Solid State Drive Buyer's Guide

Solid But Simple

There are almost as many kinds of consumers as there are consumers. You want your burger your way, even if it’s vegetarian. The span of interests and technical knowledge levels of Tom’s Guide readers run the gamut from neophyte school kids to six-figure IT nerds. We appreciate and welcome them all. That said, we know that the center of the Tom’s Guide bell curve lands on people with a strong interest in gadgets backed by a moderate technical grasp. They’re the people who are more likely to use gear than build it from scratch.

For this reason, we tend to tread lightly around articles that deal with components and component performance. That’s the domain of our sister site, Tom’s Hardware, where you can find enough component benchmark data to fill a mainframe. Still, we understand that solid state drives (SSDs) are a very hot technology right now, especially now that drive prices are coming down into sub-$200 levels. People buying new PCs--notebooks and netbooks included--are now weighing SSDs against hard disk drives (HDDs), and some are looking at upgrading existing systems for SSD’s several benefits. The same exact SSDs can be installed in either laptops or desktop computers.

Many mainstream readers want a mainstream understanding of these products without a lot of the technical baggage that typically comes along for the ride. That’s why we’re embarking on a series of three SSD articles to be published before the end of 2009, starting with this buyer’s guide. If all you know about SSD technology is that it’s supposed to be faster and better than magnetic hard drive technology, then that’s where we’ll start—at the beginning. By the time we finish, you should be able to graduate into more technical SSD articles or at least feel a lot more confident about approaching your SSD purchasing decision.

William Van Winkle is a freelance editor and tech journalist who has been writing for more than 20 years. His work has appeared on Tom's Guide, Tom's Hardware, Tom's IT Pro, AMD, Seagate, Computer Shopper, and more. He is also an author, writing poetry, short stories, and science fiction and fantasy books.