Today’s Question: Do you prefer a solid-state drive (SSD) or a hard drive (HD), considering read/write performance as well as lifespan?
Tim’s Quick Answer: All things considered, I very much prefer a solid-state drive to a traditional hard drive because of improved performance and good reliability, though at a higher price point.
More Detail: A solid-state drive (SSD) provides improved performance and lower power consumption compared to a traditional hard drive (HD). The main disadvantage of an SSD compared to an HD is cost, and to some extent a concern over reliability.
Comparing reliability for SSD versus HD storage is a bit tricky, because both use different methods of storage and are therefore subject to different causes of failure. With flash-based SSD storage, a failure is virtually guaranteed after a certain period of time, because the flash memory can only function for a limited number of write/erase cycles.
Still, based on typical usage, an SSD drive can be expected to last for a good five years or more before failure. Generally speaking, you can also expect warning signs before a failure of an SSD drive. As always, a good workflow for backing up your photos and other important files will help ensure you can recover from any failure.
So, all things considered I recommend opting for SSD storage if you don’t mind paying a bit extra for your storage. You’ll get improved performance and reduced power consumption. And if you get any warning signs that your drive is not performing reliably, take those warnings seriously and have the SSD tested or replaced.
You can find some of the top external SSD storage devices here: