Why There’s Plenty of Life Left in the HDD Yet!

Unlike this, Hard Drives have plenty to offer!

Unlike this, Hard Drives have plenty left to offer!

39 million fewer Hard Disk Drives (HDD), Solid State Drives (SSD) and Optical Disk Drives (ODD)  were shipped in 2013 according to figure released by global information company IHS.

This constituted an overall decline of 5%, but the sales of SSDs alone bucked this trend with 57 million units sold – an impressive increase of 82%. In comparison 7% fewer HDDS and 12% fewer ODDs were shipped over the same period. SSDs still make up only a minority of the market, though, as shipments of all drives totalled 755 million globally meaning that SSDs accounted for just 7.5% of the overall data storage market.

IHS’s analysts have predicted that the SSD sector will – thanks to falling prices and the ever-growing popularity of ultra-thin netbooks, tablets etc. – grow by a further 50% in 2014 and that, within the next three years, 190 million units of these devices will be being shipped annually. In comparison, they estimate that the number of HDDs sold will shrink to 397 million within the same period.

Whilst I have scanned the internet for expert comment on the decline of ODDs, I have been able to find very little, if anything, of substance discussing their decline. That said, it’s fairly clear why these drives are becoming increasingly rare: the growth of high-speed internet connections is rendering CDs, DVDs etc. obsolete. This, of course, is rendering the drives that read them obsolete also. HDDs, on the other hand, are in our and others’ opinions, less likely to decline so rapidly.

Whilst their overall sales fell last year, the number of HDDs that were shipped in the final quarter of 2013 actually grew by 1.8% compared with the previous quarter. What’s more traditional 3.5 drives shipped 4.9% more in this quarter too!

The growth in popularity of cloud storage provides an outlet for the HDD, also. Storage companies are certain to look at the overall value that any storage device offers meaning that SSDs are likely to remain too expensive for the near future at least. True, these centres will not be sufficient to maintain the humble HDD alone, but there are plenty of reasons why they will still have a place in our computing devices.

For example, whilst SSDs are considered to be more well suited to thin laptops and tablets due to their svelte design, both Seagate and Western Digital have both developed super-slender HDDs which are not only suitable for thinner devices, but are significantly cheaper than SSDs offering the same storage capacity.

As we discussed in yesterday’s post, helium filled HDDs can offer capacities of up to 7.5TB in a single device, providing another reason why HDDs still have a lot to offer. Similarly, a blend of HDD and SSD may well become the dominant form of home data storage. Several prominent manufacturers currently produce, or are in the process of developing, drives that house both HDDs and SSDs in order to offer the value for money offered by the former and the speedy performance of the latter.

What do you think? Are HDDs dead on their feet or is their life left in them yet? Let us know by leaving a comment.

What is the Storage Capacity of a Human Brain?

However quickly the storage capacity of hard drives, solid state drives, USB sticks and so on grows, it is unlikely that they will ever match the capacity of your brain.

The human brain has a whopping storage capacity of 256 Exabytes. Maybe that doesn’t sound too impressive. Ok, let’s put it another way: your brain is capable of storing 256 billion Gigabytes; and if that didn’t impress you, how about the fact that that’s the equivalent of 1.2 billion average hard drives.  Click here for a visual representation of these figures.

Saying that, you can’t choose what you want to erase from your memory and what you want to replace it with!

Choosing an SSD

So, you’re tired of your old hard disk drive and its moving parts. You’re trading it in for a sleek, fast and silent SSD. Here are a few tips on what you should look for:

Price

No one wants to pay over the odds for anything and SSDs are no exception. The more you spend, the more storage space you’ll get, of course, and whilst you’re generally better off purchasing a drive with as much storage space as you can afford (more on that later), you shouldn’t be paying much more than 50 to 70 pence per GB.

Storage Capacity

It goes without saying that the higher the storage capacity of an SSD the more data you’ll be able to store on it, but did you know that testing has also confirmed that the higher an SSD’s storage capacity, the better its performance. This is because whilst HDDs write data in a linear fashion, SSDs write data in an indiscriminate fashion by locating and using free cells before writing over other data in order to preserve the life of the drive (known as wear levelling); the more cells that a drive has, the quicker it will be able to find free cells and the faster it will be.  Results did show, however, that improvements ceased when drives reached a capacity of 256GB so there’s no need to shell out for a larger drive if speed is your only concern.

NAND Memory Type

All SSDs will use one of three types of NAND memory: Single-Level Cell (SLC), Multi-Level Cell (MLC) and, more recently, Triple-Level Cell (TLC). These cells all have limited shelf lives as each cell can only have data written onto it, removed and new data written on to it so many times before it cannot be used again. TLC NAND cells have a lifecycle of approximately 5,000 writes, MLC 10,000 and SLC roughly 100,000. It’s estimated that even SSDs with lower write/rewrite capacities would still last for a decade if every cell was written to on a daily basis – and it should also be noted that the drives protect themselves by utilising blank cells before rewriting to others – but it’s still advisable that you choose SLC, particularly if you’re a heavy user.

Keep Your HDD

Yes, we know, you’ve bought a brand-new, shiny SSD because you want to enjoy the speed and other benefits that it affords you, but don’t throw away your HDD just yet. HDDs are far more economical than their solid state cousins and, particularly if you have the space to keep both types of media in your machine, can provide an immediate area within which to back up your important data as well as store bulkier files which you won’t necessarily need to access at the drop of a hat and would take up precious and costly space in your new SSD.

Hello, and Welcome to the Fields Data Recovery Blog

Data recovery is our thing, from hard drives to SD cards; smartphones to games consoles, we can recover lost data from any number of devices and have been doing just that for over 20 years.

As you’d expect, then, we’ve learned quite a lot about data storage, files and technology and now we’d like to share that knowledge with you – and we’re going to do that through this blog.

So for everything from tips on how to care for your storage media, articles on our favourite gadgets, company news and much more be sure to check out our blog regularly. We look forward to your visits!