Dispelling the myths: Uncovering the truth of SSDs

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Thanks to incredible performance, reliability, and decreasing price points, solid state drives (SSDs) are becoming increasingly common in today’s desktops and notebooks. But since SSDs aren’t the most common data storage technology, some myths persist that can make some buyers wary. Let’s explore the truth of SSDs to see when and where they’re a good choice for desktops and notebooks.

Myth #1. “SSDs aren’t as fast as HDDs in some circumstances”

SSDs are really fast. A typical 7200RPM laptop hard disk provides about 200 IOs per second (IOPS). A typical consumer SSD, like the Samsung 850 PRO, provides thousands of IOPS on top of a massive reduction in latency by 10 times or more. In other words, an SSD not only sends more data at a time, it responds to requests much more quickly.

It’s true that HDDs perform well in sequential data access, which refers to accessing large contiguous blocks of data located on adjacent locations of a hard disk platter. But HDD performance on sequential disk access doesn’t outstrip SSD performance – SSDs are faster than HDDs at any task.

What does that mean for a user? On essentially every client application and task, an SSD will outperform a hard drive. Boot times are faster, application launches are faster, I/O intensive tasks are faster, and shutdown is faster. The quickest way to boost client performance is by adding an SSD.

Myth #2. “SSDs can’t be wiped securely”

Data security worries many users, especially businesses and governments because there’s a real risk to misplacing data. During an average notebook’s lifecycle, the system might move from one user to another, be deployed in another country, and then finally be decommissioned when obsolete. In any of these cases, it’s important to securely wipe the drive to avoid data security breaches.

It’s true that HDD wipe utilities can’t be used with SSDs, due to the technology differences. But it’s also true that most vendors supply software to facilitate secure wiping, like Samsung’s Magician. When an ATA Secure Erase (SE) command is issued, the SSD resets all of its storage cells by releasing stored electrons – thus restoring the SSD to its factory default condition. SE will process all storage regions, including the protected service regions of the media.

Myth #3. “SSDs are unreliable”

This is a common misunderstanding. HDDs are a tried and tested technology, while SSDs are newer, so many buyers wonder: are SSDs as dependable as hard drives?

“SSDs wear out.” It’s true, the memory cells used in SSDs have a limited number of read/write cycles before they burn out. However, consumer SSDs are engineered to account for this issue. Technology ensures that the drives wear evenly. Manufacturers also put “spare” memory on the drive (just like having spare tracks on a spinning HDD) that can replace dying or dead cells on a device.

Solid state drives also have wear-leveling, which sends each write to a different cell rather than writing to the same cell again and again. This produces evens wear and extends drive lifespan. Typically, workloads are read-intensive (usually two to three reads per one write) and reads don’t wear the cells on an SSD. Therefore, most application activity has no impact on the SSD’s operational life.

What does that mean in practice? A 256 GB SSD used in a corporate client environment that writes 40GB per day has an expected lifespan of over 16 years – your SSD will outlive the other components of your system.

Going beyond lifespan, SSDs are also more durable and reliable than their HDD counterparts. Hard drives, full of moving parts, are susceptible to damage caused by loss of power or physical impact. Solid State Drives are more robust simply because they don’t have moving parts, and are rated to be four times more shock resistant than their HDD counterparts.

A study by Samsung, Google, and Carnegie Mellon also shows annualized return rates (ARR) for SSDs that are twelve times lower compared to HDDs.

Dispelling the Myths and Next Steps:

Buyers don’t have to be worried about SSDs – they’ve proven their worth in millions of client deployments. It’s fair to say that SSD should be considered for most desktops and notebooks, especially those running performance intensive tasks, those being moved from site to site, or those where data security is an important consideration.

Samsung, the world’s leading supplier of SSDs, offers a broad portfolio covering all of your capacity, form-factor, and interface needs.

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