Monday, December 12, 2011

Hard Disk Drive Shortages Effecting Intel's Fourth Quarter 2011

Intel announced today that it expects fourth quarter revenue to be below expectations due to hard disk drive shortages due to the Thailand floods this past fall.  Intel also stated world PC supply chain is reducing inventories and microprocessor purchases as a result of HDD shortages.  Inventories for HDD's are expected to recover in the first half of 2012.  The HDD shortages has effected the prices of drives, computers, workstations and servers because of the strained inventories.  Approximately forty-five percent or more of the HDD's are manufactured in Thailand.  Analysts predict that hard drive shortages could pull PC production down as much as 10 percent through the first quarter of 2012.  Ordering a computer or server with a 2TB drive could add 2-4 weeks for delivery.  All this news may be great news for the solid state drives.  This may have those considering a solid state drive, to buy one.  See my previous post for more information on SSD versus HDD.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

SSD versus HDD

Solid State Drives Versus Hard Disk Drives

If you are considering whether to buy a solid state or hard disk drive and deciding whether the solid state drive is worth the money.  SSD drives are faster in reading and in writing, in most cases.  Solid-state drive technology also known as Flash technology, eliminates the rotational delay of a spinning platter and of waiting for an arm to move to the correct position.  In essence, SSD drives have no moving parts, unlike the HDD drives. 

At present day prices, a standard 3 ½” HDD drive costs about .20 - .30 cents per gigabyte, standard 2 ½” HDD is about .26 - .35 cents per gigabyte, SSD drive will run you 1.50 and up per gigabyte.  Prices and availability on drives and some other computer components have been fluctuating and have caused strained inventories due to the floods in Thailand where approximately 45% of the drives are manufactured. 

You may choose capacity over speed but a lot depends on how you expect to use your computer.  As processors and memory continue to increase in speed, the gap between memory and HDD speed incessantly widens. With an irresistible cost per GB, HDD will continue to be a key storage technology for years to come.  You may consider a higher end HDD with 10,000 RPM performance.   If the computer’s main purpose is for office type functions such as word or excel, etc. or will you be downloading videos, using multiple applications at the same time or are a serious gamer.  Why have a multi-core processor, with a drive that struggles to do more than one task at a time?  It’s a conundrum.  Then you may want or need the performance of a SSD drive.  Tests show the SSD drives 100X better data read and write, 5 to 50X better in shock resistance and rugged, long-life endurance plus most have a 5 year warranty.  Solid-state drives boast a cost/performance that can’t be beat. SSD can slash I/O-bound batch windows by up to 50%, while also improving response time and throughput. Specializing in high I/O performance, SSD has the upper hand in cost/IOPS.

It’s expected that SSD and HDD drive prices will decrease over the next few years but at the same rate.  So the price difference between these drives will remain roughly as it is today according to most experts.  Your choice boils down to performance and long-life endurance needs versus capacity and price. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Amazon's Kindle Fire & Acer's Iconia A100 Tablets

Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Acer’s Iconia A100 Tablets, two very fine Android tablets at a third to half the price of other tablets.  Consider the comparisons below.
Amazon Kindle Fire with  a customized user friendly version of Android OS a first rate tablet for half the price.  What’s not to love about the Amazon Kindle. Two distinct features not included are the bluetooth and camera features.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire 7” color Android tablet Suggested Retail: $199.
Amazon’s first color tablet
7k + apps available
At the start-up of the Kindle Fire, tips on how to navigate the interface, tap on categories for different content.  Categories: Newsstand, Books, Music, Video, Docs, Apps, Web. Your favorites bar at the bottom of screen.  (No camera or bluetooth features.)   

Technical Details

7" multi-touch display with IPS (in-plane switching) technology and anti-reflective treatment, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, 16 million colors.
Size (in inches)
7.5" x 4.7" x 0.45" (190 mm x 120 mm x 11.4 mm).
14.6 ounces (413 grams).
System Requirements
None, because it's wireless and doesn't require a computer.
On-device Storage
8GB internal (approximately 6GB available for user content). That's enough for 80 apps, plus 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books.
Cloud Storage
Free cloud storage for all Amazon content
Battery Life
Up to 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as web browsing and downloading content.
Charge Time
Fully charges in approximately 4 hours via included U.S. power adapter. Also supports charging from your computer via USB.
Wi-Fi Connectivity
Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, or enterprise networks with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication; does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks.
USB Port
USB 2.0 (micro-B connector)
3.5 mm stereo audio jack, top-mounted stereo speakers.
Content Formats Supported
Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8.
Quick Start Guide (included in box); Kindle Fire User's Guide (pre-installed on device). Additional information available online.
Warranty and Service
1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 2-year Extended Warranty available for U.S. customers sold separately. Use of Kindle is subject to the terms found here.
Included in the Box
Kindle Fire device, U.S. power adapter (supports 100-240V), and Quick Start Guide.

Acer Iconia Tab A100 Tablet is also a very fine highly recommended Tablet.  It works well with Android apps and has great multimedia features.  Iconia Tab A100 Tablet is very reasonably priced.  MSRP $329.  The short battery life is a drawback. 

Detailed Features
Android 3.2 Honeycomb
The Acer Iconia Tab A100 is equipped with Android 3.2 Honeycomb, the latest Android operating system with a super-smart screen scaling compatibility mode. You can access thousands of apps from the Android Market, and enjoy them in perfect resolution on the tablet’s 7" screen.
Plan out your day
Just a quick glance at Acer Day Planner, it’s all you need to check what’s next in your agenda, your mails, the latest news and what’s the weather like. Now you can review that presentation that just arrived by email. With Documents to go® viewing and editing Office documents it’s a breeze. With everything under control, you can just relax with a book or a magazine. On the Acer Iconia Tab A100 Tablet you can download and carry all the books and magazines you want and flip pages like on real ones!
Entertainment champion
Gaming, social networks or multimedia? The Acer Iconia Tab A100 Tablet is up for anything. The combination of NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 dual-core CPU, multi-touch screen, Micro HDMI port, ultra-sensitive gyro meter control and a simply stunning Dolby Mobile sound guarantees an entertainment experience like no other!
Stay in Touch
The ultra-compact Acer Iconia Tab A100, combining long battery life and instant access to the web, provides an amazing on-the-go experience that lasts all day. So you’ll have all the time you need for on-the-spot video conferences or chats with your friends or business partners with the 2MP front camera. What’s more you can take photos and record 720p videos with the 5MP auto-focus camera, and share your best shots and videos instantly with your friends online through your social networks.

Side by side comparison

Technical Details
Amazon Kindle Fire
Acer Iconia A100
7" multi-touch 1024X600 display
7" multi-touch 1024X600 display
Size (in inches)
7.5" x 4.7" x 0.45"
9.2" x 5.8" x 2.8"
14.6 ounces
14.46 ounces
On-device Storage
8GB internal
8GB internal
Battery Life
Up to 8 hrs.
almost 4 hrs.
Yes 802.11b/g/n/No
Yes 802.11b/g/n/Yes
USB Port
Micro USB
Micro USB
3.5 mm stereo audio jack,
Audio jack and speakers

top-mnted stereo speakers

Memory Card Reader
Yes, micro
5MP Back, 2MP Front
Android 3.2 Honeycomb

Both the Amazon and Acer tablets are very fine contenders in the tablet market.  There are sure to be Black Friday Specials.  Check back here for updates.

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