Monday, August 16, 2010

Spinning Disks and Little Bricks

Hard Drives (HDD) and Solid State Drives (SSD), both ways of storing data on your computer. I have recently been looking into SSDs and HDDs. Here is the break down on each so you can figure out which is right for you!

Hard Drives:  HDDs have been around for years. They have come to the point were they are the standard on just about every computer that ships today. HDDs are made up of a spinning disk that saves your data on it. They are cheap to make and sell at a good price point.  You can get a 1 TB (terabyte) drive for around sixty dollars. That is 1024 gigabytes of space, for only sixty dollars! However, you also must look at RPM, rotation per minute, because this is what it really comes down to. Speed. How fast the disk can spin. Speed is what sells most HDDs out there. The higher the RPM, the fast you will be able to open files, open applications, save files etc. The standard drive today is 7200 RPM, which is not bad, but it us not really so fast. Drives can go as high as 15,000 RPM, however the higher you go the less disk space you will get. For example, you purchase a 1 TB 7200 RPM drive for sixty dollars, or you can buy a 300 GB (gigabyte) 10,000 RPM drive for one hundred and eighty dollars. When buying a HDD you must keep in mind that failure rate is between 2-4%. A friend of mine claims that 1/6 hard drives that you buy will fail in 3 weeks. I don't know whether or not this is true, but if it is that is a 16% failure rate. With all the hard drives I have bought, none have failed in the first three weeks. Most hard drives, if not defective, can last any were from 2-3 years depending on how much use they get. Yet, the more you use a drive, the slower it will become. This is why it is key to keep your hard drive clean and delete files you don't need. If you don't, it takes longer for the disk to read. This is because the more information that is stored on the drive, the longer it takes the drive to be read by the laser eye. So key to having a long lasting drive is keeping it clean. The less stuff you actually store on your drive, the faster it will run and the longer it will last.

Solid State Drives:  SSDs are a new technology that have hit the market in the past couple of years. Instead of having a spinning disk like HDDs, SSDs are made up of little memory blocks, like the ones found inside of USB sticks. For this reason, SSDs are MUCH faster then HDDs. While hard drives can read/write files at about 40-50 Mbps (megabytes per second), SSDs can read/write files at 230-250 Mbps! That is five times the speed of a hard drive. However, due to the fact that SSDs are so new, they are extremely expensive. Here is a price comparison: 1TB 7200 RPM HDD is about sixty dollars as stated before, while a 30 GB SSD is about one hundred dollars. Right now your probably thinking "Ok, so I can get a 30 GB SSD, I don't use that much space anyway." That is a perfectly good thought at this point, but we haven't covered lifespan of the drive yet, so don't leave just yet! The thing about SSDs is they start to break down the second you start using them. The more they are used, the slower they go and because of this they don't last as long as HDDs. An SSD might only last you 1.5 years, unlike the conventional HDD which will last you 2-3 years. Although they run faster and cost more for less space, SSDs don't last as long as HDDs.

Hopefully I have given you a better sense of the drives out there on the market. This is more of a brief overview of each, there are many more things to be looking at when it comes to buying drives. As of now, it is not worth buying an SSD. However, if you do want to buy an SSD, here is what I suggest. When you install your SSD, only install your operating system on your SSD, then have a HDD to which you can install all your programs on. This way, your SSD will last longer and all your programs and files can be stored on an HDD in case of failure. Plus, you get the super cool six second boot up when you install your operating system on an SSD! I also suggest, if you are in the market for an SSD, to buy the ones made by either OCZ, Kingston, Intel, or Corsair, they are the best on the market now. If you want to purchase any HDDs, Seagate and Western Digital are the way to go. Good luck to those of you in the market for a new storage device!

Leave a comment below about which one you would choose!


1 comment:

  1. I think this article was really informative. Try to get someone to re-read your work before you post. You had a few errors here and there, but that's just me being picky.
    Keep up the good work! I really hope you can maintain the daily update schedule.