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Music Servers - Using a Solid-State Drive

written by: Daniel Barros•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/30/2011

We take a look at the ramifications of using a solid-state drive as a media server's main hard disk, read on to see which SSDs are best.

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    SSD 101

    Once you have your music server up and running, you may be wondering how to make that server better, faster, and smaller. The answer is a solid-state drive and an ITX motherboard that will allow the music server to be almost invisible and work without needing costly fans or the like. Then again, what are the best media solid-state drives? Let’s take a look at two of them.

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    The Intel X25-M

    Price: $269.00

    The Intel X25-M is a marvel of engineering, the product itself is small, solid-state, and contains 80 Gb of data storage. While the internal storage is undoubtedly sufficient enough for a music server, if you’re hoping to use it for anything other than your lossless audio files, you’ll be out of luck.

    After all, 80 Gb seems like a good size drive, but it’s not nearly enough when a single 720p movie can set you back nearly 8 precious gigabytes. Music storage usually won’t take 80 Gb, but depending on the size of your collection, this might also not be enough, yet 80 Gb solid-states already cost a fortune compared to their hard-drive counterparts, but if you’re looking for the cream of the crop, the Intel drive is definitely the one to look for.

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    The Transcend TS32GSSD25-M

    Price: $125

    The Transcend drive is much more “affordable” than the Intel Drive, but I do use the word extraordinarily loosely. $125 for a 32 Gb Hard Drive is the equivalent of paying $35 for a monster cable when any regular $5 cable will do. 32 Gb is enough for a regular Mp3 collection, as opposed to a lossless one.

    Other than that, only quality and data storage size separate the Intel and Transcend Drives. With a 32 Gb drive, audio quality becomes an issue, but at the same time, are you willing to part with $269 of your hard-earned cash for an 80 Gb SSD?

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    The Bottom Line

    Unless you’re hell-bent on putting an SSD in your media server rig, there’s no good reason to use the SSDs instead of the traditional hard drive. A 1 Tb hard drive will set you back about $80 on a good day, and that’s more than 10 times the storage of the Intel X25-M for much less than half the price. My advice? Skip the “futuristic” technology until it gets a whole lot cheaper.