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Power And Destruction!

Q&A: Tom's Hardware And Kingston On SSD Technology

TC: We should mention power consumption versus HDD.

LK: That's true. SSD power consumption is great in a client workload, but we can all agree that the big battery suck on a notebook is not the drive. It's the screen, CPU, and GPU. So an SSD might get you a little more battery life—I think I once measured about 20 more minutes on a 3-hour Dell—but it's really a server thing. There, it's like night and day. If you compare a typical 15K SAS drive to one of our SSDs, at active load you're looking at not even a watt. That SAS drive will pull 10 watts. It's about watts per IOPS. How much work can we get done with one SSD versus you having to stripe 50 or 60 15K SAS drives. So the power consumption to do actual work just mushrooms beyond belief. SSDs run cooler, so you don't have to spend as much on temperature controls, and they just consume a lot less power. On the server side, it's a very big deal. We have a lot of customers that are power-constrained. They just can't pull any more out of the wall or off the grid. So this is a way for us to help with that problem. They can stay within their power budget and still get all the work they need done.

TH: Last thing: I’ve always wondered about these G-shock ratings on SSDs. 1500 Gs? Seriously? That’s like a 27-floor drop. I have a feeling that if I drop a drive from the 26th floor, it’s not going to matter if the NAND chips survive because the casing will be in about 400 pieces. And how do you simulate that—with a baseball bat? Do you run over it with your SUV?

LK: [laughing] Have you seen our video?

TH: Video?

LK: That's why we were laughing. We actually did hit it with a baseball bat. It was pitched to me, and I hit it, and the drive still worked. We ran over it with a car and it still worked. We actually took a blowtorch to it and it still worked.

TH: Shut up!

LK: That’s why I can't believe you said that. Yeah, we even hit it with a golf club. That didn’t work. We hit it hard enough that the NAND actually decoupled from the PCB. It was flying around all over the place. We made SSD bits with that one. Anyway, we subjected them to some pretty good stuff.

TH: So an SSD will withstand a base hit but not solid nine iron.

LK: When I hit it with a driver, I basically tore off the casing. It split in two, literarily sheered in the middle. So how much force is that? I assume the golf club made contact at approximately 100 miles an hour, and we could probably measure how heavy the driver was. Dropping it off a building? Well, we're probably up a good three stories here, so tossing it off of that just didn’t seem that dramatic. We’ve done it, sure. Multiple drops, actually. But why do the obvious when SSD can do so much more?

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