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SSD vs. HDD, what nobody seems to think of

  1. #1


    Posts : 148
    Windows 8.1 Update 1

    SSD vs. HDD, what nobody seems to think of


    Today I installed a new HDD (WD Red, 6 TB) since I ran out of space for my Music and Movie collection. That's when I realized the hard way why HDDs in their current state have no future compared to SSDs. I spent almost 48 hours moving and resizing partitions, copying data... Most of the time I had to wait hours before I could continue with the next step since my HDDs (all SATA 3 devices, connected to a SATA 3 capable mainboard) where copying data at painfully slow 40 MB/s. Just so we have done the math: If I had to copy the entire volume of my new HDD that would mean 6'000'000 MB / 40 / 60 / 60 = 41.67 hours of waiting. I know, 1 GB is not exacty 1'000 MB and so on but for the sake of simplicity I allowed myself to calculate like this.

    And here we are at my main complaint: While todays HDDs are cheap and offer an immense amount of storage space, they are actually not able to handle that enormous amount of data efficiently. Ok, maybe my mainboard - HDD combination is not the fastest but even I we double the throughput that would still mean more than 20 hours of copying. So in my opinion HDD manufacturers like WD should really stop the "arms race" of offering more and more storage as long as they actually haven't got a solution how to drastically improve data throughput of their products. What does it help to have 8 + TB HDDs if it takes half a week to make a backup of that amount of data? Plus in case of disaster the same amount of time to restore your data. But currently it does not seem like there are any ideas how to drastically improve transfer rates of HDDs, all we hear about are bigger and bigger HDDs.

    So if that does not change and SSDs keep getting bigger and bigger as well as cheaper and cheaper I fear HDDs are doomed. I might be that I will never get as much storage for the same amount of money with an SSD but at least the SSD is capable of handling the amount of data it stores. So what are your thoughts about it?
    Last edited by altae; 25 Apr 2015 at 22:10.

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  2. #2


    Posts : 356
    Windows 8.1 Enterprise


    Nice comparison, I often think (and I'm considering to do so one day) it's better to buy some old junk PC, put it into the corner of my room and use it only as storage server or something like that.
    For example that PC would have several smaller ( 1 TB or so ) ( not one big ) HDD's, that would allow me to replace or add drives from time to time, without depending on one big drive, never knowing when could go wrong.
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  3. #3


    United States
    Posts : 3,093
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit


    Has been discussed in length many times. Speed and transfer rate is what really matters. SSDs blow away HDDs when it come to that. If simply looking for a large storage option then HDD may be the way to go.

    Oh, try to break up long posts into paragraphs in the future. Very hard to read a run on paragraph. Some may not even read the whole thing. Just constructive input, I hope no offense taken, none meant.
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  4. #4


    Posts : 148
    Windows 8.1 Update 1


    Quote Originally Posted by popeye View Post
    Oh, try to break up long posts into paragraphs in the future. Very hard to read a run on paragraph. Some may not even read the whole thing. Just constructive input, I hope no offense taken, none meant.
    Done
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  5. #5



    Trying to Sith things out
    Bamberg Germany
    Posts : 2,290
    Windows 10 Pro 64 bit


    Maybe using a NAS(with smaller disks) and some kind of RAID setup(for backing up) would be more efficient.
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  6. #6


    Posts : 4
    android


    Well, there's more to it, I'm not sure what you imply nobody seems to think of.

    If your HDD filesystems are not formatted with suitable sector sizes you're going to waste time and cycles regardless of cache size. If every file is over 4,MB, then 4mb is a good sector size, but anything else wastes space on the spinning plates.

    Filecopy methods... Command line like robocopy is much faster than drag and drop. So is partition imaging.

    FTP much better than shared folders...

    SSD, is not necessary for media viewing, unless its the machine more than the drives.
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  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff S View Post
    Maybe using a NAS(with smaller disks) and some kind of RAID setup(for backing up) would be more efficient.
    I am not certain that utilizing NAS would help much. Switched, one Gbs network has an actual transfer rate of about 120MBs, that's about the maximum for gigi networks. The read/write speed of single HDD, while dependent on number of factors, can easily surpass the 120 MBs transfer rate.
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  8. #8


    Posts : 148
    Windows 8.1 Update 1


    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff S View Post
    Maybe using a NAS(with smaller disks) and some kind of RAID setup(for backing up) would be more efficient.
    Well a NAS would not help since it's neither faster (it also works with standard HDDs but it's interface is even slower than SATA 3) nor does it relieve me of making backups.

    RAID has been mentioned multiple times here but for me that's also not an alternative since it's a) too expensive because you have to work with redundant drives (you actually need twice the amount of storage in order to get the same amount you would get without a RAID setup) and b) it does also not relieve me of making backups on an external drive since simply mirroring my data does not count as backup. The drives are physically in the same place, that means if my apartment burns down or any other catastrophic event occurs my data will still be lost.

    And as much as transfer rate is concerned, 120 MB/s would be great but unfortunately that's a value that does only apply to synthetic benchmarks. Under real world conditions a single HDD will never reach that transfer rate even when using tools like FastCopy or Terracopy. Like I wrote, while reorganizing my storage after buying a new 6 TB HDD it did copy files, back up partitions, restore partitions... and transfer rate always maxed out at around 40 MB/s. And those where all relatively new SATA 3 HDDs (bought within the last 2 years), connected to the mainboard's native SATA 3 interface. What's more most files I copied where actually FLACs or even movies at 720p or 1080p which are several GB in size. So we cannot assume that the reason for the slow transfer rate must have been the fact that I did only copy small files.

    The transfer rate of HDDs was fine when we used to talk about Gigabytes of data. Then came the first TB HDDs while the transfer rate did not really improve but was still acceptable. But now we are talking about 6 + TB of data, transfered with a real world rate of under 100 MB/ s, that's simply no match for that amount of data. And while the few HDD manufacturers that are left are constantly announcing bigger and bigger drives we don't hear anything about improving the annoyingly slow transfer rate of those drives. That's why I chose the title "what nobody seems to think of".
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  9. #9


    There must be an issue on your machine if you only get 40MB/sec transfer rate.

    At work, I have 2 desktop machines. Each has a 2TB Samsung Spinpoint 5400rpm drive. I copy about 800GB of work backups each night between the 2. With a 1Gbps Ethernet connection between the 2 computers, I transfer around 85MB/sec.

    I will do a drive to drive copy for you today on the local machines and will tell you what I get between my 7200rpm OS drive and my 5400 rpm storage drive.
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  10. #10


    Posts : 454
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Quote Originally Posted by altae View Post
    And as much as transfer rate is concerned, 120 MB/s would be great but unfortunately that's a value that does only apply to synthetic benchmarks. Under real world conditions a single HDD will never reach that transfer rate even when using tools like FastCopy or Terracopy.
    That's incorrect even talking about relatively slow drives like WD green drives. When copying many GBs of large multimedia files to an empty 4 TB drive, they easily achieve those rates and higher after caching has gone to steady state (i.e. the drive is the limiting factor), and even nearly full, they achieve 80 MB/s. This is true not just for SATA but for 1 Gb networking (though the top is obviously limited by the network speed) and USB3. My 2 TB drives are a little slower.

    Like I wrote, while reorganizing my storage after buying a new 6 TB HDD it did copy files, back up partitions, restore partitions... and transfer rate always maxed out at around 40 MB/s.
    Sounds like something is wrong, one of the drives involved in the transfer is unusually slow, or perhaps you're copying from one place to another on the same drive. That's just a little above what I've observed for top USB2 speed. Even my 9 y/o WD 250 GB SATA drives that are still in use are faster than that. For a fair assessment, you should be copying between two different drives, and of course, you'll be limited by the slower drive.

    The transfer rate of HDDs was fine when we used to talk about Gigabytes of data. Then came the first TB HDDs while the transfer rate did not really improve but was still acceptable. But now we are talking about 6 + TB of data, transfered with a real world rate of under 100 MB/ s, that's simply no match for that amount of data. And while the few HDD manufacturers that are left are constantly announcing bigger and bigger drives we don't hear anything about improving the annoyingly slow transfer rate of those drives. That's why I chose the title "what nobody seems to think of".
    Seriously? I'm sure they'd make the drives infinitely fast if possible, but there are many design considerations. I've found each generation (up to 4 TB, which are the largest drives I have now) to be faster for sustained operations like writing 100s of GBs of large multimedia files than the last. I believe the increasing areal density is mostly responsible for that. Some of the really large "archival" drives they're making now use SMR and may be slower, but I haven't looked into them in any depth. I think what's true for most people with gobs of data is that they aren't copying multiple terabytes on a regular basis, just to fill a new drive or perform an initial backup.
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