Help Me Choose: Primary Storage

Primary storage is where the operating system, software applications, files and data are stored on a PC. In the past, primary storage used to be offered only in the form of hard drives. However, Dell now offers solid-state disk drives (or SSD) on most Dell™ Latitude and all Dell Precision mobile systems. The following factors should be taken into account when deciding what type of storage option will best meet your needs.

Primary Storage Decision Factors

1. Performance. System performance and boot time are influenced by the type of storage you select.
  • Solid-State Drives: SSDs have no moving parts, so their speed is not measured in revolutions per minute (rpm). SSDs provide the best overall level of storage performance. The latest generations of SSDs have end-user performance improvements on Windows 7 of up to 16 percent over a standard 7200 rpm hard disk drive*
  • Hard Disk Drives: For magnetic hard drives, the speed of the drive, measured in rpm, indicates the performance of the drive. Generally speaking, a higher rpm means higher performance

2. Durability.
SSDs, with no moving parts, have the highest durability with up to 15 times more shock and impact resistance than standard hard drives*. Hard disk drives (HDDs) have moving parts, which makes them more vulnerable to certain impacts, vibrations and other movements that can lead to drive failure and potential data loss. SSDs, shock-mounted hard drives and free-fall sensor drives can all help reduce the risk of failure.

3. Data Security. Data loss is always a concern. Sensitive data such as customer information, financial records and medical history can be better protected by encryption. Dell recommends using a hardware-based encryption solution, such as a self-encrypting disk (SED) hard drive, to avoid a negative impact on the performance of your system. Dell offers “FIPS Certified” SED, which meets the security requirements of the U.S. Government's Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 Level 2 Certification, for robust data security.

If you want Dell's...Choose...
Increased drive durabilityDell Mobility Solid State Drive or 7200 rpm drive with free fall sensor
Best system performanceDell Mobility Solid State Drive
Strongest data securityDell FIPS-certified encrypted 7200 rpm HDD
Maximum storage capacity7200 rpm standard hard drive

Types of Primary Storage on Dell Precision

Dell offers the following types of storage products on its laptops and mobile workstations:

Solid-State Drives (SSDs) — are the latest revolution in notebook storage. Dell SSDs provide exceptional system performance, up to 16 percent greater than 7200 rpm drives*, and added durability* and reliability unmatched by standard hard drives. SSDs are virtually silent and give out less heat helping create a better experience for the mobile user.

mSATA (mini card) SSDs — are the latest form factor for notebook SSDs. The Dell Precision mSATA SSDs offer the user the ability to add an additional boot drive to their system. This mSATA SSD is intended to be the boot drive, providing the customer all of the benefits of SSD technology, including fast boot times, fast read/write times and incredible shock resistance. The extra benefit is that you can use the remaining storage drive for large capacity data storage. One super fast SSD boot drive + a large capacity storage drive = the best of both speed and capacity.

Self-Encrypted (SED) Drives — keep your data safe by using powerful, hardware-based encryption without a negative impact on performance. With SEDs, the hardware-based encryption engine is built directly into the drive controller, delivering always-on encryption that operates at the full speed of the hard drive helping you maintain security without significant performance degradation.

7200 rpm Disk Drives — Dell Precision mobile systems offer a full range of 7200 rpm HDDs, including an FIPS-certified encrypted HDD. Dell’s fast response free fall sensor technology can sense if a system is falling and “park” the heads in a safe position to help protect the drive from failure and potential data loss. By having this technology in the system, these Dell drives can detect and react quickly to protect your data.

Traditional hard drives have highly sophisticated head, platter and motor technology, which is sensitive to shock, vibration and thermals and can make the drives susceptible to failure or damage from bumps and drops that can occur with a mobile device.

Solid-state drives (SSDs) have no moving parts, which reduces the potential for damage or failure and provides the peace of mind that your data is protected. SSDs are the most durable, reliable choice for storage. For mobile users, the potential benefits are significant:

  • Up to 16 percent improved system performance over 7200 rpm hard drives*
  • Protection from bumps and drops, with 15 times the shock tolerance over standard notebook hard disk drives (HDDs)*
  • Less downtime with up to double the predicted reliability of standard notebook HDDs*
  • Virtually silent
  • Lightweight and cooler than standard hard drives

Dell provides two lines of SSDs in its business-class laptops and mobile workstations: the Mobility SSD and the Encrypted Mobility SSD.

Mobility SSD is for customers who want the peace of mind that comes from having a highly reliable, durable storage system with extreme performance. The Mobility SSD is Dell’s highest performing notebook HDD, outperforming the previous generation of Dell Ultra Performance SSD*.

Encrypted Mobility SSD
is for customers who want the security and manageability that comes with factory-installed Self Encrypting Disk (SED) Encryption as well as having a highly reliable, durable storage system with extreme performance. A complete data protection solution requires more than just encryption; authentication, access control and recovery are all required elements. Wave EMBASSY® Trusted Drive Manager, or equivalent management application, bundled with every Encrypted Mobility SSD, provides these essential capabilities and more. For installations of 50 or more Encrypted Mobility SSDs, Dell recommends a remote management solution such as the Wave EMBASSY Remote Administration Server (ERAS) sold separately, which provides centralized user and credential management and robust compliance reporting.