All laptops should come with a Solid-State Drive

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This week brought news that Western Digital had worked with SanDisk on its SSHD, which was launched two weeks ago. Equipped with NAND flash memory to speed up the hard disk drive, SSHD offers substantially better performance without the exorbitant price tags associated with SSDs. Separately, IHS iSuppli says that the shipments of SSDs are expected to increase by 300 percent, by 2017

Clearly, hard disk drive makers and analysts both think SSD is the next big thing in computing.

Having had my first taste of a SSD almost four years ago, in June 2009, I am not at all surprised by recent developments. At that time, I practically dismantled my Sony Z series laptop to review a 256GB Samsung SSD. The resulting performance increase left me amazed. Apps either launched instantly or in less than a second. System lags became a rarity and even file transfers over my wired Gigabit Ethernet network felt faster.

You could say I was addicted to the speed, but I was so impressed that, since then, I have not purchased a laptop without a SSD. Believe me when I say that no users will willingly switch back to a normal HDD after having experienced what a SSD can offer them.

Concerns regarding the use of SSDs revolve around their substantially higher cost, which is also tied to their generally smaller capacities. I got around this by opting for laptops with cheaper 128GB configurations in the past, and more recently, a mid-tier 256GB SSD configuration when I switched to a MacBook Pro.

To address any storage crunches that may arise, additional storage capacity can easily be added with the use of a USB 3.0 external hard disk. As a bonus, the high transfer rate speed offered by USB 3.0 should deliver comparable performance as an internal HDD.

Are you using a SSD-equipped laptop at the moment or are you planning to make a switch soon? As usual, feel free to email me your thoughts, or tweet me. - Paul Mah  (Twitter @paulmah)