Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 27th Sep 2012 19:36 UTC
Apple I bought a brand new iMac on Tuesday. I'm pretty sure this will come as a surprise to some, so I figured I might as well offer some background information about this choice - maybe it'll help other people who are also pondering what to buy as their next computer.
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I agree, this is the way to go if you happen to have an SSD. SSD for the system, hard drive for data. But I have to admit that I don't trust SSDs for the long term--even when used as a system drive. For example, if you regularly do a fresh install of your OS while keeping your /home directory intact, and you use a distro that has a release cycle of under a year, how many OS installs will you be able to do before bits start to go bad? Never mind the typical package updates throughout the lifespan of a distro; there are usually lots of those.

The fact that these things have to even be considered makes hard drives a more attractive choice in my opinion. Also, if you're a distro hopper you may run into problems sooner. What about swap space... should you put your swap partition on a hard drive, and then suffer the slowdown of using a hard drive anyway (eliminating one of SSD's biggest advantages) as soon you start running out of RAM--all because the SSD cannot be trusted for frequent rewrites?

Instead of getting one expensive drive that is just big enough to hold one OS and does not have proven reliability, I honestly think you'd be better off just getting a larger hard drive and partitioning it. Or even get a smaller "system" hard drive, and a bigger one for data. Sure, hard drives are also not known for their low failure rate, but at least they've been tried, tested and proven over the decades. It's a technology you can at least somewhat trust.

Modern computers and hard drives are so damn fast anyway, I honestly can't imagine an SSD being that big of an improvement over a good quality hard drive, performance-wise. Where SSD can truly beat the shit out of hard drives, though, is in laptops and similar portable devices; no moving parts means no physical damage, crashing, and data loss by accidentally dropping or bumping the computer. IMO, that is where SSDs truly shine. Then again, even in laptops I often hear about the battery or a corrupt/infected Windows installs far more often than a crashed hard drive.

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