Everyone here at the TrustedReviews office has a bit of a penchant for ultra mobile laptops. The regular travelling and 24/7 nature of our work means we're constantly working on the move and we require long lasting low weight laptops to facilitate this. Take Computex, for instance, a 12 hour flight to Hong Kong, another quick hop to Taipei and then four days of walking from booth to endless booth, only to be followed by a another 20 hours of travelling back to Blighty. In between all this moving about you then actually have to find some time to sit down and write about it all. Without a laptop that can keep going for most of the day, this can be next to impossible.
This is why, for a long time, Solid State Drives (SSDs) have been high on our list of anticipated products. Not only do they have ultra fast access times, they also weigh less and use less power than a normal Hard Disk Drive (HDD), meaning your laptop lasts that bit longer.
So it was with great excitement that we received our first SSD to review, the snappily titled MCAQE32G5APP-0XA from Samsung. This 2.5in 'laptop' SSD weighs only 51g and has as a capacity of 32GB. This may not seem like much but, as I've pointed out before, this is more than enough for an operating system, office productivity suite, email program, image editing program, plenty of documents, and there should even be enough left over for a decent music collection and the odd episode of your favourite TV show. What's more, because SSDs don't suffer performance degradation from data fragmentation (unlike HDDs), every single byte of space can be used without your system grinding to a halt.
Just like a USB memory stick, SSDs use a type of memory chip that can continue to store data even when it has no power. Having no moving parts makes accessing information extremely quick - it just takes a few milliseconds to calculate the correct portion of memory to read/write. This is in contrast to normal HDDs that use magnetic particles on spinning disks (or platters) to store data. For them to access a piece of information the disc has to 'spin-up', the read/write head (the thing you hear making a clicking noise when your HDD is in use) has to be moved to the right track on the disk, and then the disk has to spin to the right point on that track. This adds a significant amount of delay to the process of reading and writing data, so much so that even the fastest consumer hard drives have access times 20 times slower than this Samsung SSD. Moreover, the energy used to spin the disks and move the read/write heads creates a fair amount of heat and also draws significantly more power than an SSD.