Data storage is something that has become essential to people of the new millennium. Everywhere you look, almost everyone has a laptop in hand. While it is apparent that they are utilizing the device for basic needs, like work or school, most of them are not aware of the ins and outs of how their data is being stored. An obvious example that we can gather is one’s knowledge about the difference of SSD (solid-state drives) between Magnetic Spinning Drives. To a layman’s eyes, drives are just drives. They’re simply installed in their computers to store their files, so what’s the big deal? Why is it important to know the difference?
SSDs and Magnetic Spinning Drives Defined
If you have had the experience of shopping for your own laptop, there is a high chance of you hearing the terms SSD and HDD. Now, this is something that a tech-savvy wouldn’t have a hard time understanding, but for an average customer, this is a cause for head scratches and chin rubs. While knowing the difference between the two is not a requirement, it’s better to have an understanding, especially if you’re really looking for the one that best suits your needs. If you’re a buyer who wants to know more about what he’s buying, then read on!
What is an SSD?
For starters, SSD stands for Solid State Drive. Now, admit it, we know that you’re familiar with USB drives. It’s probably the most widely-used data storage device out there. In an SSD’s case, you can think of it as an over-sized USB drive. Like an average memory stick, SSDs have no moving parts. The information it gathers is installed in microchips. Usually, an SSD uses what is called NAND-based flash memory. This enables it to store data and “remember” it even after turning the disk off. This is, of course, a pre-requisite to any type of permanent memory. Generally, an SSD comes in a standard 1.8”, 2.5”, or 3.5” size that can fit perfectly into the connectors and housing for the same-sized hard drives.
What is a Magnetic Spinning Drive?
As you already may have known, your computer needs to store data in a digital format. One of the most widely used types of digital storage is the magnetic storage. There are several types of magnetic storage, but in these modern days, the most popular type is the magnetic spinning drive or most commonly referred to as the Hard Disk Drive (HDD). Hard Disk Drives have been around for years. It was first introduced by IBM in the mid-50s, making it a 60-year old technology! As the term itself suggests, this magnetic spinning drive uses magnetism to store data in a spinning platter. A read and write head floats above the rotating platter that does all the work. The faster the platter spins, the faster the performance of an HDD. Looking at it from the outside, HDDs practically look the same us SSDs and use the SATA interface. The usual size of laptop hard drives is the 2.5” form factor, while a larger 3.5” form factor is used for desktop computers.
Now that we have an overview of the two types of drives, it’s time to delve in much deeper and compare them.
Solid State Drive and Magnetic Drive: A Comparison
Just like in any situation that requires decision-making, weighing your options is one way to get there. There are a few factors we can consider in comparing these two data storage devices.
In terms of capacity, SSDs have a maximum of 4TB for desktops and less than 1TB for smaller notebook drives. On the other hand, the magnetic drive has an average of 500GB up to 2TB for smaller notebook size drives and has a maximum of 10TB for desktops.
HDDs consume an average battery life of 6-7 watts, while SDDs only draws an average of 2-3 watts.
OS Boot Time
HDDs consume 30-40 seconds bootup time while it only costs 10-13 seconds for SSDs.
File Copy Speed
For magnetic drives, their file copy speed ranges from 50-120MBs, while SSDs have a writing speed of more than 200MBs up to 550MBs.
File Opening Speed
SSDs are faster than HDDs up to 30% when it comes to file opening speed,
When it comes to encryption, both SSDs and HDDs have FDE or Full Disk Encryption on some supported models. This feature means protects all data stored in your computer through using passwords as locks.
Magnets are really harmful to HDDs as it can possibly erase some files. On the other hand, magnets do not really have any kind of effects on SDDs.
Vibration, Noise and Produced Heat
SSDs do not vibrate; do not produce much heat and do not create noises because they do not have moving parts. HDDs have platters and other moving parts resulting in vibration and some spinning noises can be heard. HDDs also amount more heat as it draws a larger amount of power and it also has moving parts.
2 to 3-year-old SSDs have a significantly lower annual replacement rate than HDDs mainly because they have moving parts that made them physically vulnerable. It’s a mechanical reality for hard drives that its moving parts just wear out over time and although SSDs have a little advantage on this, it’s important to be aware that SDDs memory bank can only be written and read for just a limited number of times.
So which is really better, HDDs or SSDs? Both of these drives have advantages and disadvantages and their reliability and importance will still depend on your personal needs. The comparison above just shows the drives forte, but to help you, even more, to decide what’s the best for you, here are some tips.
Choose HDDs if:
- You do not intend to spend a large amount of money
- You badly need a lot of storage space
- You don’t necessarily need to open your programs super fast
Choose SSDs if:
- Speed is your priority and you do not mind spending an amount of money
- You do not need much more than a 4TB amount of storage space.
Majority of people still use that standard HDDs. However, as people want to step up their computer’s performance SSDs are also being highly recognized in the market. Your choice will always depend on what you want and what you need.
A Little Throwback through the History of Hard Drive Interfaces
The old large exceptional machines back in the days have now evolved into personal computers. Everything is now really easy as input devices are continuously improving for the better. These input devices are the interface that allows a connection between the computer and the user. However, this interface also needs connectors to hook up to the computer’s internal system which resulted in the birth of several setups like IDE, SATA, SCSI, SAS and a lot more.
The need for a physical interface to connect computers to peripheral devices arose in the 1970s. Shugart Associates System Interface or SASI came into life and fill the role of being a ‘50-pin flat ribbon connector’ between computers and hard drives. This interface was released in the market as SCSI 1 and pronounced as ‘scuzzy’ but the acronym itself means small computer system interface. Nowadays, this is the most common parallel interface being used by many computer companies. SCSIs allow several devices to be connected, ranging from 7-15 depending on the bus’ width. It is a great advantage as it allows all of your needed devices in just one board. The most updated SCSI supports IEEE, Fiber Cable, and SSP, compatible backward and with data transmission rate of 80MB per second. Specifically, SCSI can support devices such as scanners, plotters, keyboards, mouse, and printers.
In the past, IDE had over 80-ribbon and 40-pin cables but the most recent in the market has over 28 pins. This interface is also known as ATA or AT attachment and is commonly used as connectors for CD-ROM drives and hard disk drives, supporting 8/16 bit interface that can transfer an average of 8.3MBs for ATA 2 and an average of 100MBs for ATA 6. Small Form Factor Committee has developed quite a few versions ATA which includes ATA, ATA-2, ATA-3, Ultra-ATA, ATA/66, and ATA/100.
Last 2003, Serial ATA was launched as a replacement for IDE. Since it was released, they have been a trend to every personal computer since they have made a new technique of transmitting information between the motherboard and the drive only with the use of fast serial bus instead of a slow parallel interface. The first SATAs were presented with an interface of 1.5GB/second while the recent SATAs can transmit an average of 6GB/second. It is a serial link cable with an average of four wires that connects devices point-to-point. Aside from serial connectivity SATA also offers hotplugging which enables every user to replace computer apparatus without the need to turn the system off. At the same time, SATA holds a very important open source interface, the AHCI or the Advanced Host Controller Interface.
Serial Attached SCSI is basically a “point-to-point serial peripheral interface” where disk drives are directly linked. SAS is a great improvement over the traditional interface as it allows 128 different sizes and kinds of devices to be connected at the same time through longer and thinner cables. It supports 3GB per second transmission through its full-duplex signal transmission and also has a hot-plug feature.
The development of these interfaces has given a result to the better consistency, reliability, increased data transfer rates and ultimate performance of storage spaces. A great choice of hard drive and interface will absolutely level up your working performance.
Data Archiving and Archive Storage Devices
Data archiving, a practice and a method of transferring certain data that is not currently in use or needed to another storage device for records retention for professional business reasons or for future reference. Archive data are compiled in the most meticulous ways, stored and retained with indexed to easily find or locate when needed.
Data archiving and data backups are often confused with one another. Data archiving is storing and keeping past information that is not actively used but may have needed to be used in the future. This method is a way to increase space in the primary storage device and very suitable for keeping data such as database records, important emails, and files as a part of the operational business requirement. On the other hand, data backups are done as a data revival method for restoring it in time when unfortunate events happen that result to it being destroyed or corrupted.
A Glimpse of Data Archiving in the Past
From the very start of the discovery of computers, it has been a problem that we continue on producing files and consuming spaces until we reached its maximum storage. The world is continuously revolving and even data archiving have been through different phases before it came to what it is today and up until now, we are still facing a great need for reliable digital storage devices for effective data archiving purposes. However, before we move forward on a new discovery let’s take a glimpse on the timeline of our data archiving history.
Origin of Removable Storage Devices
Even before the existence of computers, there was already a bunch of mechanical devices used for computing purposes. Herman Hollerith made a device through rectangular cards punched with holes as an indication of certain census information such as age and gender to simplify the process of data tabulation. Not long after, in the early 1950s, the birth of computers had only made these punch cards the basic method for inputting data.
Magnetic Cartridges and Open-Reel Tapes
Since the 1950s up to the 1980s, all of the minicomputers and mainframes users have been utilizing magnetic tapes for their businesses. These 10 ½ reels serve as tape drives and a thin metal strip magnetically records the data. A computer that has over nine-track tapes can averagely store 175MB in each tape. Since that was still the good old days it was already considered as a large amount of data appropriate for weeks of archiving. Nowadays, that 175 MB would probably might not even enough to store your favorite movies.
As the 1990s came, Linear Tape-Open was born. LTO is a well-developed digital tape that could store up to 100GB of data. Up to this day, there is still an amount of demand for these tapes since its storage space soared up to 6TB each tape. However, as cloud storage has been on trend for data archiving and backup industry, LTO might soon be phased out.
As computers evolved, cassette recorders also came into life with the sole purpose of creating a low-cost and convenient way of saving and recording music. It also served as a way of communication when phone calls back then cost a luxury. Cassette recorders allowed people before to create and save command.
Floppy disks were born in the 1970s and its popularity remained for decades. This portable storage device started as eight inches that could store 80KB of data. As time passed by it was continuously improving and 5 ¼ designs were released which accommodates 120KB of data. Apple’s Macintosh followed in 1984, with the size of 3 ½ inches and stores up to 1.44MB each disk absolutely became the dominant portable storage device that era.
DVDs and CDs
In the 1980s, Compact Discs have been famous and popular for being a great music storage. However, CD burners are still very expensive and it has the size of a washing machine. Thanks for the ever-improving technology, in 1990s CD-Rs, improved and came with lower prices.
As people need a lot more space for storage, DVD-R and DVD-RW came and shared the good news. Each disc allows 4.3GB of data storage and it absolutely became even better when dual-layer media and burners allowed an 8GB storage space. Blu-ray disc becomes one of the most popular brands in the market as they level up the game by providing 25 GB to 128 GB capacity to their discs.
In the late 2000s, Flash Drives was released in the market. It was a very convenient portable storage device and removable as they come into small sizes. It was made with a combination of transistors and chips and goes for a maximum capacity of 64GB. Flash Drives are also less sensitive when it comes to rewriting and saving files and it is never affected by any kind of electromagnetic issues. As this device becomes a trend all over the world they have now replaced DVDs and CDs.
Cloud Data Storage
As the people discovered the internet, people are still not stopping in making the most out of it. Cloud data storage has been introduced to the world as a place where they can store an infinite amount of data storage. Cloud data provide infinite storage services and accessibility from any parts of the world anytime. However, cloud security is a never-ending issue when it comes to the services they are providing.
Storage devices have definitely faced a lot of changes before coming this far. It is great to know where this has all started and it is now our decision to choose the best data storage that will suit our needs and wants.
Data Diversity, Brief History of Data Storage – http://www.dataversity.net/brief-history-data-storage/
Backblaze, A History of Removable Computer Storage- https://www.backblaze.com/blog/history-removable-computer-storage/
Search Data Backup, Data archiving techniques: Choosing the best archive media- https://searchdatabackup.techtarget.com/tip/Data-archiving-techniques-Choosing-the-best-archive-media
Computer Wekkly, SATA, SCSI and SAS: Which drive is right for your storage environment? -https://www.computerweekly.com/news/1362941/SATA-SCSI-and-SAS-Which-drive-is-right-for-your-storage-environment
ProStorage, SCSI vs. SATA vs. IDE – The Technology Evolution- https://getprostorage.com/blog/scsi-vs-sata-vs-ide/
Webopedia, Understanding SAS, SATA, SCSI and ATA- https://www.webopedia.com/DidYouKnow/Computer_Science/sas_sata.asp
What is IDE/ATA Hard Drive? – https://www.hdd-tool.com/hdd-basic/hard-drive-introduction-and-comparison.html#.W7b6hXszbIV
Backblaze, A History of Hard Drives- https://www.backblaze.com/blog/history-hard-drives/
SSD vs HDD- https://www.storagereview.com/ssd_vs_hdd
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