SSD shipments outpaced HDDs in 2020, but capacity still favors mechanical drives

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,713   +2,022
TechSpot Elite
Well there are entire asteroids apparently composed of more gold than the Earth has ever produced flying around, but without an apparatus to collect it, it's meaningless.
It's true but that's not saying much because in our history, if you took all of the gold that humanity has ever mined and put it all together, you'd have a structure about half the size of the Washington Monument. That's not a lot of gold.

This is why it's extremely rare to buy gold in its pure form. The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin is the purest gold coin in the world at 99.99999% pure gold. To be honest though, pure gold isn't a very useful metal because it's so damn soft.
 

Markoni35

Posts: 1,228   +498
Of course they outpaced HDDs when 2 most recent updates of Windows 10 can't work with HDDs anymore. If you have a HDD it feels like using a computer from 1998. So, people were forced to upgrade HDD to SSD. I wonder if Microsoft negotiated racket with SSD producers before implementing that "improvement". I recently installed Windows 8.1 on an older laptop. Damn, that thing flies. It occupies a ridiculously low amount of RAM and flies like Supergirl.
 

Athlonite

Posts: 257   +91
They do, air offers too much resistance and some other problems that helium solves because it's much lighter.

It's not so much the resistance but the fact the air when it gets hot expands more and becomes thinner thereby offering less lift to the read\write head arms which in some cases could lead to head to platter collision. Helium does not suffer the same expansion and contraction that plain old air does so makes for a more stable environment think of the arms that move the heads like aeroplane wings they're designed to offer lift as air flows over them keeping the heads from crashing into the platter surface as the air gets hotter over 45 degrees celsius it expands and becomes thinner offering less lift and narrowing the gap between head and platter helium on the other hand does not get thinner as it heats up so maintains the same amount of lift from 10c to 65c
 

Paultimate

Posts: 32   +15
When Amazon is selling 16TB HDD-s for $325, you know that SSD-s got a long road in front of them. You can't even get a 4TB SSD for that money.

In the meantime, I just bought a 1TB SSD for $90, and couldn't be happier.

SSDs will half in price and double in capacity every 18~months.
The road isnt that long.
HDD do not have this going for them anymore and havent for a long time.

Also, most people understand having a single mechanical drive that is 16TB is pretty bad idea. Even raid thats a huge amount of data, time and risk for a home owner.
 

Paultimate

Posts: 32   +15
Of course they outpaced HDDs when 2 most recent updates of Windows 10 can't work with HDDs anymore. If you have a HDD it feels like using a computer from 1998. So, people were forced to upgrade HDD to SSD. I wonder if Microsoft negotiated racket with SSD producers before implementing that "improvement". I recently installed Windows 8.1 on an older laptop. Damn, that thing flies. It occupies a ridiculously low amount of RAM and flies like Supergirl.
Who puts 8.1 rather than 7 or early versions of 10 on an old laptop lmao
 

131dbl

Posts: 42   +13
Yes, many people have been saying this for years, and people who build systems are typically aware of this, unless their brand new to PCs or computing.

But they now have different use cases. People use mechanical drives for long term storage of data if they have TBs of data, and they use SSDs for the OS and loading programs onto. For people who don't have a large amount of data, like less than 500GB, then an SSD is all they need, along with a clone of that drive, and data backups from time to time.

Price comparison. You can now get a Seagate EXOS enterprise drive, an X16 14TB drive which is an excellent drive, for around $250 USD. You can also now get a Samsung 860 EVO 2TB drive for about $230. So, basically the same price, but you're not jumping up to NVMe quality and getting a SATA SSD for about the same price and only getting 1/7 the capacity. These are the best drives for off line data storage that doesn't have to be in the computer. Or, you step up to 1TB of NVMe storage which varies, but the newer PCIe gen4 drives that have the best speed are around $230 USD, or you can get a much slower NVMe drive and pay around $100 USD for 1TB, but you still pay the price premium for going up to 2TB drives. And because people don't like opening up their systems all the time, this is really online storage only.


In other words, there are plenty of users that need both mechanical and solid state storage.
 

131dbl

Posts: 42   +13
Who puts 8.1 rather than 7 or early versions of 10 on an old laptop lmao

Do you want the pros/cons on that one?

I'd install 8.1 rather than 7 if the interface doesn't bother me, and 8.1 is acceptable to me, so that's not an issue. Because of a couple tricks, the thing that bothers me the most about 8.1 is solved (quick access to all programs without having to search)

8.1 is still supported by Microsoft so it still gets updates and will for a few more years. So, that's a big pro right there. And, I have 7 and 8.1 installed on basically identical systems (little bit of difference with the GPU but not enough to matter but the slower is on the 8.1 system), and 8.1 is a bit snappier than 7.

There are sometimes situations where software says it's not supported on 8.1, but it will still typically run. I don't have any issues with my 8.1 system (actually my wife's).

Why would it be different for laptops??

And why not 10? Privacy. It doesn't matter what version of 10 you have.
 

131dbl

Posts: 42   +13
Bought a 2 TB sabrent rocket Nvme (gen 3.0 pcie). Connected at x2 (not x4) speed due to MoBo constraints. Even at half the maximum speed, everything is blazing fast. Removed all 3 of my old hard drives that totalled less than 1 TB, now I never get stuck with drives spinning up when trying to browse through my files :D

You had 3 mechanical drives totaling less than 1TB? Yeah that's a problem, but it's a problem of using logic when buying drives. I can't for the life of me understand how that's a good idea, even 6 - 8 years ago when a 4TB drive could be had for around $100 USD. I could understand having a SINGLE mechanical drive of 1TB that used to cost around $60 USD, but going up any more than that, even to RAID, when you could buy a 256GB SATA SSD for around the price of 2 of those drives and apparently would have had the storage you needed considering you had 3 drives with less than 1TB total storage would have made more sense. Or, if you really had that much data having a single 256GB SATA SSD and then a single 1TB mechanical drive, because really, data access doesn't have to be blazingly fast.
 

131dbl

Posts: 42   +13
It's not so much the resistance but the fact the air when it gets hot expands more and becomes thinner thereby offering less lift to the read\write head arms which in some cases could lead to head to platter collision. Helium does not suffer the same expansion and contraction that plain old air does so makes for a more stable environment think of the arms that move the heads like aeroplane wings they're designed to offer lift as air flows over them keeping the heads from crashing into the platter surface as the air gets hotter over 45 degrees celsius it expands and becomes thinner offering less lift and narrowing the gap between head and platter helium on the other hand does not get thinner as it heats up so maintains the same amount of lift from 10c to 65c

Well, it's correct that they use helium because it doesn't get as hot as typical air, but the reason it's used is because those high capacity drives have to use heat when writing data to the platters, and if they used regular air (or filtered with zero particles really) it would get too hot.
 

131dbl

Posts: 42   +13
Well all helium put in balloons already is a nuclear byproduct, I hope someone breaks the story because I'm tired of people using it that way.

and I forgot to mention helium filled drives. I'm not 100% certain of this but I believe the drives are filled below 1 atmosphere so the helium doesn't like to leak out. The reason helium can leak out of containers is that 1) it's small enough to fit between the seals but 2) it's stored at enormous pressures and wants to escape. If you store helium in a slight vacuum it has no reason to escape. And the seals on the drives are tight enough that standard atmosphere gases can't get into the drive. The helium doesn't want to leave and the outside gases can't get in.

As far as my trust with helium fill drives? well, I'd still have them all in RAID if I planned on using helium drives for long term storage.

Yes, the drive platters/head assembly are vacuum sealed so the amount of gas inside of them is insignificant, to where I doubt 500 of these drives are filling up a single large helium balloon. So, to even talk about it is silly, considering those large balloons, or any balloon for that matter is under pressure so there's a lot of helium in them.

So, when govts. of the world ban helium filled balloons due to some harm they're causing, I guess maybe we could worry about helium filled drives.

If there were actually a leak though, from the way I understand physics, air would first be pulled into the drive, to where the pressure inside the drive is = to the outside pressure. Then there would be a tiny intermingling of gases, depending on how large the leak is. But I would have to assume most would be small, and the helium for the most part would STILL stay in the platter/head assembly.
 

nodfor

Posts: 87   +144
You had 3 mechanical drives totaling less than 1TB? Yeah that's a problem, but it's a problem of using logic when buying drives. I can't for the life of me understand how that's a good idea, even 6 - 8 years ago when a 4TB drive could be had for around $100 USD. I could understand having a SINGLE mechanical drive of 1TB that used to cost around $60 USD, but going up any more than that, even to RAID, when you could buy a 256GB SATA SSD for around the price of 2 of those drives and apparently would have had the storage you needed considering you had 3 drives with less than 1TB total storage would have made more sense. Or, if you really had that much data having a single 256GB SATA SSD and then a single 1TB mechanical drive, because really, data access doesn't have to be blazingly fast.
The HDD drives were quite old, the capacities you mention were too expensive back then. The newest one I had bought at 2009 as the main drive for an i5 750 system. I had a small SSD for boot up as well but that space was taken up quickly by Windows + a few games.

I never bothered to swap those drives for a newer (and bigger one) because
a) The drives were extremely reliable. I saw no need to rush to replace them. Also having multiple drives made data loss extremely unlikely. All of them failing at once, was rather unlikely, and actually not one ever failed.
b) I waited for the right time to go full SSD. Like I said, not having to wait for the drive to spin up, feels great :D
 

131dbl

Posts: 42   +13
Is that just enterprise units that do that? My reading was that anything 10 TB, enterprise or consumer, and above had to use helium just because of the physical constraints involved.

It's only the enterprise drives from what I understand. There aren't consumer drives that have the same type of platter that enterprise drives have. Or, at least for Seagate. Maybe WD does. Seagate has recently added much larger prosumer/consumer drives though for NAS, and because they don't always advertise every detail about their drives it's hard to know. You'd have to dig into the details of the new NAS drives to see if they have helium.

At this point they should be up to around 2TB/platter with these drives, but for the enterprise/EXOS drives that are over 10TB , they have 1.75TB (roughly) platters and when doing writes, heat is applied to the write head. Helium doesn't heat up the way purified air does. The good news about those drives is they don't use SMR technology in any way so writes, even extended write ops are very fast for mechanical drives. For instance if you write large media files, and say you write about a TB at once, on the faster part of the disk, that write op will stay near 200MB/s. While this is slower than a SATA SSD, in the environment for which they're designed (enterprise), they're in arrays and read/write speeds are of course much faster than than.

This could change with new platters though. And I know mechanical drive makers have said that to get over something like 18TB drives for the enterprise, they'll have to start including layouts that include SMR. I don't see them being popular, but we'll see.
 

GenFUBAR

Posts: 7   +2
I have 2 SSD NVME M.2 drives in my system, And 1 HDD. 1 250gig Samsung EVO PLUS as my primary drive, a 1TB Samsung EVO PLUS as my primary games drive, and a 1TB Seagate HDD as my secondary storage and not played so often games storage.
 

131dbl

Posts: 42   +13
I just wanted to answer that, but thank you for answering it first, I agree with what you wrote. Windows 7 is good, but 8.1 is still supported and patched by MSFT.

That and for many situations it's faster than Win7. It loads and shuts down faster and apps load faster in my experience. My assumption is it has better memory control. It's really only the rare software support thing, or driver support that pops up for Win8.1.
 

131dbl

Posts: 42   +13
The HDD drives were quite old, the capacities you mention were too expensive back then. The newest one I had bought at 2009 as the main drive for an i5 750 system. I had a small SSD for boot up as well but that space was taken up quickly by Windows + a few games.

I never bothered to swap those drives for a newer (and bigger one) because
a) The drives were extremely reliable. I saw no need to rush to replace them. Also having multiple drives made data loss extremely unlikely. All of them failing at once, was rather unlikely, and actually not one ever failed.
b) I waited for the right time to go full SSD. Like I said, not having to wait for the drive to spin up, feels great :D

Yes it's true that if you go back before 2010 that mechanical drives cost more, but by 2012 2TB drives were under $100 USD, just not WD drives (why I've bought Seagate). And yes, SATA SSDs didn't become reasonable in pricing until about 5 - 6 years ago, and that was just for a 128GB or 256GB drive.

So, going from pre 2010 to 2020 is like going from a donkey to the faster sports cars on the market. But it sounds like you don't have much data, so a single SSD for OS, programs and data, and then a single drive, either SSD or mechanical for a clone/backup drive. Two drives for compete redundancy.

I'd say that's an incredible amount of patience, or being a sadomasochist to wait this long before making a change because for $100 even a couple years ago would have gotten you an NVMe drive AND a smaller capacity mechanical HD. As far as data integrety, a single drive that's offline most the time (either not plugged in, but mounted in the system, or not mounted in the system at all) used as a backup drive gives you all the protection you need. Either that or a full clone of the OS drive, and then do backups to that cloned drive gives you complete redundancy if you have a drive failure.
 

Darth Shiv

Posts: 2,202   +775
I use only SSD's for my principle drive but for my data storage, etc. I stick with the mechanical drives simply because of volume & RAID tech capabilities. Once we get to the point where we can have SSD's with similar capabilities at similar prices I won't hesitate to change over but being 65 now I doubt I'll live to see that day .......
My laptop is now running a few TB of space and both PCIe NVMe drives. If I never bother getting my media centre running again, days of buying HDDs gawn. Spinny drives, slow seek, slow perf, click of death... meh. Got better things to do than go back to that hell hole.
 

131dbl

Posts: 42   +13
My laptop is now running a few TB of space and both PCIe NVMe drives. If I never bother getting my media centre running again, days of buying HDDs gawn. Spinny drives, slow seek, slow perf, click of death... meh. Got better things to do than go back to that hell hole.
A few TB of space. If you have that full, how do you back it up? You don't have other slots on a MB or adapter with more NVMe ports do you? So if you have a few TB of data on NVMe, the only rational way to back it up is with SATA. If you want to back up that few TB of NVMe on SATA SSD, and want to do it with a single drive, that's a few hundred dollars. If you want to back it up with a mechanical drive, it's less than $100 USD.

You're throwing away a lot of money, and most people aren't willing to do that. There's no good reason to have data on an NVMe unless you have very little data. There IS good reason to use NVMe as a scratch area to build files onto with whatever work you do because a single NVMe can keep up with pretty much any app that's building that file. But if you have a few TB of data, NVMe becomes a very expensive solution. So I can look at my situation and see the problems that causes. I have 1 NVMe with Ubuntu MATE installed on it. I have 2 NVMe drives that are in RAID 0 with Win10 on it. The Win10 NVMe drives are 1TB each. I have about 1TB of GAMES installed. I have some data on that NVMe RAID, but I have TBs of data. I'm already up to about $400 of NVMe and would have to add an NVMe adaptor if I want more storage for data. Or, I would have had to spend an outrageous amount of money for 2TB NVMe drives so I would have 4TB RAID 0 config.

There are plenty of people who have too much data to even begin to consider NVMe for that. Imagine 10TB+

So, the common sense thing for people with a lot of data is to load the OS, apps and some data onto a system NVMe drive. If they do work with video or large media files, or they do other types of work where they need 100s of GB of work space, then a 2nd NVMe drive will be used for that. That's the limit right there for most systems. Some people, like me have a MB with 3 NVMe ports. For those people, most are STILL not going to able to use an NVMe drive simply for data. You have fast enough access to data files, including large video files with a single mechanical drive. If I want to compare pricing, I can buy a single Seagate EXOS X16 14TB drive where I can read data around 230MBs. It's fast enough for data access. I can now buy one for around $250 USD. If I want to try to put that on SSD, AND I have 10TB of data, I would need 5, 2TB drives which will cost me about $1000 USD. AND, I would need to buy a SATA port adaptor for many MBs where 4 ports are starting to become the normal config. I could go up to 4TB SATA SSD drives, but more often than not there's a price premium jumping up to that size, and data access is a little slower.


In other words, it's about the amount of data people have, and data access doesn't need to happen at NVMe speed, although when working with video files, it's nice to have an NVMe as a work space because it's fast to write to, and fast to pull the data from to permanent storage.
 

Markoni35

Posts: 1,228   +498
My laptop has only 2 TB of RAM (DDR-11) and I bought a cheap 8 petabyte SSD so I can normally surf the web. But seems that after the latest update of Windows 10 (release xCO2) it's struggling running on just 2 TB. Should I buy more RAM or maybe...... ooops.... what's this. Wrong year.

How do I delete this comment? There's no delete button. Damn...
Don't read this unless you're in 2037. I don't wanna be responsible for changing the history.

If you're still reading, buy BitCoin in 2028...
 

Darth Shiv

Posts: 2,202   +775
A few TB of space. If you have that full, how do you back it up? You don't have other slots on a MB or adapter with more NVMe ports do you? So if you have a few TB of data on NVMe, the only rational way to back it up is with SATA. If you want to back up that few TB of NVMe on SATA SSD, and want to do it with a single drive, that's a few hundred dollars. If you want to back it up with a mechanical drive, it's less than $100 USD.

You're throwing away a lot of money, and most people aren't willing to do that. There's no good reason to have data on an NVMe unless you have very little data. There IS good reason to use NVMe as a scratch area to build files onto with whatever work you do because a single NVMe can keep up with pretty much any app that's building that file. But if you have a few TB of data, NVMe becomes a very expensive solution. So I can look at my situation and see the problems that causes. I have 1 NVMe with Ubuntu MATE installed on it. I have 2 NVMe drives that are in RAID 0 with Win10 on it. The Win10 NVMe drives are 1TB each. I have about 1TB of GAMES installed. I have some data on that NVMe RAID, but I have TBs of data. I'm already up to about $400 of NVMe and would have to add an NVMe adaptor if I want more storage for data. Or, I would have had to spend an outrageous amount of money for 2TB NVMe drives so I would have 4TB RAID 0 config.

There are plenty of people who have too much data to even begin to consider NVMe for that. Imagine 10TB+

So, the common sense thing for people with a lot of data is to load the OS, apps and some data onto a system NVMe drive. If they do work with video or large media files, or they do other types of work where they need 100s of GB of work space, then a 2nd NVMe drive will be used for that. That's the limit right there for most systems. Some people, like me have a MB with 3 NVMe ports. For those people, most are STILL not going to able to use an NVMe drive simply for data. You have fast enough access to data files, including large video files with a single mechanical drive. If I want to compare pricing, I can buy a single Seagate EXOS X16 14TB drive where I can read data around 230MBs. It's fast enough for data access. I can now buy one for around $250 USD. If I want to try to put that on SSD, AND I have 10TB of data, I would need 5, 2TB drives which will cost me about $1000 USD. AND, I would need to buy a SATA port adaptor for many MBs where 4 ports are starting to become the normal config. I could go up to 4TB SATA SSD drives, but more often than not there's a price premium jumping up to that size, and data access is a little slower.


In other words, it's about the amount of data people have, and data access doesn't need to happen at NVMe speed, although when working with video files, it's nice to have an NVMe as a work space because it's fast to write to, and fast to pull the data from to permanent storage.
I have two drives. Most of the space is consumed with program installations not personal data hence there isn't a huge amount I need to copy locally. I use cloud services to have offsite backups.