Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Sign in to follow this  
wpirobotbuilder

Why Choose an SSD?

Recommended Posts

Posted · Original PosterOP

Why Should I Choose an SSD?

 

On the storage thread I see tons of questions about which drive people want to get. Specifically, questions like this:

 

HDD vs. SSD?
Is an SSD worth it?
Do SSDs make a difference?
SSD Performance?

 

In this piece I'll endeavor to answer these question and then some. We'll be talking about the advantages and disadvantages of SSDs and HDDs in more detail, and in different environments. For each environment, when we refer to SSDs and HDDs, we will be specifically referring to the drives that are meant for that environment. So no Samsung 840's in the high-end server environment, and no Seagate Cheetah 15K drives for the average consumer.

 

If you want a quickie on HDD vs. SSD, check out this post that I wrote a while back.

 

The areas we'll be discussing for comparison are:

  • Reliability/Durability
  • Speed
  • Capacity
  • Power Consumption
  • Weight
  • Cost-Efficiency
  • Heat Output
  • Noise Output 

Consumer Environment

 

First we'll consider the case of the average consumer. For the purpose of this discussion, we'll constrain our specifications to the following:

  • The consumer only needs a boot drive, no fancy storage configuration.
  • The consumer writes, on average, less than 100MB per day to the drive.
  • The consumer runs Windows, Microsoft Office and an internet browser.
  • The consumer doesn't have massive video or music libraries.
  • The consumer does not run high-end or overclocked components.
  • The consumer wants a computer that is inexpensive and works.

Most people using a computer fall into this category. So let's go over the categories we outlined, and decide if an SSD makes sense for each of them.

 

[spoiler=Reliability/Durability]We know that the user won't write very much data to the drive, and even consumer SSDs are capable of running this kind of load on a daily basis for years. In addition, accidents such as dropping the computer will be less likely to incur data loss since, unlike HDDs, SSDs are not unusable after a hard fall. That doesn't mean you should go throw it off of your roof, though.

 

[spoiler=Speed]The fact of the matter is, SSDs nowadays are faster than hard drives in every possible scenario. If you've ever bought a computer from retail, chances are it had a hard drive. At first, these computers are relatively responsive. However, as time goes on, these computers can get very slow due to fragmentation, more used capacity and other factors that cause the drive to be less responsive. SSDs do not have the issue with fragmentation, although they can lose some performance as they get full. However, their performance is still light-years ahead of hard drives, and as the consumer's computer ages it will remain very responsive.

 

[spoiler=Capacity]Another fact: SSD capacity is not as dense as hard drive capacity, although it is getting there. If the user needed a lot of storage space, they would definitely need a hard drive to ensure cost-efficiency. However, since Windows and Office don't take up much space combined, it's very likely that the consumer will be okay with a drive around 120GB, which you can get for around $100 USD.

 

[spoiler=Power Consumption]Honestly, the user probably doesn't care much about the power consumed by their hard drive. SSDs do consume less power than HDDs by a significant margin, but seeing as they only have one drive, it doesn't make sense to buy an SSD for the power consumption alone.

 

[spoiler=Weight]The average consumer probably doesn't care about weight either, given that they only have a single drive. SSDs do weigh a significant fraction less than HDDs, though.

 

[spoiler=Cost-Efficiency]This is a real disadvantage of SSDs in the consumer space. If you're just looking to get something done and keep your hard drive relatively pristine, you won't have slowdown with an HDD. They do have a significantly higher cost per gigabyte.

 

[spoiler=Heat Output]Since SSDs draw less power than HDDs, they consequently produce less overall heat as output, and a single drive or a group of them placed together needs minimal airflow (unless heat from other components builds up near the drives). On the other hand, HDDs cannot be placed very tightly within a group without some airflow. However, for the average consumer with one drive, it's not really a concern.

 

[spoiler=Noise Output]Some consumers might care about this, others might not. Regardless, an SSD makes no noise whatsoever. Hard drive noise depends on the enclosure and speed of the drive, but it always makes noise if it is being used.

 

Summary

 

Given all we've discussed, we can pick out the characteristics of drives that we should care about if we are the average consumer:

 

  • Reliability/Durability: The fewer times I walk into the shop to get my PC repaired, the better.
  • Speed: I hate it when my computer is slow.
  • Cost-Efficiency: I don't like paying for things.

Conclusion: In this case, it really is up to the consumer. But something to note is that, while it is more expensive, an SSD should be considered an investment. An investment in a more reliable computer that is less likely to slow down over time.

 

Enthusiast/Professional Environment

 

Unlike the average consumer, enthusiasts and professionals have a broader range of needs that are incredibly diverse. There's no way we'll be able to cover all of them, but we'll do our best. We will also refer to them collectively as "professionals", and discuss needs that are unique to professionals, not the ones that are shared between them and average consumers:

  • Professionals needs a boot drive.
  • Professionals create, on average, between 1 GB and 10GB per day.
  • Professionals run intensive programs like Adobe, MATLAB, etc. and games.
  • Professionals may write lots of data all at once, and need to do so quickly.
  • Professionals have lots of video, audio, projects, etc. in storage.
  • Professionals' time is money. They want work done quickly and with zero downtime.

This is the other end of the spectrum, and will be reflected in the discussion:

 

[spoiler=Reliability/Durability]We know that the user will be writing lots of data to the drive every day. With hard drives this is no object, but hard drives can fail mechanically under heavy load. SSDs will not fail mechanically, but can only be written to a certain number of times. Depending on the user's workload, the choice of SSD will determine its lifetime (the 840 pro is rated for ~10 GB of writes per day for 5 years). Professionals are more careful with their equipment than the average consumer, but accidents can happen.

 

[spoiler=Speed]Since SSDs are faster than hard drives, especially when worked very hard, we know that this is a clear advantage of the SSD.

 

[spoiler=Capacity]Professional programs, especially content creation and engineering software, are very large programs, often in the tens of gigabytes. In addition, they can have many TB of data to store, which is a downside to SSDs.

 

[spoiler=Power Consumption]Like the average person, the professional might have fewer worries about choosing drives based on power consumption. In cases where the user needs lots of storage, drive power consumption can be significant.

 

[spoiler=Weight]A professional's rig is going to be set up, put down, and probably not moved very much. Weight is not really a concern.

 

[spoiler=Cost-Efficiency]Like in the consumer space, SSDs are much more costly per gigabyte than HDDs. However professionals care more about getting heavy workloads getting done quickly, and are more willing to invest in SSDs, up to a limit of course.

 

[spoiler=Heat Output]If a professional has lots of drives packed together in a rig, it can present potential heat problems. HDDs packed closely together are more of an issue than SSDs, but nothing that can't be mitigated with a fan pushing air through the drive cages.

 

[spoiler=Noise Output]If you've seen Linus' recent Christmas special of B-roll's rig, he mentions that in an environment where video production is going on, computers on set need to be silent. Having a bunch of hard drives close together can produce a lot of noise, as people who work in server rooms can attest to.

Summary

 

Clearly the professional is more savvy than the average person. Let's go through what matters more to them:

 

  • Reliability/Durability: My computer must be up as often as possible.
  • Speed: My computer needs to be fast. the faster it is, the faster my work gets done.
  • Cost-Efficiency: I like paying for things that make my work go faster.
  • Capacity: I have lots of stuff that I need to keep places.

 

Conclusion: The conclusion here is that professionals can't do everything with only one drive type. The average professional can't afford to have tens of terabytes of SSD storage, even though it would make their work much faster. They would likely opt out of having hard drives because they are much slower and less reliable than SSDs. In this case, professionals tend to divide up their storage based on its need: SSD boot drive (possibly scratch disk), with hard drives in a speedy RAID configuration for storage. They get the benefit of having programs be very responsive, as well as lots of storage space that is relatively more responsive than a single drive. 

 

For storage that benefits from higher speeds, like with the consumer, an SSD should be considered an investment.

 

Enterprise Environment

 

The enterprise environment is even more diverse than professionals. There are servers whose only job is to provide access to software installers and SVN projects, servers for SVN, servers for virtual machines, etc. By far the biggest user of hard drives is the storage industry, so that's what we'll be focusing on. Consumers who need lots of storage (Boeing, GE, government agencies, etc.) have racks full of appliances which feature power supplies, controllers and dozens of drives. Here's some of the things they care about:

  • Enterprise environments create tens to hundreds of GB per day which must be stored safely.
  • Enterprise environments replicate data to other locations in the building and possibly another building entirely.
  • Enterprise environments have so much server equipment that they need large and costly cooling solutions.
  • Racks full of equipment tend to be very heavy.
  • Companies pay less for electricity, but use much more of it than people do.
  • Sometime it makes sense to have fast storage, sometimes it makes sense to have lots of storage.
  • Enterprise environments can't afford downtime, especially when a customer is involved.

This is the other end of the spectrum, and will be reflected in the discussion:

 

[spoiler=Reliability/Durability]In the enterprise environment, HDDs fail very often, mostly due to heavy workload and being packed closely together with other drives. SSDs tend to fail after they've exceeded their maximum drive writes.

 

[spoiler=Speed]Depending on the application, a company might want to have high capacity or fast response times, or something in the middle.

 

[spoiler=Capacity]Companies generate huge amounts of data in e-mail traffic, marketing endeavors, software development, and miscellaneous items like virtual machine storage. Having tens of terabytes of SSD storage is expensive, but companies, more so than professionals, may be willing to spend the money depending on the application. There are also some truly mind-boggling appliances out there for storage, like the Dell PS6500E "Sumo", which holds 48 drives and can handle close to 150TB with 3TB drives.

 

[spoiler=Power Consumption]Companies have no issue with hooking up another piece of equipment to a rack, they have plenty of power. However, enterprise hardware draw huge amounts of it, which costs money in the long run. The aforementioned Sumo draws up to 1400 VA (between 1200W and 1300W after power factor) of power, and around 800W at idle. If it's idling 24/7, a company paying $.15/kWh would be paying around $3/day in electricity for that machine, about $1100/year. If it's operating at full capacity more often, it's closer to $1500. Now consider a company having racks full of this stuff. That's a lot of money. Most of the Sumo's power consumption comes from its drives, which draw much more power than regular hard drives

 

[spoiler=Weight]In the enterprise environment, companies have to plan their rack storage very carefully. If a rack has too much weight towards the top it can topple over, destroying hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment. In addition, moving heavy server equipment around can be a pain. The Sumo, when full of drives, weighs hundreds of pounds.

 

[spoiler=Cost-Efficiency]Companies, you might have noticed, are very picky about getting things done in a cost-efficient manner. They won't spend more than they have to on most occasions.

 

[spoiler=Heat Output]In enterprise environments, with dozens of drives in close proximity, lots of heat is produced in a small space. This is mitigated by crazily loud fans and expensive air conditioning. In this case, the amount of heat the drives put out directly affects both the cost of cooling and the cost of maintaining the system, since hotter drives are more likely to fail.

 

[spoiler=Noise Output]These servers are in racks in a lab where most employees can't hear them. IT wears earplugs, problem solved.

 

Summary

Not all is as it seems:

  • Reliability/Durability: Downtime costs us more than just money, it can cost us customer confidence if one of their systems goes down.
  • Speed: Some of our systems need to be fast, others can be slower.
  • Capacity: I have more stuff than I know what to do with.
  • Power Consumption: We have the money for power, but less is better.
  • Weight: If it's too heavy, we might have to spend the day rearranging some racks to put this in the bottom.
  • Cost-Efficiency: As much as possible, if you please.
  • Heat Output: We have a big expensive air conditioner that runs all the time.

 

Conclusion: Too complicated. Let's check some off:

 

  • In an enterprise environment reliability is key, but often staff are on hand to do drive replacements and such.
  • Power really isn't something companies worry about for the most part.
  • Planning for new equipment is often done in advance, so heavy equipment might have a place without much extra work.

Ok, now on to the more important ones. Unfortunately these are all intertwined pretty closely, but we'll do our best:

 

  • Speed: Systems are designed for certain tasks, and their performance will be determined in advance, allowing for proper decisions to be made. While archival storage might be composed of large arrays of HDDs(which can turn off, saving power and heat output), web servers and VM data stores will likely live on hybrid systems or all-flash arrays, for performance.
  • Capacity: Like with speed, the system is planned in advance. Systems for large storage will be composed of HDD arrays, while smaller systems can be either all-HDD, hybrid, or all SSD depending on the application.
  • Cost-Efficiency: As many dichotomies are false dichotomies, this one is also not so black and white. For large archival storage arrays, flash doesn't make much sense, both in terms of up-front cost and the fact that it won't save much money in the long run. For high-IOPS systems, a single, small all-flash array can take the place of hundreds of HDDs to provide the IOPS that would be required of such a system, and do so more reliably and with a lower overall cost, both in the short term and the long term. For applications in the middle, it's tougher to decide. Maybe you go with a hybrid array or an array composed of lots of small 15K drives. It really depends.
  • Heat Output: Since SSDs are more reliable, consume less power and less heat, they reduce not only the operational cost of the drive in terms of replacements and drive power consumption, they reduce the cooling requirements of their environment. Cooling power requirements for server rooms can be as much as 75% of the total power consumption of the equipment itself, factoring in equipment to move air as well as cool it. Reducing the power consumption of the drives also decreases the amount of heat that the power supplies emit as well, since less overall power is drawn, decreases power consumed by fans, since there is less overall heat being produced. It also allows for smaller power supplies to be used, which reduces the total cost of the server (smaller PSUs tend to be cheaper).

Conclusion: It really depends on the application. Switching to an all-SSD system does provide tangible savings over hard drives, higher reliability and increased performance, with a higher initial cost. Like with the consumer and professional, an enterprise system with SSDs should be considered an investment, worthwhile if used in the right circumstances.

 

I hope this was interesting, if nothing else. My goal was to show that, regardless of your environment, an SSD provides benefits that HDDs cannot. They should be considered an investment, something you buy with the knowledge that it will indeed make certain aspects of your system faster and more efficient. But is it truly worth it?

 

You tell me.

 


I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use, and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them. - Galileo Galilei
Build Logs: Tophat (in progress), DNAF | Useful Links: How To: Choosing Your Storage Devices and Configuration, Case Study: RAID Tolerance to Failure, Reducing Single Points of Failure in Redundant Storage , Why Choose an SSD?, ZFS From A to Z (Eric1024), Advanced RAID: Survival Rates, Flashing LSI RAID Cards (alpenwasser), SAN and Storage Networking

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can sum that up with:

 

"It's faster and if you expose it to accidental shock, it doesn't flat out die like a platter based HDD"

 

There is a reason I don't have my 750GB barracuda drive listed in my sig. I was cleaning out my system and had my parts resting on top of a storage bin. Out of nowhere a freaking pair of wasps flew into my room.. Upon taking care of them, I bumped the bin and the HDD fell around a foot. It became my ex mass storage drive that day. Later on I ordered a drive that was on sale and it was DOA because it was packed badly..screw mechanical drives, bring on the SSDs!


SNOWHEART - laptop

Model: TRACER III 17R XTREME VR 800 || CPU: Intel i7-8750H  || RAM: AData 16GB || GPU: Nvidia RTX 2070 || Storage: Intel 660P 512GB Display: 1920x1080p 144hz

 

 

PRISIMHEART 2.0 - desktop

Case: TT Core V1 || PSU: EVGA Supernova P2 750w || MB: Asrock Fata1ity AB350 Gaming-ITX/ac || CPU: AMD Ryzen R5 1600 || CPU Cooler: Cryorig H7 w/ FD Venturi fan || RAM: G.Skill Flare X 16GB || GPU: Galax GTX 1070 EXOC-SNPR || Storage: Samsung 860 Evo 1TB + Crucial MX500 1TB + SG Firecuda 2TB

 

PERIPHERALS / DISPLAY

Keyboard: Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum || Mouse: Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum + Steelseries RIval 650 || Monitor: HP Omen 32

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP

Also if anyone knows how to get rid of super large spacing like you see above, please let me know.


I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use, and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them. - Galileo Galilei
Build Logs: Tophat (in progress), DNAF | Useful Links: How To: Choosing Your Storage Devices and Configuration, Case Study: RAID Tolerance to Failure, Reducing Single Points of Failure in Redundant Storage , Why Choose an SSD?, ZFS From A to Z (Eric1024), Advanced RAID: Survival Rates, Flashing LSI RAID Cards (alpenwasser), SAN and Storage Networking

Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice article kudos

I would clean it up with some spoilers. [spoiIer=Title]


Big Bertha3570k @ 4.5GhzASRock Fatal1ty Z777970 DCUII TOP EVGA GTX 780Swiftech H220 w/ NF-F1216GB RAM128GB Kingston HyperX 3K1TB Western Digital Black40GB Western Digital Raptor 10K PeripheralsMionix 3200 MouseCMStorm Quickfire Rapid w/ Cherry MX Blues2 x Dell U2713HM AudioAsus ROG Orion Pro HeadsetSony XB-500AKG K240Bose AE2i​Fiio E10

Samsung Galaxy S45.0" 1920x1080p Super AMOLED screen16GB Storage2600 mAh battery1.9Ghz quad-core Krait CPU2GB RAMCyanogenMod CameraNikon D310018x55mm NIKKOR VR Lens14.2 MP
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP

Very nice article kudos

I would clean it up with some spoilers. [spoiIer=Title]

 

Definitely a good idea.


I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use, and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them. - Galileo Galilei
Build Logs: Tophat (in progress), DNAF | Useful Links: How To: Choosing Your Storage Devices and Configuration, Case Study: RAID Tolerance to Failure, Reducing Single Points of Failure in Redundant Storage , Why Choose an SSD?, ZFS From A to Z (Eric1024), Advanced RAID: Survival Rates, Flashing LSI RAID Cards (alpenwasser), SAN and Storage Networking

Link to post
Share on other sites

Once you go for an SSD Boot or Storage you will never go back to HDD. Its expensive and depends on your usage (Most write) it does not give you the reliability as a HDD.  

If you have a laptop i highly suggest an SSD its more reliable compared to a HDD because you move drop shock the thing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×