An Absolute Beginner, no practice, no experience, not even a regular cyclist! I must be crazy :)
Stephen Peel

Stephen Peel

Cycling Around the World

Solid State Drive (SSD) vs Hard Disk Drive (HDD) for Travel



On a cycle tour the laptop will be upside down, on its side, getting knocked around over bumps and on gravel tracks, so it needs to be fairly tough. No moving parts is the key here, and so I have opted for a Solids State Drive instead of a Hard Disk Drive.


I am going for a laptop with no moving parts. This has to be the way to go, although and SSD drive laptop will up the price quite a bit if I want at least 512gb. I have no idea how data is recovered if the SSD drive goes down, but when I had problems with HDD drives not working, I took them to the shop and the data was usually rescued.


I wondered why SSD's were so expensive, especially considering flash drives and SD Cards are so cheap these days, but on further investigation, it appears the memory used in SSD’s is much different to that of flash and SD Cards, and is said to be much faster and more reliable, and so more expensive.


Speed is important, not just for editing, but for making use of every available second of battery life. Given that it maybe some time between charges while travelling, a super fast boot up, fast file transfers, and programs opening is important. HDD scatters files all over the place, but no such thing with SSD.


Before the cycle tour


So I made a purchase, and my new Dell has 256 SSD, which is fine, as I will transfer photos and video to an external SSD instead of just leaving it on the computer. 


I am so impressed with the speed of the laptop with the help of SSD. Just a few seconds from turning the laptop on to everything ready. Opening programs like Word and Excel is almost instant. I'm looking forward to editing on it. 


It has 8 hours battery life too, which might not sound massive, but you have to remember there is no lag, it is so fast so no waiting around. I can get work done quicker and shut it down. The i7, 16gb ram, and dedicated graphics card make a whole world of difference too.


After 3 months on tour


Its been great, still working, although I did notice from time to time a flickering on of the screen. This will no doubt be the laptop itself and not the SSD. It has really taken some hard knocks. Being able to just switch it on and off almost instantly then putting it sideways in the pannier bags, then dragging it over the roughest terrain on some of Spain's nastiest camino trails, and it worked every time. I would never have got away with that with a standard HDD.