Information Technology Reference
In-Depth Information
Optical storage for Macs is a thing of the past. Although
a few Mac models still ship with built-in SuperDrives (and you
can buy external SuperDrives separately for those that don't),
the current iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro with
Retina Display have no optical drives. I'd be surprised if any Mac
ships with a SuperDrive a year from now.
Solid state is becoming standard. Hard drives with spinning
platters won't disappear any time soon, but ultra-fast solid-state
drives (SSDs) are now standard on most Mac models, and can
optionally be installed in any Mac. SSDs are desirable for
performance and reliability, but surprisingly they may decrease
your need for backup media, because the average SSD has much
smaller capacity than the average hard disk. Likewise, USB flash
drives are getting physically smaller yet more capacious and
cheaper—though still nowhere close to the price-per-gigabyte ratio
of hard drives. Also, more new Mac models have built-in SD card
readers, and although this format is most commonly used for digital
cameras, their rising capacities and falling costs may make SD
cards worth considering as backup destinations—eventually; see
Hardware You (Probably) Shouldn't Consider and Why .
RAID and RAID-like tech is becoming more common.
In the past, an external drive was just that—a single mechanism
in a case with a power supply and logic board. But enclosures
that hold multiple drives are now everywhere, with a variety
of RAID schemes and proprietary mechanisms to create various
combinations of speed, safety, and capacity (see RAIDs and RAID-
like Tech and Drobo Storage Devices ). Sometimes the individual
mechanisms are user-swappable, sometimes not, but one way or
another it's increasingly easy to find a box that has enough storage
capacity to meet almost any need.
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