Choose an SSD instead of an HDD
January 2023 – by Per Christensson
Solid state drives, or SSDs, have been on the market for over a decade. Initially, they were exorbitantly priced — over 10x more than a comparable HDD. In recent years, their sky-high prices have come down to earth, and SSDs typically cost between 2x and 3x their HDD counterparts. Better yet, SSDs are faster and more reliable than they were ten years ago.
With SSD prices close to HDDs, it's hard to justify buying hard drives anymore. Case in point: I just ran a fresh Time Machine backup on my iMac Pro and backed up 1.6 TB of data in 80 minutes. That's 20 gigabytes per minute! My previous USB-C hard drive took about 10 hours. My USB-A drives took 1 to 2 days to complete the initial backup.
Notably, I used the fastest external SSD available — a 4TB SanDisk Extreme Pro, which supports up to 2000 MB/s read & write speeds. It would have been even quicker if my iMac Pro supported USB 3.2 instead of USB 3.1.
Reasons to choose an external SSD over an external hard drive include:
If you need an external drive for video editing or other high-demand applications, an SSD is the obvious choice. But even for simple tasks like backing up data, an SSD might make more sense. It's fast, quiet, and reliable, so it gets the job done quickly and silently. Based on my recent experience switching my backup disk from an HDD to an SSD, I highly recommend it.
Important: If you need an internal storage device, I wouldn't even consider a hard drive. The decision should be between a SATA SSD and an NVMe SSD, in which case, I would choose NVMe if your computer supports it.
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