old hard drives slow

Solid State Drives and Why you Should Upgrade your Old Hard Drive

The SSD or Solid State Drive is a data storage device that uses NAND flash memory. This is a non-volatile, rewritable memory that can retain data even when power is turned off.

Hard disks and SSDs: what are the differences?

new generation of hard drivesUnlike hard disks, SSDs have no moving mechanical parts, making them not only more shock-resistant but also perfectly silent. Also, this technology shortens data access time (approximately 0.1 ms) for a read/write speed of up to 600 MB/s or 4 GB/s depending on the connection interface used (SATA III or PCI Express).

The power consumption is also lower than that of a hard disk: from 0.1 W to 0.9 W in standby and up to 0.9 W in operation against 0.5 W to 1.3 W in standby and from 2 W to 4 W in operation for a hard disk. SSDs are typically installed on very thin notebooks, ultrabooks or high-end models. It is also found on hybrid computers. In the latter case, the operating system is often loaded on the SSD while the data storage passes through a conventional hard disk (for example, Fusion Drive at Apple). This configuration increases start-up performance and responsiveness.

Variable life expectancy for SSDs.

SSDs for consumer use a NAND flash memory called “MLC” or Multi-Level Cell whose cells (transistors) can store two bits. This solution offers a low production cost but the increase in storage density results in shorter cell life and degradation of write performance. Now marginal and mainly used by some professionals, SSDs use NAND “SLC” or Single Level Cell, in which the cell stores only one bit. Its production cost is higher than the NAND MLC, but it guarantees better transfer speeds and longer life.

Since 2014, so-called 3D NAND memories have appeared. This process initiated by Toshiba consists in stacking up to 32 layers of cells to increase the storage density without having to reduce the size of the engravings. Three significant manufacturers develop this type of chip: Samsung, Intel-Micron, and Toshiba. The latter even goes as far as stacking 48 layers of cells.

Besides its still high price per Gigabyte compared to a mechanical hard disk, the main objection that can be made to the SSD is that the write-erase cycle of the data on the same cell is limited. It is estimated that it is about 100,000 cycles for NAND SLC and 10,000 cycles for NAND MLC. There is also a NAND “TLC” or Triple Level Cell that can store up to three bits per cell, but its life is even shorter (about 1,000 cycles per cell). However, progress is substantial, and the number of cycles continues to increase for MLC and TLC memories. Moreover, these figures do not mean much in concrete terms since an SSD disk will not decline rapidly even if some of the cells fail. The disk will lose capacity very slowly without losing data because it will be readjusted on functional cells.

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Google Chrome Browser: An incredible Worldwide Success

StatCounter’s latest figures have been released and confirm Google Chrome’s overwhelming dominance of the browser market. In Europe and in the US, Google’s browser has attracted nearly one in two users.

Chrome blasts the competition

Google Chrome continues to grab market share and StatCounter’s latest figures confirm the overwhelming dominance of Mountain View’s browser. Before looking at the figures, StatCounter believes that Google Chrome is the most widely used browser in the world since 2012, but the calculation methodology was challenged by Microsoft. For NetMarketShare, Chrome waited until 2016 to bring down Internet Explorer and grab the title of king of browsers.

Worldwide, Chrome’s market share is estimated at 53.72% for all platforms combined. More than one in two users worldwide use Google’s browser to visit their favourite sites. An impressive figure that puts Chrome far ahead of Safari (14.63%) and UC Browser (8.38%).

Mobile navigation shakes the hierarchy

Even if this ranking takes into account all platforms (PC, mobile, tablet), we note that the top 3 benefits mobile browsers. A logical trend since mobile navigation is taking over from desktop navigation. Google Chrome is widely used on Android while Safari has established itself as the reference browser on iOS. Less well known in Europe even if it is already installed on some machines, UC Browser takes advantage of its popularity in Asia to climb to third place and push Firefox to the podium (6.32%).

While IE (3.92%) and Opera (3.54%) continue to exist, the navigator Edge has great difficulty convincing with a market share of 1.71% in April.

Firefox barely convincing on mobile phones

The free browser Firefox had suffered from the emergence of Chrome but continues to cling to desktop. With a market share of 14.52%, Firefox is the second most popular browser on a computer. It ranks just behind Chrome (63.48%) and ahead of IE (9.02%). Unfortunately for the Mozilla Foundation, his browser is barely mobile. Firefox has never managed to make a place among mobile browsers and is not even listed by StatCounter.

 

Giant Leaps Taken by Microsoft with Xbox One X…Is it Worth the Price?

2017 saw the long-awaited release of Microsoft’s Xbox One X, and we’ve been diligently testing it out for this review.

Here’s what we loved: The graphics are insane. So impressive; these 4K visuals hit every mark and it made the gameplay even better. We also loved that this gaming machine made essentially no sound. There was no whirring and clicking as it turned on or shut down. No one likes to game when it sounds like your console is having a stroke. Oh, and the One X has a Blu-ray player which is the cherry on top.

What we didn’t love: The price. Maybe because it hasn’t been on the market all that long the price is still relatively exaggerated. However, it’ll likely go down in the following years.  The other thing we were actually shocked to discover was that the hard drive was only 1TB. Most games are over 100GB, so you’ll need an external hard drive.

Overall, the Xbox One X was fun to test out and we highly enjoyed playing on this console. Is it the best on the market? We don’t think so.

5 Best Apps You Can Get Right Now

2018 seems like it’s going to be the year of amazing apps, for both Apple and Android systems. From ridiculous games, picture filters, and all-around helpful apps, the amount of applications out there for you to choose from is immense. Through lots of trial and error, we’ve compiled a list of the coolest and most useful apps on the market right now to help you choose.

  1. Firefox Focus- It has the same searching power as the original Firefox, but with some really cool new features. For one, it doesn’t track your browsing history. There’s no need for “incognito” mode anymore because it simply won’t track anything you search. Then, it removes the ads from most web pages so that they load faster. It even manages to get around article limits and paywalls, so you can read as much as you want from each outlet. Plus, the design is super sleek and modern in appearance. Functionality plus aesthetic equals a great app in our book!
  2. Fitbit- You don’t need a separate attachment in the form of a watch to use Fitbit and enjoy its benefits. If you have an updated Smartphone, you’re good to go! Start tracking your activity, your sleep, and recording your diet. It’s the most precise and accurate fitness tracker on the market right now, helping millions to get healthy. Plus, it’s free.
  3. Bandcamp- The app version for this music promotion company is the leading music streaming service for people who want to know the next big act before anyone else. Bandcamp allows you to explore and stream music from unsigned, indie artists and bands, as well as popular mainstream music. It’s a place to listen to the songs you already know and love, as well as up and comers that might not show up in your other streaming service search engines. You can support them by streaming their songs and purchasing their merchandise (also through the app).
  4. Stitcher- If you’re a podcast listener, then you have probably already heard of Stitcher. It’s your one-stop shop for almost every podcast on the market. It’s completely free, and the selection is huge. The categories range from True Crime and Horror, Business, Politics, Comedy, and many more. There is something for everyone. They recently updated the appearance to be much more user-friendly and appealing to look at.
  5. Doodle- The answer to every work team that has ever been unable to agree on a date for a meeting. Doodle is a helpful scheduling app that allows you to input your schedule, as well as times you are free. The team leader can look at everyone’s schedules and choose an appropriate date and time. It’s proven to be incredibly user-friendly and easy to understand.

Finding apps that will entertain and help you succeed in life can be a challenge with all the options out there. We hope that our list can shed some light on apps you are missing and desperately need. Did we miss an app that deserves to be on this list? Let us know in the comments!

10 Must-Watch Shows on Netflix Right Now

Doesn’t it seem like Netflix keeps getting better and better every year? It’s amazing to think that it started as a movie-mail delivery service, and now it’s in almost every household that enjoys tv and movies! We love Netflix and wanted to share the top 10 must-watch shows of 2018:

  1. Arrested Development- Thank Netflix for keeping this epic comedy alive and thriving. It’s the perfect show to watch for a light laugh, and then re-watch later to laugh at all the new jokes you didn’t catch the first time.
  2. Black Mirror- Season 4 is out and it exceeded all the expectations, mostly because you never know what to expect with Black Mirror! Intelligently written, captivating, and disturbed. Plus it still centers on the technology theme which always keeps us coming back.
  3. Glow- From the creator of Orange is the New Black, Glow follows suit with witty, quick, and intelligent writing. Plus, it’s about a female wrestler in the ‘80s who wants to be famous, say no more.
  4. Stranger Things- Season 2 doesn’t come out until this fall, so now is the perfect time to hop on the bandwagon and catch up on season 1! Creepy, fun, and enchanting are the only words to describe this must-watch show.
  5. The People v. O.J. Simpson- This story took the world by storm on the 90s, and now a new generation can relive that anxiety/entertainment through Netflix. It’s from the same people who made American Horror Story, so you know it’s going to be intense.
  6. The Toys That Made Us- If you’re looking for a fascinating non-fiction to binge on a Sunday afternoon, this is it. Learn all about the history (and controversy) of your favorite childhood toys. The Barbie and G.I Joe episode was especially interesting.
  7. Jane the Virgin- An easy crowd-pleaser, Jane the Virgin is the perfect show for solid light-hearted laughs and heart-warming feels. You may not care enough to re-watch it, but the first time is more than enough.
  8. Big Mouth- There has never been a funnier cartoon on Netflix than Big Mouth. It’s all about a boy in the midst of puberty and the adventures that ensue. It’s a little awkward, to say the least.
  9. Riverdale- Season 2 is going strong and is loaded with suspense. While you could also call it a fluffy teenage show, we believe this show is excellent for comic-lovers and mockers It strays from the original Archie comics but includes lots of murder, mystery, and attractive people.
  10. Parenthood- If you’re looking for heart-warming family moments in addition to gut-wrenching drama, then Parenthood is for you. The first season gave you a chance to fall in love (and hate) with different characters, this season the drama picks up.

Netflix pulled out all the stops this year with enough killer shows to take you well into 2019. Did we miss any shows you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments!

Do you need Alexa?

With Amazon’s release of the second-generation of Echo, more and more households are being confronted with the age-old question: to buy or not to buy? It’s a simple question, long answer.

The hundreds of thousands of reviews of the Alexa and Echo system are mostly good, somewhat bad. For families that want to spend less time picking up their Smartphone for every simple task (like turning on music and seeing how long it’ll take to drive to a destination), Alexa has been incredibly useful. The possibilities of what she’ll be able to do in the future seem endless. However, there were thousands of reviews from people who didn’t find the setup of Alexa user-friendly, and it seems some models had glitches that caused Alexa to start talking without being given a command. Creepy.

If you’re considering jumping on the Alexa-bandwagon, we think it’s a really cool gadget that does a lot of really cool things. However, as newer models and editions come out over the years, you will spend a pretty penny to keep updating yours. If you’re okay with that, then take the plunge and buy an Alexa.