Gettin Spinny With It

Since the invention of disk storage, a drive with spinning platters has been the standard in nearly all computers. Then something interesting happened in the early 2000s: storage on chips became cheap enough to replace a "spinning" hard drive. Hence, Solid State Drives (SSDs) were born. But were they better than the old standard? Andrew Cunningham at Ars Technica has the rundown.

Over their first four years of service, SSDs fail at a lower rate than HDDs overall, but the curve looks basically the same—few failures in year one, a jump in year two, a small decline in year three, and another increase in year four. But once you hit year five, HDD failure rates begin going upward quickly—jumping from a 1.83 percent failure rate in year four to 3.55 percent in year five. Backblaze's SSDs, on the other hand, continued to fail at roughly the same 1 percent rate as they did the year before.

Ars Technica

The data, courtesy of backup company Backblaze, shows that in most scenarios an SSD will have much higher reliability than an HDD with moving parts. Of course, that makes sense. Parts wear out and an HDD is also vulnerable to falls and other mishaps (I speak from experience on this one).

The five-year mark is where the SSD components really begin to outlive their spinning counterparts. The reliability is surely there. However, we have yet to have enough time to pass to see if the NAND chips within the SSD parts will wear out sooner rather than later.

Either way, the advancement of these chips and storage mediums is what keeps enabling our devices to get smaller and smaller.