This is a common question by many people both novices and professionals, for laptop, PC and even Server usage. I won’t go into the use of SSD in detail between the 3 in this post, but my general opinion of why SSD usage could benefit the average buyer.

Should I get a SSD or a HDD?

The short answer is yes, get a SSD. You’ll be happy with the results.

The Long Answer:

At the time of writing this the prices were accurate (June 2012);

  • SSD Prices are going down.
  • HDD Prices are going up.

Manufactors have had a hard time these past year or so in the HDD industry; Natural disaster(s), Thailand for example, have caused havoc with production of parts which has understandably affect long term supply. Since supply has been affected, this has damaged bottom line costs of moving manufacturing to new places apparently, demand is still high so of course this changed prices for HDD’s.

More people are looking at SSD and thinking to their selves maybe I could try SSD, prices are going down for them, while HDD’s seem to be getting more expensive even on the same model a year later?

For £80-90 in the UK, what can you get? (forgive any personal preferences)

  • (£89) SSD 2.5" ~ Samsung SSD 830 - 128 GB
  • (£80) HDD 2.5" ~ Western Digital Scorpio Blue - 1000 GB
  • (£84) HDD 3.5" ~ Western Digital Caviar Green - 2000 GB

As you can see the capacity differences is still huge (8-16x difference) for the same price, depending on if you compared to the same form size or the bigger HDD size. Generally speaking laptops use 2.5”, PC’s use 3.5”.

128 GB is enough for your Windows or linux OS (10-30GB), plus a few modern games (1-6GB each), a few office programs (1-5GB each) and documents, even music and a few other bits of media, like films (30 - 50GB). All that probably adds up to less than 100GB for most users, thus will fit into a 128 GB SSD. You’d have to be cautious of course not to over do it on the large files, but it is enough for most unless you know your “collection” is definitely not going to fit.

However while it might be nice to have a 1 or 2TB hard drive it usually goes under utilised or it gets filled up with very large files which probably, which only get used not as often as most think. If you were more concerned by your space you had, you’d usually delete it as soon as you didn’t need it. So a 1 or 2TB drive is more of a storage and/or backup device than a primary drive, well suited in a Network Attached Storage device. Every “techy” is loving these now a days but that is for another article.

So to try answer the question, is it worth going with a SSD right now? then answer is still a definite yes.

Spending an extra ~£70 gets you double the capacity on the same series of that Samsung SSD at 256 GB, For those that feel 128 GB just isn’t enough. Crucial with the m4 is also a good option, since they have also reduced their price a lot recently. Paying any extra when it comes to HDD, it’s usually best to get a raid (5 or 10) configuration setup, for performance and redundancy, something that is less of a concern for SSD’s, since they are not well suited for raid.

Even if it’s your only storage space it’s enough, it’s a lot faster than a HDD. Boot times will usually be around 10 seconds, so around half most HDD are capable off. This will also be shown in any HDD intensive loading for applications and games. It will also run silent, cool and be a lot less likely have faults due to being knocked or moved, since there is no moving parts in a SSD.

SSD will also run on less power, a big perk if you are thinking of using it in a laptop, since most SSD can use around 0.2W when actively used and a HDD will use 1-2W on the 2.5” models. They have become a lot more reliable (3-5 year guarantees) than they once were, with the price coming down and storage up to a level that is actually worth using as your primary storage it’s a good buy, that no longer has to be considered a premium purchase or risk.

SSD’s are the future of our storage needs, it will be the way forward, HDD’s will be easily forgotten once storage capacity for SSD improves to a level that rivals HDD’s. They still have their place for very large capacity storage, right now, for those that really need multiple TB’s of capacity, however most do not need that and if they do. Network attached storage is a more suitable option, considering the rising cost of the Hard drives themselves, that way your whole home or office can utilising it as a shared storage, maximising it’s usage.

Note: Old article, how prices changed and how the market went.

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Categories: IT

Tags: Computers HDD SSD PC Servers Laptop