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  • Terabyte update: The hard-drive price advantage

    Posted on Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Terabyte update: The hard-drive price advantage

    • This topic has 23 replies, 9 voices, and was last updated 4 weeks ago.
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      • #2268224 Reply
        Tracey Capen
        AskWoody MVP

        HARDWARE By Will Fastie Solid-state drives (SSDs) have rapidly become the drive of choice for all types of devices, with smartphones and tablets leadi
        [See the full post at: Terabyte update: The hard-drive price advantage]

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      • #2268260 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Even though SSD pricing has become affordable and will likely continue to get more attractive, there will always be a use case for mechanical drives that SSDs simply can’t address.  Depending on the manufacturer, SSDs can only stay powered off for a certain amount of time before they begin to lose data.

        I’ve seen reports that SSDs can lose data in as little as 7 days without power.

        Mechanical drives can hold their data for a substantial amount of time before data loss begins – Usually on the order of many many years.

        So it would seem, for archival and/or general backup purposes, mechanical drives will never be supplanted by SSD devices.

        4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2268268 Reply
          bbearren
          AskWoody MVP

          I’ve seen reports that SSDs can lose data in as little as 7 days without power.

          “If you’re in a panic because the Internet told you that your shiny new SSD may lose data in “just a few days” when stored in a hot room, take a chill pill—it’s apparently all a huge misunderstanding.”

          Read the linked article.

          Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
          "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
          "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2268288 Reply
            anonymous
            Guest

            Not to worry – I’m perfectly calm!

            The article you cited deals with heavy write cycles and high temperatures.  That’s something the SSDs are indeed  much better at handling today.  I’m concerned about SSD devices that have data written to them and then are unplugged and placed on a shelf in an archival capacity.

            Flash memory cells slowly lose voltage over time.  An un-powered drive stored for several years may not be readable.   The Samsung EVO 840 drives suffered this exact issue.  It took only a few months before memory cells became difficult to read.

            • #2268303 Reply
              bbearren
              AskWoody MVP

              I’m concerned about SSD devices that have data written to them and then are unplugged and placed on a shelf in an archival capacity.

              Archival Storage is not the intended use of SSD’s.  Nevertheless, I have a Kingston SSD Now 240GB that’s been sitting in a box on a shelf for about four years.  It’s there because I replaced it with a larger capacity SSD.  I just unplugged it and removed it.  I loaded the replacement with drive images.

              After reading this thread, I got that SSD off the shelf and plugged it into the drive dock on my NAS.  Both partitions are intact, all the data is still there.  I double-clicked a few random files, and they opened immediately.

              I may put it to use in a future build, and I have no qualms about doing so.  It’s fine.

              Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
              "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
              "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

              2 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2268350 Reply
            Will Fastie
            AskWoody_MVP

            You are absolutely right that the media in rotating media can last a very long time. Magnetic media has proven to be very robust; I put a 60 year old tape on a reel-to-reel player a few weeks ago and heard the recoding very well.

            It’s not the media that fails; it’s the mechanics. Leave a consumer HDD sitting in a closet for five years and it’s a crapshoot whether it will fire back up again.

            For years, I have been recommending to family, friends, and clients that they replace hard drives every five years. Just recently a friend lost a system because a seven year old HDD developed a glitch; I had suggested to her two years ago that she get a new drive. That’s not my only experience.

            2 users thanked author for this post.
            • #2268361 Reply
              Canadian Tech
              AskWoody_MVP

              Will, I have been looking after at least 120 Win machines for 18 years now. In my experience, 2.5 in drives life expectancy is 5 years and 3.5 about 7 or 8 years.

              Any PC will see a dramatic performance improvement if you simply re-install the OS. If you couple drive replacement with the re-install and you use a 7200 drive, you will see a performance boost that will knock your socks off, and your computer will last for years. Average age of my clients’ windows systems is something like 7 years for laptops and 10 years for desktops.

              CT

              • #2268370 Reply
                Will Fastie
                AskWoody_MVP

                Agreed, but you can take an existing HDD install and clone it to SSD to get that same boost. That’s a lot faster and easier than a complete reinstall. The fact that it’s faster also means that if I was charging for the work (I don’t charge friends and family) it would be cheaper even taking into consideration the cost of the SSD.

              • #2268375 Reply
                Canadian Tech
                AskWoody_MVP

                I rarely, if ever clone a system to a new drive. You will get no benefit from the re-install unless you literally do a clean install. I have however, done clean re-installs to a temporary hard drive and then cloned that to an SSD. That way, you have an ideal optimized install.

                CT

              • #2268412 Reply
                bbearren
                AskWoody MVP

                Any PC will see a dramatic performance improvement if you simply re-install the OS.

                For me, that’s in the same category as “Your SSD is gonna die!”  Partitioning, multiple drives and automated regular routine maintenance will prevent any performance falloff in the first.

                I’ve upgraded/updated several systems over the years, but never with a clean install (except XP to Windows 7—no direct upgrade path).  I never re-install to improve performance, because I don’t have a performance drop-off.  Task Scheduler keeps my systems lean and clean in the wee hours while I’m sleeping.

                Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
                "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
                "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

      • #2268269 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Spinning rust will be around a long time for backups and colder data storage and even LTO tape drives for backup as well! But SSDs on consumer kit is just fine and some external Hard Drive backup.

        What I’d really like to see are more Hard-Drive/SSD hybrids and say 1TB of Solid State storage matched with 2TB+ on Spinning Rust and some sort of write through caching where data gets written quickly to  the SSD part and in the background(Via the drive’s controller) backed up to the spinning rust part for safer long term storage and retrieval. So some sort of hybrid drive that’s its own self contained tiered storage solution that manages the data stored on the drive based on usage and keeps the most often used data on the SSD part and the colder data on the spinning platters part.

        Once USB 4 becomes ubiquitous backups will sure become relatively painless and most devices with plenty of bandwidth for rapid backups but as far as laptops are concerned SSDs are the way to go and M.2 in laptops really needs come standard with a minimum of 2, M.2 slots per laptop if possible.  SD cards/readers that are are also getting the PCIe and NVMe capabilities are nice as well.

         

         

      • #2268289 Reply
        Canadian Tech
        AskWoody_MVP

        The vast majority of NON-Enterprise users, use only a small portion of their drive capacity. Most of them well less than 100 G. Drives that are much larger than that just mean that effectively, they have no limitation.

        In modern day PCs, almost all users cannot differentiate the performance difference between rotating drives and SSD’s except during startup. SSD’s provide a 15 to 30 second startup Vs. rotating drives 90 seconds. Once running, modern day PCs performance is so good that most users cannot see the difference in performance. Very few people start their PC’s more than once a day, so start up time savings are really incidental. Many PCs never get turned off so there is not startup time.

        Backup drives are used about once a month if that often. They are almost never used to READ files and always to write. Whether it takes 45 minutes or 15 minutes to do a backup is not important to most people

        So, I can see no logical reason to use SSD’s for most computers, and have big questions whether SSD makes any sense at all for backups

        I would like to see some good quality study done on reliability and life expectancy of SSDs. I am particularly interested in this from a backup perspective.

        CT

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        • #2268316 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          I do a lot of refurb work, particularly with laptops.  SSDs do tend to wake up an older laptop, but a 7,200 RPM WD Black does a very similar, but still perceptibly different job.  Now drop to a 5,400 RPM drive and ANY computer you use that in, even a nice new Core i7 screamer will feel like a dog.

          I would make the argument for SSDs in a laptop because they feel faster than 7,200 RPM and much faster than 5,400 RPM drives, and (more importantly) offer a greater degree of shock resistance compared to a mechanical drive, while using less power.

          SSDs should probably not be used past roughly 80% of their capacity or performance issues can become a problem.

           

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          • #2268342 Reply
            Canadian Tech
            AskWoody_MVP

            Could not agree more. I do not buy 5400 rpm drives. Only 7200. You are correct, there is a very noticeable difference in their performance. I have bought over 100 drives for my clients in the last year or two and every single one was a 7200.

            I advise my clients as I have for decades with any drive that the real practical capacity of their drive is 75% of the listed capacity. Beyond that rotating drives will begin to slow performance and it gets worse and worse as you fill up.

            CT

      • #2268333 Reply
        rc primak
        AskWoody_MVP

        It’s the shock resistance which is my main interest in using SSDs in portable devices. In my Intel NUC desktop mini-PC, the form factor pretty much requires SSD storage. I would not use SSD for archival storage, for the same reason I don’t use Flash Drives for archival storage of anything except Rescue Media. Not for actual data or system backups.

        -- rc primak

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        • #2268339 Reply
          Canadian Tech
          AskWoody_MVP

          I have only ever seen one SSD installed that was not the very same form factor as a standard 2.5″ hard drive.

          CT

      • #2268341 Reply
        AlexEiffel
        AskWoody_MVP

        I left many SSDs or machines with them unplugged for months before knowing about the loss of voltage and I had 3 that were unreadable after, or they seemed to work fined and then just became unreadable after a month or two of use with weird issues.

        Does anyone know if you can reinitialize an SSD that doesn’t seem to be readable anymore due to long time storage without power? Is the SSD effectively bricked or there is something to do to make it behave like a new one, even if it means loosing the data on it? Sometimes the SSD isn’t seen by the OS but it is seen by the BIOS, sometimes it is seen by the OS but doesn’t boot anymore.

        • #2268346 Reply
          Canadian Tech
          AskWoody_MVP

          Alex, I routinely test my clients’ systems hard drives at least annually after 5 years of age. I use drive manufacturers’ drive testing software. If I get any kind of a problem result, I replace them. I think in 20 years of doing this on hundreds of PCs, I have only ever seen one case in which I could not get the data copied off.

          On the other hand, in all cases of a system with and SSD. I have not been able to get data off. My perception is that when they fail, they fail hard and do not give much warning, if any.

          CT

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          • #2268349 Reply
            anonymous
            Guest

            I should have added, and agree completely with Canadian Tech, that once an SSD fails (different from losing data due to being un-powered for sufficient time) it usually fails unrecoverably and catastrophically.  Just bash it to bits and then throw it away!

            Backup, backup, backup…  Always make backups.

             

        • #2268347 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          Yes, the SSD is not damaged in the situation you describe.  You just have corrupted data.

          Simply power it back up and reformat as directed by the manufacturer.  Some have their own specialized software to do that, so you might want to use that.

          Once the drive is re-energized, you are back in business.

          This will not, however, recover any area on the drive marked as bad or failing.  Those parts of the originally available memory are forever locked from use.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2268355 Reply
        Microfix
        AskWoody MVP

        Depends on what the storage device is being used for..

        from my experience (excluding NVMe)
        SSHD – are great choice for Virtual Machine use.

        SSD – I still have an old OCZ Petrol Sata3 that hasn’t missed a beat in everyday use (Win7/ 8.1) general use on an old laptop.
        I have also had SSD’s disconnected/removed from devices for months, only to fire up without issue.(linux and Windows)

        HDD – spinners are excellent for backups/images (internal/external)

        I still have a mix of half a dozen ATA100/133 3.5″/2.5″ HDD’s and on last check (late 2018 IIRC), all were fully functional/ without errors/noisy bearings after testing, and at least 7-8 years of non-use.(maxtor/seagate)

        | Win8.1 Pro x64 | Linux Hybrids x86/x64 | Win7 Pro x86/x64 Offline |
      • #2268874 Reply
        Pugboy
        AskWoody Lounger
        I hope you are safe and well. I thought it would be worth a mention that solid-state drives have many advantages over mechanical drives in other ways, not in the article.
        For example, while SSDs can and do fail, for most consumers, it’s something they may never see. As a web designer and WordPress consultant, I am working from home for many years on workstations I build myself. I’m also on the same workstation for 10 to 12 hours a day sometimes, depending on my workload and non-work PC activities.
        Since 2010, one Mushkin SATA SSD drive took a proverbial jump off of a bridge. Thankfully, it gave me enough notice to clone it and have it replaced by Muskin. However, I use one 1 TB drive as my boot drive and a 1 TB SSD drive for Dropbox and Google Drive, so my data is separate from my operating system. I also have two sets of RAID 1 arrays for video storage, all of my games, and long-term storage, which I also back up to my NAS long-term because, in my experience, you never know when a mechanical drive will kick the bucket.
        Cloud storage has also seen a plummet in cost per GB. For example, Dropbox, my preference, is $12/month for 2 TB of storage. Google Drive and OneDrive come in cheaper at $10/month for the same room. However, the lower cost of cloud storage is in direct relationship to the continuing decrease in SSD costs for the enterprise.
        In my opinion, and for most people, a 1-2 TB SSD drive combined with cloud storage is enough coverage for over 90% of consumers. And with SATA SSD prices hovering around $100 per TB, they are cheap enough for anyone to receive the benefits of solid-state storage. Except for photographers, those working with a lot of videos, and other data-hogging uses, everyone should be using SSDs at this point.
        What I would like to see is “bare” mechanical drives 4 TB and higher come further down in pricing. Yes, one can buy cheap 6 TB or 8 TB external units. However, they tend to have merely one-year warranties that do not inspire confidence. Meanwhile, bare 3.5″ internal drives seem artificially high to me.
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      • #2269167 Reply
        WSRangerRickT
        AskWoody Plus

        I think the article had insufficient coverage of the M.2/PCIe board memory.  It should be added to the cost table.

        Last fall, I used a 1TB  M.2/PCIe board in my desktop computer build (to replace my 9-year old Windows 7 PC.)  I selected this board due to the technology’s wider bandwidth.  It was marginally more costly than a 2.5in SSD for that capacity at the time, but I keep my gear for eons.  To manage overall cost, I selected the just prior generation AMD CPU and installed on a gamer motherboard.  I also reused my old 19in CRT monitor and one of my son’s cast-off gamer video cards.

      • #2270241 Reply
        Will Fastie
        AskWoody_MVP

        I think the article had insufficient coverage of the M.2/PCIe board memory.  It should be added to the cost table.

        That’s a good idea for an article about tracking SSD pricing as time goes forward. I will note that the price of M.2 and SSD form factors is very close now, with a gap of around 10%. PCIe continues to represent a premium for its complexity, but because the boards are larger they can accommodate heat sinks for better cooling, which alone might be worth the premium.

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