I want to talk about the decision to change from a standard SATA Hard Disk Drive (HDD) to a more expensive Solid State Drive (SSD) and my experience from a few month long debate that raged in my head. My profession comes from a background of doing social research in order to draw conclusions to help people make well-informed decisions that will result in some benefit. I state this so you can understand my reasoning in the following. Bear with me, I do tend to get abstract when writing for pleasure. If you are considering a SSD, you are probably a computer person or you at least know more than the average user. I fall into the latter category of having used computers most of my life, knowing the means of using them, how they actually work, and basic to intermediate troubleshooting. I will stop here and say that even if you dont know a lot about computers, you should at least consider a SSD. If you are reading this now, you are probably aware of the fundamental difference of the SSD versus the HDD, which is the SSD has no moving parts (resulting in different a operating mechanism). Following the law of physics and the law of how things break, if there are no parts to move, then there are no (realistically fewer) parts to break. The SSD is without a doubt more reliable than the HDD and lacks the infamous click of death altogether. Statistically speaking, you are far less likely to be left with a catastrophic hard drive failure with most SSDs versus most consumer HDDs. I started thinking about a new type of hard drive for myself after Google published a large-scale study on thousands of consumer SATA HDD systems. Without having to know too much about hard drive specifics, one thing is apparent and very consistent and that is: THEY BREAK. They break with alarming frequency and indeed you have probably at least once experienced the click of death. Well crap, you just lost everything; hope you had it backed up. Time Machine is a fantastic back-up method but you still have the issue of 1) the information lost since the last backup and 2) the downtown following your hard drive on your main computer breaking. I dont like the thought of either of those as my Mac Book Pro is my means to making a living and if I miss deadlines due to catastrophic hard drive failure, well that can equate to catastrophic career failure. You may at first say that my attachment to my data makes me the exception, but I think I am actually the majority here. Think about how much information is on your computer and how your life would be impacted without it; how bad would the stress be? Students, whom are constantly referred to by magazine writers as people not benefitting from a SSD, may not be pleased when they try to tell their instructor that their hard drives head crashed and therefore they cannot submit their term paper. How much money would a failing grade equate to? What if this meant loss of a scholarship or the privilege of attending a higher education institution? Music is really expensive and for those from the previous eras, you know how much friggin time it takes to transfer CDs, tapes, and vinyl and how annoying it can be. Pictures can say a thousand words and are often a primary family keepsake. Some documents have changed history as we know it. My point here is that the information we store on computers we take for granted and many people overlook the importance of reliability and the consequences of lacking it. Most people have information on a computer that they want to protect. Unfortunately, it seems most consumers are poorly educated on the topic and do not know that other options to the standard HDD exist. If you dont think catastrophic drive failure drives average user insane, stand around the Best Buy Geek Squad stand for a little while and listen to how the people (who come in because their hard drive died) act; they go nuts! I want to point out something. Most computer users know that you should frequently back your data up, but how many of these users actually follow through and do this frequently? Even I am guilty as a few nights ago I had been on my computer for the past 24 hours working on my dissertation and only backed it up at the end of the work session. While purchasing a HDD may be cheaper initially, many manufacturers warranties do not cover hard drive failure. Even if they do, they do not cover data recovery costs, which can get very expensive, and they rarely cover the labor of replacing the drive (which is sometimes required to maintain other warranties). A few surveys have indicated that hard drive failure is also one of the top reasons American consumers purchase new computer systems altogether. Perhaps the HDD isnt as cheap as most people imply? Let me get back to my main point here; a HDD is essentially a ticking time bomb. Eventually, and often during the life of the computer, they will fail. Catastrophic HDD failure is a reality no matter what the brand is; obviously some tend to fail more frequently but guessing when a magnetic drive will fail is like predicting the weather. Google's report, with a large sample size and (supposedly) unbiased reporting, shows increasingly higher fail rates of consumer grade drives beginning as early as their second year of operation (mind you a substantial amount also fail as early as the first few months). It also shows that while SMART helps predict drive failure, it is nowhere close to being the solution it was intended to be. The two factors that prevent people from going to a SSD that are commonly presented are: 1) cost and 2) storage space (or lack of). A third factor, however, I propose is the biggest reason and that is education. It does not seem to be public knowledge as to what a SSD even is, let alone why you would want to spend more money for less space. Upon being presented the facts, which show superior performance and reliability, consumers have the ability to opt to purchase this performance and reliability. We constantly purchase goods of higher quality at a higher cost of the same goods made to a lower quality standard. With a (good) SSD, you get: -Faster loading times -Much faster data transfer -Much less affected by shock, noise, vibration, temp and altitude -Lighter -No noise -No fragmentation -Not affected by magnets -Far less power consumption -Consistent read performance -Consistent write performance When was the last time you saw ANY of those stats displayed at a store? The SSDs are in boxes with nothing to differentiate them from HDDs except a massive price tag. Think about how many signs and advertisements you have seen for Blu-Ray. So with the information I gathered, I decided to get an aftermarket SSD (as opposed to getting a newer 13in MBP which I would have if they went to the i5 processor). A lot of the critically acclaimed SSD brands got mixed reviews from actual users, which made me unsure where to go. Intel is really the standard of the SSD but they are not by any means the fastest nor the least expensive. There are numerous good brands on the market but I have to discuss the one which, when judged by both formal tests and user reviews, stands above the others and that is the Other World Computing Mercury Extreme Pro SSD. It stands above the others because 1) its write speed blows away other SSDs, 2) it is the only SSD with sustained read and write speeds of over 260MB/s, 3) it is OWC which by name says its quality is second to none and its design will theoretically make it last longer than other SSDs (which is already long by default), 4) it comes with the best service, support, and warranty in the business, and 5) it is moderately priced for a SSD of its capacity (and includes a kit to make your existing hard drive into an external USB drive). I purchased the 120 gig which is actually 128 gigs with 8 gigs already occupied for wear-leveling and what not. Performance in my 5,5 MacBook Pro (2.53 Core 2 Duo w/ 4GB RAM) is stupidly faster than the 250GB Fujitsu HDD it came with. When I say stupidly I mean for the first day you will sit their, stutter and wonder why you didnt buy this earlier. Im not one to drop computers but it is nice to know I have the added protection from shock as it is a reality being of constantly moving the computer. So overall, I think the SSD is a great way to improve reliability of computers as the SSD eliminates the one single part most likely to break. The speed gain is nice too as are all the other features. I think everyone will gain from a SSD. Once put into perspective, spending an additional $125-$500 (depending on brand and size) on a SSD is less expensive than getting a cheaper HDD. In the long run, a SSD eliminates many problems that are normal in HDDs and it is very possible that a more reliable and faster SSD could extend the amount of time you keep your existing computer. So I say give it some thought and go for it most of you already have but I enjoy writing and wanted to throw this out and hear what others have to say.