December 14 2010
The insatiable need for speed is a constant in digital life. I recently tested one of the world’s fastest internet connections – Virgin’s 200Mbps trial – for Technopolis TV, and I can honestly say that it was still a tad slower than I’d have wanted.
It’s the same with computers. My first computer, an Amstrad word processor, took about five minutes to boot up. And if you tried to save a long document, you were looking at another five minutes of churning and grinding.
So when Apple announced lately that its latest iMac has an option for a 256Gb solid state (ie, non-mechanical) drive alongside the 1Tb and 2Tb conventional hard drives, I got excited. The idea is that you keep all your software on the SSD, from which it will work much faster, and all your data on the standard drive. How does it work? Unsurprisingly, quickly. A 24-second boot-up, with Microsoft Office programs opening in two or three seconds, doesn’t sound that amazing, but the SSD gives a snappiness that is both satisfying and confidence-inspiring. This is the way forward.