Despite the amount of technological barriers to overcome, leaps in reliability and battery life make them a better environmental option for computer storage, if only slightly. The question comes with the news that Dell is now offering the storage drives in their consumer level M1330 and M1530 laptops.
Solid-state drives (SSDs) are an alternative to plate-spinning hard disk drives (HDDs), the part of your computer you want to toss out the window after it crashes and you lose all your life’s work. SSDs, however, are more mechanically reliable because there are fewer moving parts. SSDs are also more energy efficient, typically adding 20 minutes more battery life to your laptop compared to HDDs. SSDs are generally speedier, though operating systems have yet to take full advantage of them.
SSD technology is still in its infancy and experiencing growing pains. Price is especially prohibitive. Dell’s new 128GB SSD upgrade will put you back $450, no small chunk of change by any measure. Capacity is another setback. Dell’s laptop HDD options max out at 320GB, while SSDs only go up to 128GB, which may not be enough for some users.
SSDs have yet to be touted as an environmentally friendly option, though companies are already marketing the performance, efficiency, and reliability aspects of SSDs. Companies often tout the environmental accolades of their energy efficiency products, Dell included. The energy efficiency of SSDs, though slight, could be marketable. Reliability is another overlooked environmental aspect. A hard drive that doesn’t have to be replaced as often means less resources are used, although saying SSDs are more environmentally friendly because they don’t crash as often as HDDs is a somewhat incriminating comparison.
While efficiency and reliability make SSDs a better environmental choice now, technological advances in capacity, performance, and efficiency, and a lower price tag will make them an even better choice in the future.