Excluding cost, is there a reason to NOT buy an SSD drive for my media?
May 26, 2019 9:00 PM   Subscribe

I currently have an external hard drive for music and photography. That drive is about 8 years old, and it's starting to show troubling signs of its age. I'm thinking about replacing it with an SSD, but before I do, I want to make sure I'm not making a mistake. Is there a reason why I shouldn't use an SSD for my media drive?

My main motivations for switching to SSD are silence and putting an end to the occasional lag when the hard drive needs to spin up because it hasn't been accessed in an hour or so. My Mac has an SSD and I've been thrilled with the difference. But before I replace my media drive with an SSD, I figured I'd check to make sure I'm not overlooking something.

I don't do video editing. My media needs are almost entirely music and photography.
posted by 2oh1 to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Nope, cost is the main downside for your use.

(If you had a usage pattern where you were constantly rewriting the same info or something, that is also something SSDs aren’t great at, but that’s really just relevant in very specific and unusual applications, and yours is far from that.
posted by aubilenon at 9:13 PM on May 26, 2019

no. all of the old caveats are pretty much fixed. like, they can still wear out, but it's much further in the future, and you should have backups anyway. get whatever has the highest ratings at newegg.
posted by rhizome at 9:23 PM on May 26, 2019

A good quality SSD (a Samsung EVO or EVO+) and you'll be fine.

After a bicycle crash a few years ago, where my work laptop flew out of the bag, took a hard hit, and didn't lose a byte, I vowed to never buy another spinning disk. Granted, backup drives don't fit that risk profile, but they do risk getting bumped and dropped.
posted by dws at 9:29 PM on May 26, 2019

Response by poster: "and you should have backups anyway."

Yup! And I do! I probably should have mentioned that in my post.

I'm religious about backups. I have a pair of 3 TB external drives for automatic cloned backups (one daily, and one weekly). The backup drives are HDDs, but I don't care about noise from them since they only run in the middle of the night. If I'm at my desk when either of those is running, I deserve to have to put up with the noise.
posted by 2oh1 at 10:01 PM on May 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Typical failure modes for SSDs involve the entire drive suddenly becoming inaccessible; you don't get the "troubling signs of age" to warn you that it's time to test your backups.

If your old external drive is a 3.5" type, you will probably find that a 2.5" external spinny will be both quieter and quicker to wake up, won't need an external power supply, and will certainly cost you far less than the same amount of SSD.

If money is no object and you do regularly test your backups as a matter of course, an SSD will work well for you. Something like this HP EX950 2TB NVMe drive dropped into a nice USB-C enclosure would be pretty sweet.
posted by flabdablet at 12:30 AM on May 27, 2019

Unless technology has changed recently, there are concerns about data loss on SSDs that have been unpowered for long periods, esp. in warm environments. For a drive that’s used on a regular basis i wouldn’t worry, but i wouldn’t throw it in a closet for years and still expect 100% data retention.
posted by D.C. at 12:31 AM on May 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

You can disable power saving features to keep spinny drives from lagging.
posted by Poldo at 6:50 AM on May 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Typical failure modes for SSDs involve the entire drive suddenly becoming inaccessible

It took 8-years for this to happen to my old laptop, it was a the cheapest consumer grade I could afford in 2011 (but with the largest capacity for the price I could find), I am sure I would have gotten a bit longer with the Samsung EVO/EVO+. (Which I have in another laptop, which has been working perfectly since summer 2013.)

However - any important data was; synchronized to some cloud service, backed-up to external portable hard-drives and/or also backed-up to a NAS with RAID5. (Which has had individual drives fail, but I have never lost data - and I have replaced all the drives 3-times since summer 2013 with higher capacity) - I highly recommend a RAID'ed NAS, especially if your computing needs are for work/small-business.

That is key to SSD, ensuring that you have on-going, off-SSD backups happening.
posted by jkaczor at 7:50 AM on May 30, 2019

Response by poster: UPDATE: A few weeks later...

What a fantastic upgrade! Everything is faster, and little annoying pauses I'd gotten used to don't exist anymore. For example: any time I'd been away from my Mac for a while, there was always a pause when I'd first do anything using the media drive, because the drive had to spin up. Now, everything is instant.

And best of all, there's no noise at all.

As a bonus, I've repurposed my previous media HDD to be another backup. So, now, I have a daily backup drive and a weekly backup drive (plus a Time Machine drive). My daily and weekly backup drives only run between 4 and 5am, so there's no sound whirring away in the background anymore.

I wish I'd done this sooner!
posted by 2oh1 at 3:15 PM on June 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

« Older What weather radar do you use on your desktop?   |   Book about a lawyer / traveling thespian in 15th?... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.