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SSD vs HDD Speed, Lifespan, and Reliability

With the exception of the last couple years, SSD’s have been out of the price range of most consumers and business owners. To obtain an SSD, the cost was astronomical. 

 

It is now possible to buy a 1TB SSD hard drive for around $150. This is a major difference that now makes SSD hard drives a viable option for everybody. 

 

While SSD’s are great, they are not the best option for every scenario. This article aims to compare the differences between hard disk drives (HDD’s) and solid state drives (SSD’s). We will compare and contrast SSD vs HDD speed, lifespan, and reliability in this article. 

SSD vs HDD Speed

Finding the speeds of an SSD or an HDD can be confusing. One should not rely much on the connection speed, usually 6GBPS.

While the connection speed is commonly used in the industry, a hard drive will not deliver those speeds. The read/write speed is the most important statistic when it comes to HDD vs SSD speed.

 

A typical 7200 RPM HDD will deliver a read/write speed of 80-160MB/s. On the other hand, a typical SSD will deliver read/write speed of between 200 MB/s to 550 MB/s.

 

As noted above, an SSD can deliver a much better read/write speed to an HDD. When it comes to SSD vs HDD speed, the solid state drive is the clear winner.

 

There is a major technical difference between SSD’s and HDD’s. SSD’s function on flash memory while HDD’s write to a physical disk. These technical differences ensure that HDD’s cannot compete with SSD’s on speed.

 

The read/write speed you will achieve when using an SSD or HDD will vary depending on the model chosen. Of course, an SSD with close to 550 MB/s read/write speed will cost more.

 

For certain tasks, maximum read/write speed is not needed. For basic PC usage, one could perhaps get away with using a lower speed drive. For most users a drive with faster read/write speeds is recommended.

 

Below are links to TekHattan recommended consumer drives for purchase based on maximum speed for both HDD and SSD’s.

Recommended SSD for maximum speed: Samsung 860 EVO
Maximum Write Speed: Up to 520 MB/s
Maximum Read Speed: Up to 550 MB/s
Sizes Available: 250 GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Starting Price Point: $58
Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2VvVGKr

Recommended HDD for maximum speed: WD Black Series
Starting Read/Write Speed: 150 MB/s
Sizes Available: 500GB to 6TB
Starting Price Point: $63.99
Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2D2FmtD

 

Please note: Standard HDD types are specially designed for certain purposes. To find out which WD Drive series is best for you check out our posts comparing the WD Drive Series

SSD vs HDD Lifespan

Both SSD drives and HDD’s have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to hard drive life span. Some assume that because solid state drives have no moving parts, they last a lot longer. This is not necessarily true.

 

SSD drives typically have a factory guideline for lifetime of the NAND. NAND is the technology that is used by SSD drives. NAND cells degrade with every write on the SSD drive. This means that if you will rarely place new files on your drive, the SSD will last a long time. A solid state drive opened up looks like a circuit board.

 

An HDD relies on moving parts for the drive to function. Every time data is written or read, the spindle is read by the mechanics within the drive. It would only take one moving part to fail to render the drive useless. When opened, a hard disk drive contains platters, a spindle, an R/W head, an actuator arm, actuator axis, and actuator. 

 

With normal use, one would expect an SSD to outlive a standard HDD drive. 

SSD Best Uses with Lifespan in Mind

  • Frequent read only access to the same files
  • Usage of resource intensive programs
  • Basic computing with minimal disk space needs

HDD Best Uses with Lifespan in Mind

  • Cold storage of large files
  • Basic computing with needs for extensive HD space
  • Frequent usage of hard drive (saving/deleting files)

HDD vs SSD Reliability

Reliability has advantages and disadvantages with both SSD’s and HDD”s. In most cases, a solid state drive will be more reliable.

One thing to keep in mind is a hard disk drive is easier to recover data from if ever needed. Due to the HDD’s long enjoyment of the go to choice for storage, there are several technologies available for data recovery. 

 

On the other hand, solid state drive’s still employ fairly new technologies. Data recovery is a much more difficult task for solid state drives. 

 

With that said, it is imperative to keep backups of all your data whether you are using an SSD or HDD.

SSD vs HDD: Wrap up

SSD’s and HDD’s each have their own purpose in the market. HDD’s still offer the least expensive cost per GB. 

However, it is becoming more apparent that the days of the HDD are numbered. As new NAND technology is developed, the need for an old spindle based storage system will no longer be needed. 

 

One thing to consider is the speed of which new computers are able to process data. HDD’s are limited in the possibilities of performance. 

 

Running a computer with an SSD is much faster than a standard HDD. That said, there is a case for using both solid state drives and hard disk drives. Using an SSD for the operating system, and HDD for file storage is becoming more common. If you have the budget and proper backups, the benefits of using SSD’s are obvious.