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HDD or SSD for a storage drive with a lot of read/write


Some time ago I heard that SSDs have less read/write operations before failure than HDDs and therefore aren’t good for storage servers or web hosting and basically anything involving a lot of reads and writes.
Is that true? Would you prefer an SSD or an HDD for a 2TB home storage drive? Thanks.


SSDs have limited writes… That’s what makes them great for OS boot drives. You write once - when you install the OS. After that it’s just updates.
As for storage - if we are talking backups, media files, something, that won’t need the speed - I still believe HDDs are best for pure storage purposes.
If you do need the speed though, SSDs might be much pricier, but they are much faster than the HDDs.
So basically if you don’t need the speed - 50-60$ will give you a nice 2TB HDD drive…


It is true that SSDs do have a write limit.

However, if you think about it, so do HDDs. At some point the read/write head is going to crash, the bearings are going to die in the spindle, or the controller is going to stop working.

With that said, the write limit for wearing out the NAND in an SSD is somewhere on the order of Petabytes. There are not too many applications where a Petabyte of writes is going to be what causes a drive failure.

More importantly, if I were you, I would look at data speeds required, operating conditions of the machine, and volume of storage needed.

EDIT: for 2TB storage drive, spinning rust. Mobile keyboards suck.


Depends on the setup, at home I have zero spin drives on almost all my PCs, all spinning rust goes into a NAS of some sort.

On a personal computer, I generally recommend a high speed SSD OS disk and a large capacity SSD/HDD. It doesn’t matter what you get for the 2nd drive as it is just storage.


If you do allot of read / write workloads on a daily base.
Then its still safer to get a HDD.


If your not going over the speed of a HDD on the writes while reading then no point. Really depends how much you are writing and reading at at time.


SSDs have limited writes but in practice with modern sizes unless you are doing MASSIVE amounts of write they will last for years (even being hammered at full speed 24/7 they have been demonstrated to last for many months and several PB of writes). Even consumer drives like the 840 Evo (onwards).

Hard drives have limited performance and also suffer from failures, likely well before they have had the time to do the amount of writes that an SSD has, because they simply aren’t fast enough to do them inside any reasonable time-frame with any realistic workload (i.e., not 100% massive IO size, but more realistic somewhat random access).

The reality is that unless you’re talking workloads that would be better served by an enterprise storage array, SSD write endurance is fine.

I don’t use spinning drives in any of my desktops or portables any more. Spinning rust is relegated to my NAS, which is for bulk/archive storage only (1.7 TB of SSD in my desktop).

Most of the early SSD horror stories were due to firmware/software/controller bugs. Especially with earlier OCZ drives. Not NAND failure.


I was also thinking of going with the WD Red 2 or 3TB for a storage drive, but it’s just shame that I have to install the whole HDD frame and brackets in the Fractal Design Define R6 just for one HDD.


Why not just get a 2.5" HDD? If it’s just storage you don’t need a fast and hot running spinner. Just drop the little sucker in one of your SSD mounts.


Well the WD Red is not a fast drive it’s a 5400RPM, however it’s robust and most importantly very quiet. Smaller HDDs I think are noisier and don’t have a very long life.


Really depends on the application, but typically you don’t have to worry about it. You are gonna run out of room and buy a bigger drive before your SSD fails from writes. Even file storage and web hosting would be perfectly fine, and if it wasn’t you’d be dealing with enterprise class stuff and wouldn’t be asking this question. :slight_smile:

I use SSD’s for everyday use because of performance, and hard disks in my NAS due to cost per TB, which SSD’s still can’t compete with.


I refuse to get another hd unless its a nvme m.2… and that being a samsung pro 960…
seems to me a ssd would be a good way to go actually, just back up your stuff regularly. If a drive can last 5 years, Id be tempted to replace it after that anyway.


Don’t use Red. Any HDD these days is quiet. Just buy a standard 7200 rpm drive. Cheap and should last you a long time.
That said, your base drive should be a SSD irrespective of the read/writes. They are robust. Yes, a lot of writes will “use” up a SSD but load provisioning etc can compensate. On my box I have 2 ssd’s but 256gb MX100’s. C has 88% lifetime left on a drive that has 33K hours on it. At that rate I’m good until 2026! BTW D is still at 99% because it has so less writes vs. C.


Just one tip on hard drives too…

higher RPM isn’t always faster.

If you need say, 1 TB of data, putting that on a cheaper 5400 rpm 4 TB sata drive, rather than a 7,200 RPM 2 TB sata drive may be faster.

Why? If you constrain the 4 TB disk to the inner 1 TB via partitioning then the heads don’t have to move as far to seek for random access. The storage density is also higher on the larger drive and your read/write speeds will be faster.

I’m sure there’s a calculator for this sort of stuff somewhere, but it’s all to do with physical movement.

the TLDR though: buying a lot more space than you “need” with a hard drive and short stroking it will significantly help its performance. Buying 1 TB because you only need 1 TB today (when you can get a 2-4x bigger drive for a little more) is leaving a lot of performance on the table.


the older hard drives used the Bernoulli effect to raise the head off the platter but its inherrant weakness was the temperature of the drive hotter temp meant the gap was larger and the strength of the field generated from the read write heads was slightly weaker, this caused errors from time to time but the worst weakness was from physical jarring causing the heads to slam down on the media surface (a lot of times caused by people slapping the side of the pc like they used to with the old tube tv’s)

ssd’s do have a limited read/write life but their major weakness itself is heat!
heat changes resistance values of materials and sometimes drastically enough that failure can occur.
getting people to learn to clean systems frequently of dust, not blocking ventilation fans and worst of all smoking around the computer (tar buildup and dust can often get like cement that even strong solvents wont remove)

set up ssd’s as an os drive and file storage on a hard drive. any linux distro can be set up during partitioning to put the swap, home, temp, and var partitions on the second drive.

The first ssd drive I ever encountered was a 250 Mb Pachyderm drive.
These could only be set up as a slave drive because they had a driver file they needed to install to tell windows how to use it.
They had these at work and they usually lasted about 2 months (excessive heat killed them quickly)
the plus side then was the impressive speed they transferred data as compared to hdd’s used then, This was more than 20 years ago!