usage of a computer.

There are some big advantages to using SSDs. There are no moving parts so they travel well and aren’t impacted by vibration. Without moving parts, they use less power and don’t generate as much heat. The downside is that they are a little more expensive than a traditional hard disk. It used to be that solid state drives were a very expensive luxury, but not anymore. The price gap has narrowed. You can now get a really good 500GB SSD for around $200.

So which SSD should you buy? We recommend going for the 500GB Samsung 850 EVO drive. You should be able to find one for less than $200. According to test results, the drive is slightly faster than other 500GB SSDs. It also comes with a 5 year warranty. The drive is also rated at 150TB of writes, which is double other drives in the same price range. The best SSD vendors at least make their own flash memory, but use components from other manufacturers. Samsung is the only manufacturer that makes 100 percent of the SSD. That includes the controller, firmware and NAND type flash memory.

The Samsung drive also includes software to move the operating system and data files from your Windows environment to the SSD. There is an additional included utility called Samsung Magician toolbox, which is used for drive maintenance such as firmware updates. For those of us that are security minded, there is hardware support for full disk encryption. We’re big fans of full disk encryption and are constantly telling lawyers that it should be their only option. Encrypt the whole drive and you won’t have to worry if you placed that confidential client document in a secure folder. Just dump it anywhere on the drive and you’ll know it is safe since the whole disk is encrypted. If you are a Windows user (the drive can be used in Macs too), there is an additional feature that lets you use up to 4GB of your system RAM as a write cache for the SSD. That will boost the performance even more.

There are many great SSDs available for your computer. The variables are price, performance, software, reliability, etc. If you are not using SSDs in your current computers, now is the time to consider them especially since the price premium is not that great.


  1. Whole disk encryption is even more important in SSDs since they cannot be wiped clean of confidential information as reliably as traditional hard drives when they are retired. Disk wiping software just doesn’t work the same way on current SSDs as it does on tradition hard drives due to the SSDs built-in data management and wear-leveling systems.

    The loss of speed for using whole disk encryption is small compared to the gains with an SSD, lawyers using an SSD should use encryption with SSDs as a matter of course.