SSD vs HDD pricing

On July 2, 2012, in Storage News, by Nick Parsons

In days gone by, the best way to speed up your PC was to upgrade the processor, install some extra RAM or buy a high-end graphics card it you focused on gaming or multimedia. Hardware has evolved so quickly in recent times that today’s processors, such as Intel’s i-series, are powerful enough to handle even the most demanding tasks. The bottleneck  in most of today’s systems is the hard drive (HDD). Switching from a HDD to a solid state drive (SSD) will transform your PC instantly. Boot times often decrease by a factor of 3 or 4, whilst applications and files open instantly. An upgrade to an SSD might sound like a boring change to most computer users, but once you have experienced the speed and lightening response times they provide you will be asking yourself why you didn’t make the change a long time ago.

There are 2 factors which have, and still do, limit the number of users who move across to SSD technology. Firstly, the issue of capacity – the amount of space available for you to store your operating system, applications and data. Modern HDDs are capable of storing up to 4TB of data if you consider the latest 3.5″ desktop drives, with 2.5″ laptop drives able to store up to 1TB of data in a much smaller package. Current consumer SSDs, such as offerings from OCZ, can be found in capacities up to 480GB, but expect to pay more than the value of your actual PC or laptop for an SSD of this size. The most common SSD found right now is 120GB, which is enough for your OS, a number of applications with some space left over for the average person’s documents and pictures. Feel the need to add some movies and music to that mix and you’ll hit a problem, your 120GB SSD will no longer cut it. There are ways around this, like adding a HDD to your system for storage whilst leaving the OS and applications on the SSD, but this falls outside the scope of this discussion.

The second obstacle facing those wishing to acquire an SSD is price. The price of a 240GB SSD? Between R2,500 and R3,000. Many, many times more than a 1TB HDD which holds more than 4 times the data. SSD prices have, however, decreased in price by about 65% over the last year. The opposite is true for the price of HDDs, which have actually increased since the floods in Thailand last year. Comparatively, SSDs are still many times more expensive on a Rand/GB basis than HDDs, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. In terms of pure storage capacity, HDDs are king. They offer many times the storage capacity at a fraction of the price.

SSD cost per GB

As SSD prices continue to fall, the advantages of SSD technology are becoming increasingly attractive. A myth exists that SSD drives are almost immune from failure. Unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth. Although SSD drives have no moving parts, run very cool and are more robust that conventional HDDs, they most certainly do fail. From a data recovery perspective, SSDs are complex devices to recover data from. None of the usual HDD recovery techniques apply. SouthBit Data Recovery provides recovery services for SSDs, but expect the costs to be significantly higher than regular HDD recovery due to the complexity of these devices.

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