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SSD Vs HDD - Evaluating premises of most popular storage solutions

The demand for storage has grown in the past few decades. And this demand has led to enhancement of storage capacity, performance, and resilience. We have moved from primitive Punch Cards to new cloud-based storage solutions.

Today, Solid State Drives & Hard Disk Drives are among the popular storage devices used. The SSD drives find its use in enterprise-level storage devices. The SSD drives provide the necessary boost in systems performance. HDD drives have become smarter, quicker and more consistent today than ever before.

SSDs have several characteristics that make them workable substitutes. But they are far from perfect to be the replacement of a traditional rotating hard drive. The SSD drive has no moving parts. It uses flash memory to store data which provides improved performance & reliability. The HDD has moving parts and magnetic platters, meaning the more use they get, the faster they wear down and fail.

The HDD's are standard for desktop and laptop, where we don't need to worry about running out of space. SSD's are robust & they offer performance over capacity.

Hard drives have been around since 1953, IBM engineers created it, but it was available in the year 1957. World's first HDD was produced by IBM and was named “IBM 305 RAMAC computer". The RAMAC computer was of 3.75 megabytes and now HDD manufacturers are churning out 14 TB HDD. (Helium-filled HDD).

SSD's have been around 1976 and the first SSD produced was "The Bulk Core." The first SSD drive came with the controller board and 256 KB storage. SSD technology like HDD technology has gone a sea change, and companies are now on the verge of creating 16 TB SSD.

Our ever-growing demand for data storage has a lead path to improved storage capacity. But, the main apprehension for a user should be to question the longevity of these devices. We are aware these devices do not have a prolonged lifespan. What happens if these storage devices do not work all sudden? What if data is inaccessible?

Before choosing SSD or HDD as your preferred choice of storage. Let's get into the fundamental difference between the two.

What is SSD?

A SSD stores data on flash memory chips that can keep data without the presence of power supply. The SSD does not have a moving part making it more durable.

Advantages of SSD

  • Uses less power compared to HDD.
  • The boot time is approx. 10 sec.
  • Fragmentation of drive is not necessary to store data.
  • Since it does not have moving parts; it does not make noise or vibration.
  • The Solid state drive supports Disk encryption.
  • It's fast, and the files open much faster in SSD than in HDD.
  • SSD has overcome the physical limitation of HDD.

Disadvantages of SSD

  • SSD is expensive.
  • High-speed transistors cause the heat in SSD.
  • SSD's are not readily available in the market.
  • SSD's data recovery is costly & complex.
  • The top available storage unit for SSD is lesser than an average HDD drive.

What is HDD?

HDD is still the most popular storage devices for the majority of users. They offer enormous storage capacity & are inexpensive. They have a longer lifespan and higher volume storage at a lower price.

Advantages of HDD

  • It's readily available in the market.
  • HDD is an economical option for users.
  • It Supports Disk encryption.
  • HDD technology has been around for more than five decades. A lot of advance tool & techniques are available today in the market.
  • Data recovery is less complicated, and retrieval of data is possible even from complicated data loss situation. For hard drives even in case of data loss, a pointer to data is removed, and data remains intact unless overwritten
  • HDD offers enormous storage capacity; the largest one is 10 TB.

Disadvantages of HDD

  • Because of read/write mechanical arms, it takes time to access the data.
  • The hard drives consume more power to function than SSD drive.
  • HDD uses fragmentation technique to store data, i.e., data is stored in pieces of files that are not put together. To access any file, the HDD scans all the files to get the necessary information. Thus using more seek time.
  • Makes noises & vibrates when in use, whereas SSD's are quite as a mouse.
  • File opening & boot time speed is more as compared to SSD.
Hard Drive Internal Parts
SSD Internal Parts

SSD vs HDD Comparison - Which one to choose?

A user can choose to go for SSD or HDD according to his/her preferences. Those who are looking for top performance can go for SSD & those who want higher storage can opt for HDD. Both the storage media devices have their own merits & demerits.

Key Parameters HDD SSD
Access Time Has access time of 5.5 ~8.0 ms Has Access time of 0.1ms
Random I/O Performance Reach up to 400 io/s Delivers 6000 io/s
Reliability Failure Rate 2~5 % Failure Rate 0.5%
Energy Savings Consumes between 6 & 15 watts Consumes between 2 & 5 Watts
CPU Power Average I/O wait is 7% Has average wait time of 1 %
Input / Output Request Times Average time is 400 ~ 500 ms Average Service time 20 ms
Backup Rates 20~24 hours SSD backups 6 hour

SSD vs. HDD Storage Capacity

The hard disk drives have an advantage of offering massive terabyte worth of storage. In comparison, SSD is expensive, and the cost increases with the increase of per GB/TB. Any base model of HDD is 500 GB capacity whereas for SSD base model is 128 GB. To Hard drive offers infinite possibility magnetic storage on disk. Storage capacity is an essential criterion to consider when opting to buy a HDD. But, not to overlook the other factors like speed, durability, etc. of the drive.

When talking about storage size, the hard drives have an advantage and will have so for a long time. If you want to save/store data for a more extended period or have huge files/folder, HDD is the way forward. It is one area where the hard drives still hold sway.

SSD vs. HDD Speed

HDD Speed:

The speed at which the HDD spins or the platter spins to determine the read/write times. The hard drive consists of a round plate coated with a layer of magnetic material. The data is stored in this magnetic thin film. The disk spins and a magnetic head is used to read & write data. The information is stored/sorted sequentially; the data will be read faster by the Hard Drive. When the data piles on, HDD writes the data across multiple sections. This process is referred to as "fragmenting" making read time little longer than required. Following are some HDD drives known for their speed.

HDD HDD Interface HDD speed/RPM
Seagate BarraCuda SATA 6Gbps 7,200
Toshiba X300 SATA 6Gbps 7,200
WD VelociRaptor SATA 6Gbps 10,000
WD Blue Desktop SATA 6Gbps 54,00
Seagate Firecuda Desktop SATA 6Gbps 7,200

SSD Speed:

SSD's have no such fragmentation, files are written sporadically across the cells. Making simultaneous access to every cell which means data are read at faster speeds. This speed has its demerits as it can cause SSD drive to wear out with time. SSD's are prone to failure, although they are more durable than the hard drives. The moving mechanisms of an HDD make it susceptible to wear & tear. Any powerful impact will jeopardise the accessibility of HDD data.

The SSD drives have no moving parts thus making it a potential device for long-term storage. These storage media drives can survive the torment that we endure our portable storage devices. SSD have outpaced the HDD regarding read and write speeds. Following are some SSD drives known for their Speeds.

SSD SSD Interface SSD Speed
Samsung 850 Pro SATA III 6 Gbps 560MB/s read (256GB)
550MB/s write (256GB)
Crucial MX500 SATA III 6 Gbps 560MB/s read
510MB/s write
SanDisk Extreme Pro SATA III 6 Gbps 550MB/s read
520MB/s write
Transcend SSD370 SATA III 6 Gbps 560MB/s read (256GB)
460MB/s write (512GB)
SanDisk Extreme II SATA III 6 Gbps 550MB/s read
510MB/s write
SSD Vs HDD Comparision
Various SSD shapes in comparison with constant HDD shape

SSD vs HDD Form Factor

The hard drives due to its working mechanism are available is 2.5 or 3.5-inch disk. The SSDs are available in different shapes & sizes. A hard drive has a limited size and for SSD which is a collection of memory chips. The constraints are less stringent about size.

SSD vs HDD Cost

The solid-state drives are expensive, which we have mentioned time again and again. An SSD user would be shelling out more money for 2 TB capacity drive as compared to a hard drive user. If you are building a system for speed or portability in mind, then SSD is the best solution for you.

SSD vs HDD Reliability

HDD Reliability:

HDD remains by far the most reliable storage device. The hard drives nowhere match the performance of solid state drives. But do the same job of storing the data at an economical price. Over the years with improvements in the HDD technology, their failure rate has gone down exceptionally.

It's important to remember for any storage media device to function correctly. The user needs to ensure proper environment and working conditions.

SSD Reliability:

It's a general conception that HDD has an infinite read/write span. As the fact, HDD's do not damage their storage space while writing or erasing. For SSD drives, the NAND flash degrades itself after many erasing/writing. We cannot assume HDD is more reliable than SDD drive. Working mechanism is different, and they both fail in a different manner.

Users should note that for SSD's temperature range is smaller than hard drives. To maintain longevity and reliability, SSD should be operated in a controlled environment.

SSD has a limited number of read & write cycles, and it can last an extremely long time under regular use. For example, you have an SSD drive with a limit of 700 TB; we assume you can write 20 GB to 40 GB of data in a day. If you have to reach a limit of 700 TB, one has to write 40 GB data every day for another 50 years. However, this does not mean you can misuse the SSD drive or SSD will not fail because of other errors.

SSD vs HDD Lifespan

HDD Lifespan:

HDD have moving parts that make them susceptible to physical damage. The modern drives incorporate shock-proofing technology "drop" sensors that protect the head & media. The hard drives have an endurance level of 5-6 years, depending upon the usage and wear and tear.

SSD Lifespan:

The SSD does not have moving parts, the use of flash media drives in a host of potential issues. People assume data stored in these drives will last forever, which is untrue. Data stored on a hard drive will degrade and so will the data on SSD drive, but at a faster speed. As in SSD the NAND flash stores data as electrical charges, this charges leaks away. Factors such as temperature & humidity have an impact on these drives. Humidity leads to oxidisation of metals inside the drives. Laptop & desktop users don't need to worry about the lifespan on the drive. It's the portable drives need to be taken care off.

The SSD lifespan or reliability depends on the factors like age and the total terabytes of data written over the time. SSD lifespan is limited to its read-write cycle which is defined by it the capacity. TBW which estimate the lifespan of an SDD. In a typical environment, the SSD's are expected to have a longer lifespan as compared to hard drives.

The SSD's are the future of storage devices, although, on the expensive side. They are much more reliable in a real-time environment. Watching movies or opening files does not affect the lifespan of SDD. But it depends on how many times the SSD is used for writing the data. The lifespan of SSD drive is limited by wear on the drive and its ability to store data. New researches have enabled the SSD drives to have a long lifespan. Experts believe the SSD drives will last longer than hard drives.

Class 100 Clean Room

Data Loss & Data Recovery

Data loss is common for both SSD and HDD. Hard drives primary reason for data loss is due to physical failures, normal wear & tear. SSD drives although not having a mechanical part is less prone to physical failure. Its read/write cycle has an impact on the creation of bad sectors which is a significant reason for data loss is SSD drive.

Data recovery for SSD and HDD is possible. However, the level of complexity differs.

HDD Data Recovery

The usage of magnetic recording to store data is what makes HDD different from SSD. For hard drives more or less the make is similar and recovery is not a complicated process. But for SSD data recovery is complex. The SSD's are more durable and less prone to mechanical failure. They are still susceptible to firmware corruption, electrical damage or controller failure. Hard drives on the other exhibit signs of failure, like the constant crashing of the system, clicking sound or taking time to access file & folders.

Hard drive recovery is less intricate. HDD was the primary storage device for users for many years. Various research & advancements have done to improve the quality, failure rates, etc.

SSD Data Recovery

SSDs don't provide indications, such as abnormal noises, that they are close to failure. It just doesn't boot. Flash also fails in a cascading manner. Both hard drives and SSDs can have bad sectors that lead to data loss. But for the latter, it takes an only a small percentage to make the drive inaccessible. SSD recovery is expensive as compared to hard drive recovery. The use of controller technology in SSD drives makes SSD data recovery complicated.

SSD's lose data on a higher rate in comparison to HDDs. SSD's over the period develop bad sectors which causes them to lose data stored on them. This makes SSD recovery little complicated if not reported timely. We strongly recommend users to take regular back up system if using SSD drives.

SSD Data Recovery Cost

SSD recovery is more complicated than HDD recovery. A SSD drive does not have mechanical parts like hard disk drives. But they have a plethora of technical challenges that are unique to SSD drives. For example, if the SSD controller is broken, the access to SSD and the data stored is inaccessible.

The architecture inside a high-performance SSD is more complicated than most RAID systems. The algorithms mapping the logical addresses to physical media locations vary from the make & model of SSD. There is no shortage of recovery options available in the market today.

Users need to check the need for data recovery & then select the right data recovery services. Stellar has mastered SSD recovery and can boast of successfully restoring data from SSD drives. To know more about SSD data recovery cost, click here.

Our recovery specialist can perform SSD recovery from all SSD make & models like

Samsung 960 Evo| Interface PCIe
Samsung 960 Evo| Interface PCIe
Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB
Samsung 960 Pro| Interface: PCIe
Samsung 960 Pro| Interface: PCIe
Capacity: 512GB/1TB/2TB
Samsung 860 Pro| Interface: SATA
Samsung 860 Pro| Interface: SATA
Capacity: 250GB/512GB/1TB/2TB/4TB
Intel 750 Series | Interface: PCIe
Intel 750 Series | Interface: PCIe
Capacity: 400GB/800GB/1.2TB

The Future for SSD & HDD

The world of data storage is changing it has diversified as well as complex workloads (CRM, Databases, Data Mining). The level of workloads & infrastructure options has set off the need for storage devices with a spectrum of performance, capacity, device features, form factors, and prices.

Today, the length of choice we get for storage solutions is further that HDD vs. SSD battle. Improvements like helium & Shingled Magnetic Recording HDD's have enhanced the capacity, reliability & lower power consumption of the HDD. The SSD's show innovation is new form factors, performance capabilities. Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) standard is a comparatively recent addition to the enterprise SSD landscape and a crucial breakthrough in the evolution of SSDs.

Both HDD's & SSD's are here to stay and will continue to play an essential role in both big data & fast data settings. We may see prices of SSD going down, and innovations open new possibilities for improved data storage solutions.

With the help of advanced storage devices, we will see new system architectures. That will allow organisations to maximise returns on infrastructure. As storage devices evolve, the assessment and consideration will not be about HDD vs. SSD. But finding the most appropriate solution to support the business needs.

FINAL DECISION: Before opting for SSD or HDD, consider the following factors:

  • What purpose do you want to use the drive for?
  • The amount of money you are willing to shell?
  • The working conditions of the storage drive?

You can settle for an option but always remember to have regular back up of data.

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