The sound of silence


The notebook I’m testing — a Dell Latitude D830 with a 64GB flash hard drive from Samsung — hasn’t emitted a sound in three days. Flash drives, which store data in NAND flash memory, don’t require motors or spinning platters. Thus, there are no whirring mechanical noises.

Compare that with my T42 ThinkPad. It sounds like a guinea pig got trapped inside, particularly during the start-up phase. Vzoooot. Cronk, cronk, cronk. Zip, zip. (Pause.) Gurlagurlagurla…zweeee.

The lack of a mechanical hard drive also means lower power consumption and less heat. In turn that means the fan rarely, if ever, needs to kick into action. As I type, for instance, the notebook is running eight video streams– two from CNN, two from CNET, two from MSN, a video on new bands on Crackle, and a pirated Led Zeppelin video on YouTube — and the fan won’t trip over. The computer is running on battery power and the videos, with a few minor gulps, are all running smoothly…

I know just what he means — I’m writing this on my little ASUS EeePC, which has no moving parts at all.