Hard Disk Drive (HDD), Solid State Drive (SSD)

Hard Drive and SSDHard Drives and Solid State Drives both serve the same purpose, they are for storing data (operating system files, applications, documents, etc.) HDDs are limited due to moving parts both in speed and longevity. They are the cheapest storage solution available and therefore continue to be extremely popular.

Why HDD? These drives have been around for a long time, they are cheaper per Gigabyte of storage then SSD drives, they are also more reliable over long periods of time and for applications where large amounts of data are written.  With the exception of the latest QLC SSD drive technology HDDs also store more data per drive.  This makes HDDs a great solution for Data Drives, external drives and backup media.

Solid State Drives are a newer technology not yet as popular as standard drives, primarily due to cost. Because there are no moving parts these drives have the potential to be more reliable. They are also substantially faster than hard drives, making boot time, loading applications and copying files many times faster. SSD drives are a great way to improve your computer performance and keep older computers in service a couple more years for a reasonably low cost.  We can help upgrade your computer to an SSD drive today!  Contact us to learn more.

SSD issues. Because this is a newer technology, the cost is still high when compared to HDDs to help with cost, SSD storage is smaller; an average SSD drive will be about 256GB whereas the average standard Hard Drive is 1TB (1000GB.) There are different size options for both drive types with SSD options up to and even over 1TB but at very high cost.

There are also a number of high quantity, low quality manufacturers. This is where a low-cost computer or buying a low cost SSD for your existing computer can get you in real trouble. They may only last a few months in some situations.

SSD drives are also limited in the number of times information can be written. Your Operating system may need to be setup for proper SSD support, including disabling defrag, paging or hibernation files to name a few. We will not get into how to configure your OS in this article.  If you recently installed an SSD drive, Contact us to to get help making sure your OS is optimized.

Why SSD? SSD Drives are substantially faster than traditional hard drives and a quality drive setup properly will last as long or even longer than a traditional drive. Due to the lack of moving parts, SSD drives are quieter, do not produce vibration and when used in mobile devices are less likely to be damaged from minor falls. Although there is a limitation on the number of writes with SSD technology, higher quality drives work around this with newer technology that can sustain more writes and have extra internal components to move data when the number of writes is about to be exceeded.

SSD Terminology.  These drives use Integrated circuit memory assemblies, very similar to SD (Secure Digital Cards.)

Below I have listed out the storage types you can expect to see when shopping for an SSD drive. You will note as the total storage increases and price drops, so does the number of write cycles. However, with additional technology, manufactures are working to compensate for this. It is also important to understand a properly setup drive under normal use should result in many years (3-10) of problem free use.

3D MLC NAND or 3D TLC NAND (three denominational Multiple Level (2 bits per cell) or Triple Level  (3 bits per cell) Non Volatile Memory) – This is the most common type of SSD storage.  3D refers to the use of left to right and up down storage on each chip inside the drive.  This solution allows for increased storage as well as lower cost production, by limiting the number of chips required.
SLC (Single-level cell) – Stores 1 bit per cell, this is the first version of SSD Storage.  This solution supports the most write cycles and least total storage (about 256GB.)
MLC (Multi-level cell) – Stores multiple (usually 2) bits per cell, this is the next revision of SSD Storage.  This solution increases the total storage available (up to about 500GB) with a lowered number of write cycles.
TLC (Triple-level cell) – Stores 3 bits per cell, the latest available (as of mid 2018) revision of SSD Storage.  Again further increases total storage (up to about 1 TB) with lower write cycles then MLC or SLC.  Due to the lowered write cycles, manufactures add additional cells, error correcting code as well as other hardware and/or software solutions to increase longevity.
QLC (Quad-level cell) – Stores 4 bits per cell, slated to be released late 2018 to early 2019.  As with the other solutions this will decrease the number of write cycles supported and may actually be slower in performance then other SSD drives, however, still significantly faster then HDDs.  These drives will be substantially larger (as much as 8 TB.)

2.5″ SATA (the ‘standard’ version) This type of drive will be used to replace existing HDDs.  Most desktop computers will need a 3.5″ to 2.5″ adapter.  Most laptops will have a 2.5″ drive already.
mSATA (Mini-SATA) – Used in some Laptop computers and specialized systems.  This is the same technology as the 2.5″ SATA but in a smaller package.
M.2 (NGFF or Next Generation Form Factor) – The smallest sized SSD drive on the market.  This drive requires computer specific support.  Often times used as a caching drive in conjunction with your standard HDD.  Allowing for the best performance and most storage.  The M.2 drive uses a different connection called PCI-E (up to 32Gb/sec) instead of SATA (6Gb/sec.)  So these drives are substantially faster, but also substantially more expensive.
U.2 (SFF-8639) – Similar the the M.2 drive, but larger for larger storage options.  This solution also requires your computer to have built in support.  Because this technology is rarely used, extremely fast with larger storage options, expect to spend a lot of money for one.

The best of both worlds! The best data solution is a combination of both SSD drives and HDDs with RAID technology.  This would give you both speed and data integrity in one system.  The recommended solution here would be to use the SSD drive for your Operating system (C drive) and the HDD for your Data (D drive.)  By using two of each drive and RAID1 you can have fully redundant storage limiting the chances of data loss.  You still need backups to an External drive or Cloud service as it is possible to have a dual disk failure, RAID corruption, fire, natural disaster, virus infection, etc.  Read our Backups Post to learn more about backups OR contact us to get help with your storage needs.