10 Reasons Why SSDs Are Better Than Mechanical Disks

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Hardware' started by reghakr, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. reghakr

    reghakr Excellent Member

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    Have you ever heard the terms, head crash or stiction? Better yet, have you ever experienced either of them? These terms are just two of the unhappy occurrences associated with mechanical disks. What if disks didn't spin? What if there were a way to create rewriteable storage in such a way that there were no platters, no spindles and no heads? You'd have a solid state disk with no moving parts. Solid state disks (SSDs) are all the rage for server vendors, SAN vendors, and appliance manufacturers. Why? Not because they're cheap -- they're not. SSDs have several advantages over traditional mechanical (spinning) disks. Here are 10 of the most frequently quoted advantages of SSDs over mechanical disks.

    1. Life Expectancy

    Mechanical drives have an average life expectancy of three to five years. Many fail long before the lower end of the average, and few last beyond the upper end of the average. At three years, you should seriously consider a refresh. At five years, you're skating on ice so thin it's really just very cold water. Alternatively, SSDs have life expectancies reaching into decades, although trusting the 1 million to 2 million hour SSD expectancy claims seems as ridiculous as the 500,000-hour claims of mechanical drive manufacturers. Expect your SSDs to last two to three times longer than mechanical drives.

    2. Performance

    Since SSDs have no moving parts, their access and seek times are many times faster than those of their mechanical counterparts. Mechanical drives have high-burst speeds, but their sustained speeds are unimpressive by SSD standards. However, write performance is not significantly different between the two technologies*. Therefore, read and access performance-heavy workloads will benefit from SSDs, while workloads that are write-intensive would do as well with the less-expensive standard disks.

    3. Physical Size

    You usually see standard disks in 3.5 inch or 2.5 inch formats, but SSDs take small form factor two steps further with 1.0 inch and 1.8 inch disks. These smaller sizes allow manufacturers to build smaller appliances, mobile systems and blades that occupy very little space. With rack space at a premium, that's a very good thing.

    4. Shock Resistance

    SSDs are a good choice for mobile systems due to their resistance to drops, bumps and g-forces. Such forces don't often act on standard concrete and steel data centers, but what about mobile ones -- mobile data centers such as those used by ground military forces, aboard ships, on aircraft or at trade shows? Movement can have devastating effects on mechanical drives, especially during write events. SSDs, again having no moving parts, aren't affected by mobility and are well-suited to such physical abuse. SSDs can withstand up to 1,500 g during operation or 25 times that of a standard drive.

    5. Failure Rate

    Any mechanical or electrical device can, and will, fail, but your chances are greater for failure when those parts are in motion. Mechanical disks are not particularly robust and can fail at any time, as one manufacturer's representative once stated, "Any time between 15 seconds and 10 years." While SSDs haven't reached the adoption level of mechanical drives, manufacturers estimate very low failure rates compared to standard technology.

    6. Power Loss Protection

    Enterprise-class SSDs rely on power failure circuitry to monitor voltage changes. If the voltage drops below the threshold, a secondary voltage hold-up circuit ensures that the drive has sufficient power to save any pending writes to disk. A supercapacitor, a discrete bank of capacitors or a battery acts as this secondary voltage hold-up circuit.

    7. Power Consumption

    SSDs draw very little power. Even at a full sprint, SSDs consume approximately three Watts or less compared to six or more Watts by standard disks. However, most impressive is the power consumption of quiescent drives. SSDs sip from 0.05 Watts to 1.3 Watts, while their gluttonous counterparts gobble at a rate of 4 Watts or more. You will pay more for an SSD, but the long-term cost reduction might offset the initial sticker shock.

    8. Heat Dissipation

    Everyone knows heat kills electronic performance. That's why data centers have to stay at those chilly temperatures. SSDs reduce heat dissipation significantly compared to their spinning cousins. Less heat loss means lower cooling requirements, which in turn means reduced costs. Less heat to move away from sensitive electronics also means that system fan sizes can shrink along with your power consumption. Mechanical drives are responsible for more than 70 percent of the heat generated from a system. Without them, you could realize sizable savings and longer lasting hardware.

    9. Hot Plug/Unplug Ability

    It might not surprise you to know that SSDs have hot plug and unplug capability. However, it might surprise you to know that since SSDs don't have to "spin up," their capacity is available immediately upon plug-in. Although it might take several seconds for your operating system to recognize the drive, you will not have to wait through a lengthy discovery process or an even lengthier reboot.

    10. Noise

    If you've ever stood in a data center, you probably noticed the very high noise level. Imagine a data center filled with SSDs instead of standard drives. Other than the sound of system fans, cabinet fans and the central air conditioning system, the data center becomes significantly quieter. As noted in the Heat Dissipation entry, fans would likely experience a 'downsizing' as well and further reduce the ambient noise level.
    * Some independent tests conclude that SSDs write two to three times faster than standard hard disks. However, there are studies that suggest the differences are not so marked

    Source: http://www.serverwatch.com/trends/article.php/12128_3926131_2/10-Reasons-Why-SSDs-Are-Better-Than-Mechanical-Disks.htm
     
  2. Highwayman

    Highwayman Extraordinary Member

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    and the number one reason why they are currently hated... PRICE PER GIG.... although each year its getting better cheapest SSD i've seen was a 32gb one for about £45, for that you can easily get a Terrabyte sata drive.

    Until they get a drive of 200gb for under £100 they will remain a enthusiast item and not mainstay.
     
    #2 Highwayman, Feb 27, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2011
  3. reghakr

    reghakr Excellent Member

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    Very well put
     
  4. whoosh

    whoosh Cooler King
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    I am using a 64 GIG SSD drive for my OS and installed software . Fantastic lowering of heat ! I found while converting a video to DVD
    format considerable heat was generated . Now thanks to the SSD practically none . Cool and quiet running at all times .
    It give a great feeling of confidence knowing that the chances of having a hard drive mulfunction are considerable reduced .
    With a standard hardrive there is always the chance of a failure at any time . This can lead to fear concerning data loss . So another hard drive could be needed just to ensure peace of mind.
    The SSD with its reliable and near perfect data storage does allow one the luxury of relaxing around data storage .
    I found the initial price of a £108 heavy for a mere 64GIG of storage but the peace of mind worth every penny :)
     
  5. Highwayman

    Highwayman Extraordinary Member

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    Theres no denying the SSD technology is better in every way, but early adopters are paying well over the odds for them, sure they are fine for a OS install, but useless for gamers without deep pockets.
     
  6. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Well here's my reason:

    Here are some benchmarks comparing CRUCIAL_CT128M225 (SSD) vs. Seagate Barracuda ST31500341AS (SATA2). Both are SATA2 drives. However, the Crucials are in a 6x RAID-0 which hasn't failed in 2 years.

    These SSDs are rarely sold now since Crucial has come out with the SATA3 models.

    So this is RAID-0 with 6 SSDs vs. Seagate Barracuda (ONE DRIVE):

    ssd-bench.

    Here is a benchmark of ONE of those SSDs:

    onessd.

    So if you want exponential performance improvements with very little margin for error or failure, go with SSDs. Specifically, I recommend Crucial for home-built systems. However, there are server based SSDs that will plug into the PCI-E x16 slots for superior performance. We are using 80GB Intel X25-M SSDs for our main server that hosts the forums. This is not for performance, but for reliability, shock protection, etc. We also offload backups to standard drives every night. Occasionally, these backups are moved the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (which you can bet is using industrial SSDs by now) via Dropbox. We also have the ability to offload them for off-site backup to MaxCDN's content delivery network for another level of backup.

    I would not assemble a new server for any business without proposing the use of solid state drives first anymore. Their reliability and efficiency outweighs the expense of SCSI drives and even for high-end home systems and workstations the 128GB versions are relatively affordable, when you consider a high-end graphics card is around the same price.

    By the way? An Intel Core i7 system with 24GB DDR3 RAM using 1 of those SSDs and GeForce HD 6850 card at maximum load uses 35 watts of electricity on a Gigabyte UD5 Rev. 2 motherboard.
     
    #6 Mike, Mar 1, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2011
  7. Highwayman

    Highwayman Extraordinary Member

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    an average 6850 uses about 130w idle from info posted around web, not sure why you have 35w for full load
     
    #7 Highwayman, Mar 1, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
  8. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Sorry, this is a 35w load from a 1000w PSU and it is running at full load. I fail to see how the UPS could be giving inaccurate readings, or perhaps this is only the % of load that is going over its normal operating threshold.

    watts.

    You've got me. I'm sure it may be using much more power, but who knows? The UPS load may only be a percentile of the actual power the system is using.
     
  9. Highwayman

    Highwayman Extraordinary Member

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    well maybe thats marked down to the energy saving tech built in??
     
  10. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Damnit. Its not plugged in! Only the monitor and speakers are. Hold on a second :D
     
  11. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    252 watts with prime95 and BOINC but I'm not maxing out the GPU. If so it would be a bit higher. I would estimate an absolute maximum of 400W.
     
  12. Highwayman

    Highwayman Extraordinary Member

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    LMAO, just as well that subject came up, had ya hiney out in the open unprotected there...lol
     
  13. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    That IS a system used for testing mind you. It is good to see the results are not different though. On a system using a much larger monitor and 6 SSDs, many USB ports in use, the result is not much difference with the same vid card. Max power the SSD will draw is very little, especially when on idle. For most used SSD I have a powered-on hour count of 9,914 hours (413 days) with no error and, graciously, no noise.
     
  14. Highwayman

    Highwayman Extraordinary Member

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    yea I can't wait to move up to SSDs myself, but as it stands it would cost £300+ just to house my steam account games...lol
     
  15. scajjr2

    scajjr2 New Member

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    I just added an OCZ Agility2 120Gb SSD as my boot drive. I was fortunate to get it for $149 (Newegg had it on sale, I had just received a 20% off any SSD coupon from them and it also had a $20 rebate). Have Win7 x64 and a few apps on it. Win7 loads in about 10 secs, apps load almost instantly.

    Sam
     
  16. Highwayman

    Highwayman Extraordinary Member

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    Just out of interest, where do the new Hybrid drives stand in the scheme of things? are they better than normal 7200 sata drives? I'd been looking at them last year but never bothered in the end to get one, from what I recall they usually have a intergrated 4gig SSD drive which was used as a fast buffer to the normal drive or something.
     
  17. scajjr2

    scajjr2 New Member

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    Seagate's Momentus XT drives are the only ones I know of. 2.5" form factor, one review I read said notebook drive power usage with velociraptor drive speeds.

    sam
     

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