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Why is SSD better for Data Backup?

Why is SSD better for Data Backup?

Why is SSD better for Data Backup?

If you need speedy local storage for lots of files (say, music or movies you carry around, or all those pics and videos you collect on your phone or camera), you may want to consider a portable solid-state drive (SSD) rather than a portable hard drive.
Once prohibitively expensive, SSDs of all stripes have been falling in price over the past few years, and external SSDs have emerged as alternatives to external hard drives, delivering as much as five times the speed and much greater durability. They have no metal platters to spin up, nor any read/write heads that need to travel to a specific point on a platter to find the file you need. And because of their lack of moving parts, portable SSDs are usually more compact, slimmer, and better suited to frequent travel and accidental drops than even the most thoroughly ruggedized hard drives.
best-ssd-external-storage-drive-for-data-backup
Unlike a hard drive, which stores data on spinning platters accessed by a moving magnetic head, a solid-state drive uses a collection of “persistent” flash memory cells to save data. These are similar to the silicon that makes up a computer’s RAM, but they retain your data when electrical power is cut off.
Since hard drives are mechanical devices that use mature technology, you can get relatively huge amounts of storage capacity for the money. But the same tech that makes hard drives a tantalizing value becomes their biggest liability when used on the go. If you drop the drive, you could damage the interior mechanism and make your data inaccessible. By contrast, if you jolt an SSD while you’re reading or writing data, there is no risk that your files will become corrupted and unreadable.
And, again, hard drives are slower because they have to physically access your data. Just how much faster is it to read data from flash cells than from particular points on spinning platters? Typical throughput for consumer hard drives is in the range of 100MBps to 200MBps. (One factor is spin rate—among external drives, 5,400rpm units are more common and more affordable than 7,200rpm.)
best-ssd-external-storage-drive-for-data-backup
External solid-state drives are, essentially, internal SSDs (the same kind that power laptops or live inside desktops) with an outer shell. As a result, external drives use one of two internal “bus types” that, in part, dictate their peak speed: Serial ATA (SATA), or PCI Express (PCIe). The latter is usually associated these days with Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe), a protocol that is optimized for the characteristics of SSDs and speeds up data transfers.
SATA-based drives tend to be a little cheaper; they’re also slower, but just fine for most users’ everyday applications. SATA-based SSDs typically top out at around 500MBps for peak read and write speeds, just a bit below the ceiling of the USB 3.0 interface. (Much more about that in a moment.) However, if you’re going to be transferring large files such as videos often, you may well want to spring for a PCIe/NVMe-based external SSD. That also ties in with the port you’ll plug your SSD into.

Sellers of portable SSDs don’t always indicate if the drive is SATA- or PCIe-based. However, checking the specs can be a giveaway. If the drive tops out at sequential read and write speeds between 400MBps and 550MBps, it’s very likely SATA-based. Speeds of 800MBps or higher indicate a PCIe-based drive.

Here are three key things to look out for when shopping for an external SSD:

COST PER GIGABYTE. The way to calculate relative value on drives like these is to perform some simple math and figure the cost per gigabyte based on the price of a given drive on the day you’re shopping. Because SSD pricing fluctuates all the time, relative value does, too.

RUGGEDIZATION. The degree of ruggedness does vary from drive to drive, with drives like the ADATA SE800 leading the field at the moment among mainstream-price external SSDs. IP68 certification is a good spec to look for if you’re serious about waterproof and dustproof drives.

CARRY WEIGHT. Most SSDs weigh a negligible couple of ounces. I like the carabiner retention loop of SanDisk’s Extreme family of drives, as many of these drives are small and light enough that losing them is an easy and expensive mistake.

If none of the drives we’ve selected for this roundup sounds appealing to you (or you already own an internal SSD that’s hanging around the house or office), there’s one more option available: SSD enclosures. These are plastic or metal housings into which you can put your own SATA 2.5-inch or M.2 solid-state drive to take with you on the go.

Enclosures come in 2.5-inch form factors (into which you would put a 2.5-inch SATA SSD) or M.2 ones. The stick-style M.2 SSD is much smaller and lighter, but know that M.2 drives themselves come in both SATA and PCIe bus flavors. You need to be sure your enclosure supports the kind of M.2 drive you’re putting in it.

Though there are exceptions, most enclosures are not as durable or rugged as major-maker portable SSDs are. This can be a drawback for those who take their SSDs into dangerous environments (think wildlife photographers or first responders), so be sure that before you go this route, you know what your drive will be exposed to. Your data could be at greater risk for corruption than it would be in an SSD purpose-built to withstand the elements.

Source: pcmag.com

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Who invented the hard drive?

Who invented the hard drive?

Who invented the hard drive?

Like many innovations in 20th-century computing, hard drives were invented at IBM as a way to give computers a rapidly accessible “random-access” memory. The trouble with other computer memory devices, like punched cards and reels of magnetic tape, is that they can only be accessed serially (in order, from beginning to end), so if the bit of data you want to retrieve is somewhere in the middle of your tape, you have to read or scan through the entire thing, fairly slowly, to find the thing you want. Everything is much faster with a hard drive, which can move its read-write head very quickly from one part of the disk to another; any part of the disk can be accessed as easily as any other part. The first hard drive was developed by IBM’s Reynold B. Johnson and announced on September 4, 1956 as the IBM 350 Disk Storage Unit.

IBM engineers also pioneered floppy disks, which were removable magnetic disks packed in robust plastic cases (originally 20cm or 8in in diameter and wrapped in flexible plastic sleeves; later 133mm or 5.25in in diameter and packed in tough plastic cases). Developed by IBM’s Warren Dalziel in 1967 and first sold in 1971, they became hugely popular in microcomputers (the forerunners of PCs) in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but are now obsolete. With a storage capacity of only 1.44MB, they’ve been completely superseded by USB flash “drives” that offer hundreds or thousands of times more memory in a tiny plastic stick a fraction the size.

Artwork: The original hard drive. IBM engineers developed this groundbreaking magnetic memory (which, in IBM-speak, was called the DASD, pronounced “das-dee”), through a process of continuous improvement from the early 1950s onward and were awarded their final patent on the design in 1970. You can see that the basic read-write mechanism is exactly the same as in today’s drives: there are multiple platters (light blue) made up of individual sectors (dark blue) that can be written to or read from by multiple read-write heads (red) mounted on the ends of sliding actuators (orange). The platters are spun by a pulley and motor (green), while the actuators are driven by gears and a motor (yellow). The main difference between this drive and a modern one is the amazing amount of intricate machinery this one contained (which you can read all about in the original patent). From US Patent 3,503,060: Direct access magnetic disc storage device by William Goddard and John Lynott, IBM Corporation, March 24, 1970, courtesy of US Patent and Trademark Office, with colors added for clarity.

ibm-dasd-hard-drive-patent

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What Is USB-C?

What Is USB-C?

What Is USB-C?

USB is an industry-standard connector for transmitting both data and power on a single cable. The USB-C connector looks similar to a micro-USB connector at first glance, though it’s closer to oval in shape and slightly thicker to accommodate its best feature: flippability.

Like Apple’s Lightning ports, the USB-C connector has no up or down orientation. Line up the connector properly, and you never have to flip it over to plug it in; the “right way” is always up. The standard cables also have the same connector on both ends, so you don’t have to figure out which end goes where.

USB-C Connector Port

The USB-C connector was developed by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the group of companies that has developed, certified, and shepherded the USB standard over the years. The USB-IF counts more than 700 companies in its membership, among them Apple, Dell, HP, Intel, Microsoft, and Samsung. As a result, many new devices in a huge variety of tech categories come with USB-C ports. Hard drives, smartphones, and smart home devices all use USB-C for charging batteries, transferring data, or both.

Thanks both to wide adoption and an impressive range of capabilities, USB-C is quickly becoming a single port to rule them all. The oval-shaped port and associated connectors can transmit data at speeds up to 20Gbps (the exact speed ceiling depends on the specific USB SuperSpeed rating of the port) and deliver close to 100 watts of power to charge a device’s battery. In some cases, it can also transmit DisplayPort audio and video signals, letting you connect your device to an external monitor or TV. (The specific USB-C port in question needs to support DisplayPort over USB.)
Not every device with a USB-C port can do all of these things, of course. A USB hard drive can’t output a video signal. It simply uses USB-C for a bit of power and sending or receiving data, while an Apple iPad uses USB-C to charge its battery, sync with your PC or Mac, and output video. One port, lots of implementations and uses.

Source: PCMag

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What Are The Best Gaming Laptops?

What Are The Best Gaming Laptops?

What Are The Best Gaming Laptops?

Playing your favorite PC games with the detail levels and resolution maxed out doesn’t mean you have to buy a big desktop rig—today’s best gaming laptops pack some serious power.

If you’re shopping for a gaming system on a limited budget (in this case, between roughly $700 and $1,200), you’re going to need to make some sacrifices. Maximizing power while staying within a limited price range is the goal, but you’ll have to accept that some of the components won’t be comparable with the more expensive laptops you’ll see while browsing. That said, $1,200 is a reasonable ceiling for what some buyers are ready to spend on a gaming laptop, and you can still get a solid system for that much or less.

 

Here are the top picks by PCMag.com:

THE BEST FOR HARDCORE GAMERS SEEKING THE BEST VALUE IN TOP POWER TIER
Alienware m15 R3 at Dell.com

THE BEST FOR BANG-FOR-YOUR-BUCK SHOPPERS, FREQUENT TRAVELERS
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 at BestBuy.com

THE BEST FOR GAMERS SEEKING THE TOP VALUE AT 15 INCHES
Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020) at Amazon.com

THE BEST FOR GAMERS AND CREATORS SEEKING A GREAT 17-INCH SCREEN
Gigabyte Aero 17 HDR XA at BestBuy.com

THE BEST FOR BUDGET-CONSCIOUS GAMERS
MSI Bravo 15 at Amazon.com

THE BEST FOR HARDCORE GAMERS SEEKING AN EXTREME-REFRESH PANEL
Acer Predator Triton 500 (2020) at Newegg.com

THE BEST FOR ENTHUSIAST EARLY ADOPTERS WITH DEEP POCKETS
Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 (GX550) at Adorama.com

THE BEST FOR MAX PORTABILITY AT 15 INCHES
Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition (2020) at Amazon.com

THE BEST FOR GAMERS SEEKING A SUPER-PORTABLE LAPTOP
Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2020) at BestBuy.com

Source: PCMag

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Which Chromebook Should I Buy?

Which Chromebook Should I Buy?

Which Chromebook Should I Buy?

Whether you’re a Facebook addict or you just need a machine for checking email and working in Google apps, Chromebooks are easy to use, convenient to take on the go, and inexpensive. If you think a Chrome OS laptop is right for you, check out the reviews below for the top-rated Chromebooks that PCMag.com has tested.

THE BEST FOR WORD PROCESSING
Acer Chromebook Spin 713 at BestBuy.com

THE BEST FOR STUDENTS
Asus Chromebook C523 at BestBuy.com

THE BEST FOR BUSINESS USERS RELIANT ON G-SUITE APPS
Acer Chromebook 714 at Acer.com

THE BEST FOR AROUND-THE-HOUSE STREAMING
HP Chromebook 15 (2019) at HP.com

THE BEST FOR SECURE ENTERPRISE DEPLOYMENTS
Dell Latitude 5300 2-in-1 Chromebook Enterprise at Dell.com

THE BEST FOR FREQUENT TRAVELERS
Google Pixelbook Go at BestBuy.com

THE BEST FOR SEEKERS OF AN ELEGANT, INEXPENSIVE BUDGET 2-IN-1
HP Chromebook x360 12b at HP.com

Source: PCMag

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5 Inexpensive Video Conferencing Lighting Solutions

5 Inexpensive Video Conferencing Lighting Solutions

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5 Inexpensive Video Conferencing Lighting Solutions
Video conferencing has surged in usage since the outbreak of COVID-19. As organizations around the world quickly implemented work-from-home policies to slow the spread of the virus, video conference calls became the ultimate solution to connect the remote workforce. Conference calls have now become so commonplace that many employees who historically never participated in video meetings are now experts at hosting, joining and collaborating with colleagues virtually. However, there is one aspect of video calls that is still often overlooked — lighting quality.
We’ve all been on calls where some participants are hard to see because of poor lighting. Often, they are backlit, giving a silhouette effect; otherwise, they may have harsh shadows on one side of their face, have too much light resulting in a blown-out look or be barely lit at all. Regardless, lousy lighting that interferes with participants’ clearly seeing one another is, at best, a distraction and, at worst, detrimental to the entire experience. That’s why it’s essential to have proper lighting in place before the start of your call, especially if you’re meeting with key stakeholders, leading a team meeting or hosting a company-wide event or a customer-facing webinar.
How To Figure Out in Windows 10 How Much Space Apps Are Taking Up?

When looking for lighting solutions for video conferencing, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

1. Dimmable lights: This will allow you to control the brightness of the light to avoid blinding light shining directly into your eyes.

2. Color temperature control: Having the option to control the color temperature will help you have true-to-life video lighting.

3. Adjustable positioning: To avoid harsh shadows, you need to have the light centered right above your camera or have two similar lights on each side of your camera to balance out the lighting on your face.

1. Lighting solution under $70

The Lume Cube Video Conference Lighting Kit costs $69.95 and comes with a small LED light panel with an attachable silicone diffuser, a USB cable for charging the built-in battery as well as a suction cup mount to attach the light to the back of your laptop, monitor or smart device. You can adjust the brightness and color temperature of the light with a dial on the side of the panel. A small LCD screen on the back of the panel displays the battery life, brightness level and color temperature.

Lume Cube Video Conference Lighting Kit
Neewer Portable LED Lighting Kit

2. Lighting solution under $50

The Neewer Portable LED Lighting Kit costs $47.99 and comes with two small light panels and adjustable tabletop tripods. Ideally, you would adjust the height of the lights to be about eye level and put them on each side of your computer or video conferencing camera. You can power the lights by plugging them into your computer’s USB drive or directly into the wall. Adjust the brightness with a switch on the cord of each light.

3. Lighting solution under $40

The TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp costs $39.99 and plugs directly into the wall. It has a built-in USB port if you want to use the lamp to charge your phone or other electronics. Adjust the color temperature and brightness levels by swiping left and right on the base. The lamp is exceptionally adjustable; you can tilt the head up 135 degrees and swivel 90 degrees, and the base tilts down to 150 degrees and swivels 45 degrees. You can easily center the light above your laptop camera and tilt the light toward your face to be well-illuminated during a video call. When you’re not using the light for a conference call, it can function as a stylish desk lamp.

TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp
Neewer Portable LED Lighting Kit

4. Lighting solution under $20

The UBeesize Duo Ring Light costs $16.99 and comes with two small ring lights attached to a single base. A lot of Youtubers and social media influencers use ring lights because they provide soft, warm and even lighting. You can clamp the lights to the back of your desk and adjust the long, flexible arms to find the right lighting balance. Your computer’s USB drive powers the lights, and you can control both the brightness and color temperature with a single switch on the cord. In case you need to host a conference call from your smart device, it also has a place to hold a phone.

5. Lighting solution under $15

The Whellen Selfie Ring Light costs $12.99 and is powered by AAA batteries. The small light clamps directly onto your computer or smart device. A hole at the bottom of the light lets your camera shoot through the ring light. It has a single button to control the on/off function and brightness levels.

Whellen Selfie Ring Light

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