Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Toys for Xmas

I've listed some "must have" goodies for the geeks among us for 2013. Probably, most of you have these goodies already, but in case you don't, it may be a good idea to put on your Xmas list.

* USB3 & USB3 & more USB3
If you're planning to buy a new PC or laptop or anything else with USB ports, please make sure you have at least 1 or 2 USB3 ports. While USB3 was released in November 2008 already, we now start to see more units with USB3 ports/support. USB3 is much faster than USB1 or USB2 and they are still backwards compatible with older USB ports. Basically, it's almost 10 times faster than USB2. If you want to buy a flash drive, get a USB3 flash drive. It's still more expensive than USB2, but it's really worth the price (which will drop soon anyway). Ofcourse, you gain most from this if you connect from a USB3 port. Most (if not all) new units are supported/have USB3 ports now anyway, so this is one of the reasons why you should stop buying USB2 flash drives or anything else USB2-ish :D
* Replace old drives with an SSD (Solid State Drive).
Many of you probably have old PCs/laptops and you want to give it some boost/power. Adding RAM is a good option, but you may want to consider to replace your HDD with an SSD. Solid State Drives are faster than conventional spinning drives because they have no moving parts. The storage on an SSD is handled by flash memory chips. Advantages are less power usage, higher reliability and faster access to your data. They are also less resistant to shocks and vibration.
In general, when you install an SSD, the first immediate benefits are faster application load time and faster boot time. SSDs aren't cheap, but really worth the price. Disadvantage is, you have less data storage than a conventional HDD (comparison size/price with HDD), but if storage isn't a real problem for you - then you really might want to consider an SSD. After all, you can still combine it with an internal or external HDD to store your data. SSDs have dropped in price to the point where it's affordable to replace your laptop or PC HDD. Normally, a 128GB SSD should suffice your storage needs (just compare with the current storage you need/have) - but a 256GB SSD is even better. You can have larger SSDs as well ofcourse. You can read more about SSDs here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_drive and here: http://lifehacker.com/5932009/the-complete-guide-to-solid+state-drives
You can also easily migrate your Windows installation from an HDD to an SSD without losing any data or reinstalling Windows. There are a lot of tutorials on the net for that.But I personally prefer to start from scratch to avoid any issues. In either way, there's a good tutorial here: http://lifehacker.com/5837543/how-to-migrate-to-a-solid+state-drive-without-reinstalling-windows
* Get a docking station for your SATA drives with USB support
This is really a MUST HAVE! I am sure many of you have come in situations where your HDD wouldn't boot, or you want to mount a drive that has failed.
For many (inluding me), it's a hassle to mess around with adding the drive as a slave to your PC in order to get access to the data and transfer/alter/delete. This is exactly one of the reasons why I bought this. Just slide in your SATA hard drive, connect via USB to your PC/Laptop and power on in order to see it as an external drive. You have them in all types and flavours - support for 2,5" drives AND/OR 3,5" drives, SSD, dual docking SATA station (for quick/easy cloning)... Ofcourse, I also recommend to get one with USB3 ports/support.
If you have any other MUST-HAVE! for Xmas, please let me know - I still haven't decided yet what to get (I have above already) :)
images courtesy of http://blog.laptopmag.com, http://www.sharkoon.com, http://www.datapro.net