Check out the health status and temperature of your HDD/SSD

CrystalDiskInfo-enStorage. Your computer lives off of it. Room for your operating system. Room for your data. Room for temporary and work files. Without enough storage, you won’t be able to run your computer the way you want. In order to keep your hard drive in working order, you need the right monitoring utilities. CrystalDiskInfo is a hard drive monitoring utility for Windows that gives you this awesome capability.

CrystalDiskInfo displays basic HDD information, monitors S.M.A.R.T. values, and disk temperature. When monitored drives start to fall out of acceptable ranges or values, the app can send you alerts via email. You can then come back to the monitored computer and check its status.

In order to help you monitor its stats, the app offers a variety of tools and monitors including rotation speeds, temperature settings and S.M.A.R.T information. You can also monitor and control AAM/APM settings.

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Conclusion: CrystalDiskInfo is a decent application…if you’re hardware savvy. If you don’t know a lot about hardware or if you don’t know what you should do with drives that are developing issues, having the app on your home PC isn’t going to do you a lot of good. The app is really meant for computers and drives that are on more than they’re off. In other words, if you have computers in a data center or other always on situation, CrystalDiskInfo is the kind of application you’re going to need in order to make sure mission critical applications stay up and running.

Having an app like this in a consumer setting or on your home network isn’t going to help you too much if you’re PC isn’t on more than off. Most consumers won’t know what do to with the issues and values they encounter, so the information is really just a lot of noise for someone who doesn’t understand hardware.

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The Storage Problem with Surface Pro

When 53% to 64% of your device’s storage is consumed before you turn the device on, something is wrong…

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Over the past few years, we’ve got from gigabytes of desktop and notebook storage to terabytes. Shortly after the 2TB and 3TB hard drive hit, SSD’s started to become popular and come down in price. We still don’t have a 1TB SSD available yet; and even if it were available, it likely wouldn’t be available at an affordable price.

With the growing popularity of Cloud Storage – things like Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive – the growing thought is that the need for a great deal of off line storage is declining.  This is a very progressive point of view, and one that is still gaining acceptance.  One of the prerequisites for moving the masses to the Cloud is readily accessible, solid and reliable internet access. Without it, the Cloud Storage Model doesn’t work…but that’s another topic for another day.

It is related, however, because there are a number of newer PC’s or computing devices that are being introduced that seem to either fully embrace or lean towards embracing the Cloud Storage Model. Microsoft’s Surface Pro is one such device, and it’s a bit problematic if you ask me, especially when 53% to 64% of Surface Pro’s storage is given over to system related, preinstalled software.

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This is the crux of the issue – nearly all the storage on Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablets is consumed before the user takes the device out of the box. ZDNet’s Ed Bott argues that this isn’t an issue, as some of the space is reclaimable by the end user and there’s always the Cloud.

ZDNet’s Robin Harris comes closer to hitting the issue on the head but still misses the mark.  His point is that Surface Pro doesn’t know what it wants to be – an ultrabook or a tablet. While he’s right about that, I disagree that the storage requirements on a Windows machine – tablet or ultrabook classifications are irrelevant – differ. Any computing device that runs legacy (read traditional) Windows software is going to need storage space for it to live in. It doesn’t matter if Microsoft created a new classification of computing device or if it will be successful or not.  The fact that users have to go through some kind of storage cleansing activity in order to get some decent, available, non-SD card type storage is silly.

The fact that you can double your storage space for $100 bucks is also a bit whacked. I mean, who isn’t going to spend $999 for the 128GB version? When you’ve already committed to buy Surface Pro, spending $899 for 1/2 the storage is ludicrous.

If Microsoft lowers the price of the 64GB versions – which is unlikely, by the way – then I might pick one up, but at this point, I likely won’t bother, which is a shame.  The tablets could have been so much more at a more reasonable price point.

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Manage and maintain your drive’s partitions with Aomei Partition Assistant

The price of SSD’s is coming down. At about $1.00 per gigabyte, putting an SSD in your notebook PC is becoming more and more realistic. Upgrading from smaller SSD’s to larger, faster SSD’s isn’t as financially painful as it used to be. The problem, though is finding a decent drive migration and management tool. This is one of the biggest reasons why I like Aomei Partition Assistant Home Edition. It’s a partition and drive management tool for Windows.

AOMEI Partition Assistant Home Edition is a completely free partition manager. It carries out hard disk and partition management, advanced system optimization and easy copy and partition recovery to keep your computer running. The app works in both 32bit & 64bit versions of Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows 2000 Professional. It has the ability to resize and move partitions, migrate an OS to either an SSD or hard drive, to merge or split partitions, to allocate free space, to copy partitions, to copy a disk and to recover a partition on MBR and GPT formatted disks. The app also includes the ability to create a bootable CD to ensure data and system safety. As an added bonus, it includes a free, portable partition manager portable. With it, you can copy the installation directory of AOMEI Partition Assistant Home Edition to any device, including a USB flash drive, a portable hard drive, etc.

Read full review | Download Aomei Partition Assistant

 

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Keep your hard disk in tip-top shape with O&O Defrag

Keeping your spinning media running at peak performance isn’t always as easy as it might sound. Yes, Microsoft has included Defrag in Windows since Windows 95; but the application is basic, and does only the bare minimum in keeping your hard drive running well. This is why I like O&O Defrag. It’s one of the best Windows hard drive defrag utilities on the market today.

O&O Defrag helps you maximum the performance on your PC. If you work on your computer a lot, then after a while, you’re going to notice slow system and program starts, endless rendering and memory processes, or even system crashes. The first thing most people will recommend you do is to try optimizing or defragging your hard drive.

The benefits are well documented. Defragmenting your PC can accelerate the speed your runs and responds to disk activity requests. In the latest version of O&O Defrag, you can now see what the program does for your system thanks to its graphics and statistics displays. They give you a before-and-after Defrag contrast on your hard drives usage as well as file fragmentation status.

Aside from the basic PC performance features you get, O&O Defrag offers some really nice advanced features. The application adapts itself to your PC usage patterns and system loads with Activity Guard. It’s only going to run when you need it to, based on historic use; and won’t get in the way of your computing activities. Best of all, it works on both conventional, spinning media hard drives as well new SSD, without damaging these new solid state storage devices.

Download O&O Defrag

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Gather information and tune your hard drive to function at peak performance with HD Tune

Your hard drive is the life blood of your computer. When it goes bad, the whole thing goes down. Keeping it healthy can be an involved and painful process without the right tools. HD Tune is the right tool for that job.

HD Tune works with all kinds of drives, internal or external, spinning media or SSD, USB sticks, etc. With it, you get a complete picture of how your PC’s hard drive is performing, and can even check its S.M.A.R.T. status as well as perform various maintenance activities on it.

Read the full review | Download HD Tune

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Paragon Hard Disk Manager 2011 Suite

Prepare to test the latest version of Paragon’s Hard Disk Manager. One of the most comprehensive hard drive tool has reached version 11 and Paragon brings new additions and improvements to the suite.

With Hard Disk Manager 2011 Suite you can move any Windows OS since XP from a regular hard disk to a fast SSD (Solid State Drive) even of a smaller capacity, thanks to advanced data exclusion capabilities. You can also convert basic MBR to basic GPT disks which means that you can use now the full capacity of a new 3TB drive into Windows XP.

Hard Disk Manager 2011 Suite can also backup and restore any of your drives through differential, incremental, or complementary methods. It comes also with a data consistency checkup and a file system optimization including support for Microsoft’s exFAT file system.

download Paragon Hard Disk Manager 2011 Demo

 

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Mach Xtreme unveils 1.8” micro-SATA MX-MDS Series SSD

Mach Xtreme Technology Inc. unveiled the 1.8”micro-SATA MX-MDS Series SSD. Based on the best-in-class SandForce SF1222 controller, the 1.8” MX-MDS Series delivers an enhanced mobile computing experience with much faster application loading, ultra-fast data access, shorter boot-ups, and longer battery life of all laptops with micro-SATA interface.

This series maintains the highest level of read and write performance though the life of the SSD. Highly intelligent block management and wear leveling optimizes longevity of MX-MDS series drives. The MDS series supports DuraClass, DuraWrite and unique RAISE technologies. DuraClass technology provides best-in-class endurance, performance, and low power. DuraWrite technology extends the endurance of MLC memory providing at least 5 year lifecycles with 3-5K cycle MLC flash. RAISE provides the protection and reliability of RAID on a single drive without the significant write overhead.

The MX-MDS drive delivers best-in-class read and write speeds clocking in at up to 285 MB/s read and 275 MB/s write along with the stunning maximum of 30,000 IOPS and low power consumption (stand-by 0.5W / active up to 2.0W) and superior durability (1.5 million MTBF) compared to rotating hard disk drives.

Available in capacities of 40GB, 60GB and 90GB, Mach Xtreme Technology MX-MDS SSDs comes backed with 2 Year Warranty and outstanding after-sales service.

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Intel intros third-generation SSD – Intel Solid-State Drive 320 Series

Intel Corporation announced today its highly anticipated third-generation solid-state drive (SSD) the Intel Solid-State Drive 320 Series (Intel SSD 320 Series). Based on its industry-leading 25-nanometer (nm) NAND flash memory, the Intel SSD 320 replaces and builds on its high-performing Intel X25-M SATA SSD. Delivering more performance and uniquely architected reliability features, the new Intel SSD 320 offers new higher capacity models, while taking advantage of cost benefits from its 25nm process with an up to 30 percent price reduction over its current generation.

The Intel SSD 320 is the next generation of Intel’s client product line for use on desktop and notebook PCs. It is targeted for mainstream consumers, corporate IT or PC enthusiasts who would like a substantial performance boost over conventional mechanical hard disk drives (HDDs). An SSD is more rugged, uses less power and reduces the HDD bottleneck to speed PC processes such as boot up and the opening of files and favorite applications. In fact, an upgrade from an HDD to an Intel SSD can give users one of the single-best performance boosts, providing an up to 66 percent gain in overall system responsiveness.

The Intel SSD 320 Series comes in 40 gigabyte (GB), 80GB, 120GB, 160GB and new higher capacity 300GB and 600GB versions. It uses the 3 gigabit-per-second (3gbps) SATA II interface to support an SSD upgrade for the more than 1 billion SATA II PCs installed throughout the world. Continuing to offer high-performing random read and write speeds, which most affect a user’s daily computing experience, the Intel SSD 320 produces up to 39,500 input/output operations per second (IOPS) random reads and 23,000 IOPS random writes on its highest-capacity drives. In addition, the company has more than doubled sequential write speeds from its second generation to 220 megabytes-per-second (MB/s) sequential writes and still maintains one of the highest read throughputs at up to 270 MB/s sequential reads. This greatly improves a user’s multitasking capabilities. For example, a user can easily play background music or download a video, while working on a document with no perceivable slow down.

Intel SSD 320 prices, based on 1,000-unit quantities, are as follows: 40GB at $89; 80GB at $159; 120GB at $209; 160GB at $289; 300GB at $529 and 600GB at $1,069.

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