So What’s the Deal with SSD Drives?

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hard-drive[1]Ever since we emerged from the hard-drive doldrums of the noughties into the twenty-tens, storage stopped being a boring affair of  ever-increasing numbers. One of the first netbooks (does anyone still remember those?) in 2007, the Asus EeePC sported a whopping 2 GB of flash storage as its primary drive.  In 2015, Solid State Drives of half a terabyte and more are finally affordable enough to be a very serious consideration for datavaults and other kinds of storage needs – if you take their many advantages into account. That is why you can pick up Krypterix datavaults with either SSD or HDD drives inside. Storage not being boring anymore, there is no need to wrap the technology up in corporate lingo to woo customers.

SSD storage is based on flash storage, which is used on a daily basis by everyone who has ever carried his/her vacation photos on a trusty thumb drive. The chips in SSDs are a bit different (type and speed of the memory being the main difference), which makes them faster and more reliable.

So exactly how fast are we talking here? To put it bluntly, expect an SSD drive to reliably boot in under a minute whereas an HDD will still need lots of time to spin up.  Transfer speeds  are another important factor. You might not care how fast a 4GB blob copies over during your downtime, but a fast drive can be deciding factor between going home early and pulling an all-nighter, especially if you are working with large data, like uncompressed video.

And if you think that is the only way SSDs save you time, consider the issue of fragmentation. Due to their rotary design, traditional HDDs need to write data in blocks. These blocks get increasingly scattered as the hard drive fills up, requiring occasional defragmentation. The ever-present Disk Defrag tool in Windows probably rings a bell with any experienced user and defragmenting software is still a staple of a sysadmin’s tool collection. With an SSD, you have no moving parts and it simply doesn’t matter where the data is located.

No moving parts also means that there is less that can go wrong. As I am writing this article, I am listening to a whistling sound emanating from my HDD drive bay. I am still unsure whether it is due to physical or quality issues, but SSDs are rarely as susceptible to damage. Keep this in mind when buying portable drives, as you are bound to drop them at some point. SSD hardware is not only less prone to break, but it is also much lighter.

Finally, this might be a pet peeve of mine, but I don’t like the noise that HDDs emit.

On the other hand, speaking purely in terms of dollars or euros per gigabyte, SSDs are still about twice as expensive. HDD technology isn’t stagnating, either. Many defrag issues were minimized by improved algorithms, though we will never be able to get rid of them completely; it’s how HDDs are designed that is the main problem. Experience also suggests that overall, lifetime of HDDs may be longer than that of flash storage.

To kind of summarize, if you need a lot of storage for a low price, and won’t be moving around a lot, go for a traditional HDD. If you need more performance and durability, an SSD is what you should get. These days it’s not such a hard choice since it is definitely not a huge jump in price anymore, and the gap will keep closing as the years go by. Check out our SSD and HDD drives here.

I leave you with a great infographic from Samsung that illustrates our points in a more colorful way. (Please note that we are not in any way affiliated with Samsung).


The SSD Solution