Second life: Revive your old workstation with SSDs


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With lower costs and higher capabilities, workstation-grade SSDs can significantly extend the useful life of old hardware

I've written on a number of occasions about the capabilities of enterprise-class SLC solid-state drives (SSDs) when leveraged in demanding primary storage environments. Their ability to both provide impressive sequential read/write performance and shoulder enormous OLTP loads has made them an almost indispensable component of high-end database and large VDI infrastructures.

However, to stop there ignores the enormous impact of consumer and workstation-grade MLC-based SSDs on the desktop market. The price of these devices has been falling consistently as their popularity has grown over the past few years (notwithstanding occasional spikes due to supply problems) and is poised to drop even further. Their low power requirements and ability to withstand vibration have made them a great choice for laptops, while their performance versus 5,400-rpm ATA disks has turned coveted sub-20-second POST-to-login boot times into a reality.

These lower-end SSDs have also found another interesting niche: in resurrecting older desktop/workstation hardware.

The project

Recently, I found myself contemplating a side project that would involve editing a sizable chunk of high-bit-rate 1080p/60 video. As an inveterate cheapskate, most of my workstation is a combination of recycled server hardware and older high-end rigs I was able to pick up at steep discounts, if I paid anything at all. As a consequence, none of the hardware I had was up for the task -- at least not without some help.

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