The 100 GB drive on my laptop is getting crowded. (Time to wax unnostalgic for when a 5 MB hard drive for a PC cost $2000.) I have already moved as much stuff off this drive to external disks as I can, but the problem is that when your hard drive gets below 20% free, virtual memory starts getting problematic, as it becomes harder and harder to find a contiguous block of disk space. Yes, you can solve this problem -- temporarily -- by defragging your hard disk. But when disk space is tight, this solution does not last long. (I think at one time Windows would actually block this part of the disk from being allocated, but apparently not under XP.)
My thought is to get a hard disk that will take me years (or one feature length film's development) to fill. I was looking at 500 GB and 750 GB hard drives for my notebook -- and these are dirt cheap. But then I noticed this hybrid SSD/hard disk drive. It looks like a hard drive with an extraordinarily large cache, optimized to learn which tracks will be used repeatedly, instead of the traditional caching approach. Supposedly boot time is much enhanced, and according to comments that I have read elsewhere, over a period of several days, it learns which tracks to keep in solid state memory. I would assume that the tracks allocated to virtual memory would just scream compared to a traditional disk drive.
Any experience with these? Is there any hazard to defragging one of these drives?
UPDATE: I confess, the temptation to go to a real SSD drive is strong. Here's a 256 GB SSD drive for $217 that should be a real screamer on both read and write. Of course, if I go to the 750 GB drive, I can allocate a bunch of disk space to a dedicated virtual memory block (yes, according to the comments, XP does support that). But a 256 GB drive would be 150% gain on what I have now. I rather doubt that this will be a problem in the time that I am likely to keep this notebook.
And here's a 500 GB Hybrid SSD (4 GB cache) for $49.95! That's still 500% more space than I have now, at what a price! I don't know what speed my current drive is, but I would not be surprised if it is only 5400 rpm; this is 7200 rpm. Hmmm. I wonder what it will be on Black Friday?
UPDATE 2: I called Staples, because they quoted $39.95 to install a drive, but that is apparently not for laptops, and does not include data transfer. That turns out to be $49.95 for the install and $69.95 to transfer it over. Suddenly, it is getting more attractive to do this myself.