Your Solid State Drive May Outlive You

by Michael Anderson

June 22, 2015

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When shopping for a new computer, you’re faced with a choice; go with a traditional hard drive (HDD), or a solid state drive (SSD). The benefits of an SSD are many, but are they enough to justify the extra expense?

To accurately answer this question, you first need to consider your computing needs. If you’re on a tight budget and looking to buy a workstation that can run basic productivity applications like Microsoft Excel and your preferred customer relationship management product, then you shouldn’t need the extra performance provided by an SSD, and an HDD will suit your needs.

SSDs are preferred for tasks that use a lot of resources, like rendering video and high-end graphics. In the past, a business that didn’t need this extra power might have overlooked SSD, concluding that it’s simply not worth the money. However, there’s another benefit to SSDs that should appeal to virtually every business owner: SSD lifespan.

In the IT world, it’s common knowledge that the average lifespan of an HDD is five years. Plus, thanks to the small and moving parts associated with an HDD, it’s not a matter of if, but when it will fail. According to a recent study by Backblaze, which analyzed the lifespan of more than 41,000 drives used in their data centers, the lifespan of an HDD drops down to four years if it’s seeing constant use, like in a server unit.

Therefore, if the only reason you’re buying a new computer is to get you through a couple of years, then HDD should work out fine. However, if you’re looking to get maximum ROI out of your equipment and have it last as long as possible, then the lifespan of an SSD makes it well worth the extra expense. This begs the question, “Just how long do SSDs last?”

Due to SSDs being a comparatively newer technology, the IT world still doesn’t have a concrete answer. One reason for this is due to the fact that one doesn’t judge SSD lifespan based on actual hours in use, but rather, how many reads and writes the drive performs. To that end, TechReport did a stress test and saw more than 700TB of data read and written to a single SSD before it failed. Lifehacker has put this ridiculous number into perspective:

These drives usually come with a three to five year warranty, and manufacturers assume you’ll write 20GB-40GB per day in data. That means to get to that 700TB, you’d have to do 40GB every day for 17,500 days, or about 50 years.

50 years! That’s ten times the expected lifespan of an HDD. Even though an SSD will cost you more money, it won’t cost you more than ten times the amount of an HDD. Especially with the technology becoming more affordable as time goes on. Plus, concerning the TechReport stress test, a 700TB SSD lifespan is on the low end. ArsTechnica explains how TechReport found some SSDs to last much, much longer:

The other three SSDs are still working and have made it past 1PB of writes, and TechReport’s torture test remains ongoing. However long the drives do end up lasting, it’s definitely long enough to put to rest a lot of fears about current-generation SSD lifetime limits.

In your quest for a new computer, findings like this should really help clear things up. SSDs are clearly the superior drive in virtually every way, including additional areas like power consumption and durability. The many benefits of SSD make it worth the extra money for businesses looking to turn their computer purchase into an investment.

365 Technologies is here to help you make important technology decisions like this so that you can get the most out of your IT investments. Additionally, we’ve got the tools it takes to protect and maintain your IT equipment so that it will perform optimally and last you as long as possible. To learn more about how 365 can help your business get the most out of its technology, give us a call at (204)488-3655.

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