Solid State Drives and Hard Drives

Persistent Storage, or “Who in their right mind would want to pay more for something than they have to?”

The short answer is: better performance from your Solid State Drives or Physical Hard Drives helps you to get things done faster, and you will hate your technology less. Less waiting around equals more productive work time.


Storage Solutions Index:


Overview and rationale – Hard Drives and Solid State Drives:

I refer to Hard Drives and Solid State Drives as “Persistent Storage,” because data which you write to them will remain there forever – until the data is overwritten or the drive eventually and physically fails.

I really like Solid State Drives (SSD’s).  Their cost has come down to a gentle premium over the cost of a physical hard drive in the past several years.  The current “sweet spot” for the price of an SSD is about 1TB; you’ll find that SSD’s which are 2X the storage size are more than 2X the cost.  But SSD’s tend to be about ten times faster than a physical hard drive, and few people need 1TB of physical storage, but they would be /very/ nicely served in their day-to-day computer usage with a .25TB or .5TB SSD in their computer instead of a physical hard drive.

Note that the typical rotational speed of a physical hard drive is either 5400 or 7200 RPM; the faster RPM drive tends to have lower latency and faster transfer speed (reading from or writing to) than the slower RPM drive, which introduces latency in the time to be able to read data from or write to the physical disk.  An SSD has no moving parts, so the latency is virtually zero.

Also, SSD’s can come with either a SATA connector or an NVMe connector;  Operationally, the SATA connector saturates at about 500MB/s, and the NVMe connector is estimated to saturate at about 3,000 MB/s.  In my humble opinion, spend the money and only use a solid-state drive.

Note that external drives come in colors other than Black, which is sometimes very helpful and practical.  One of my favorite personal sayings is: “If a messy desk is a sign of a messy mind, what does an empty desk mean.”  Although Black is sometimes known as “Batman’s Color,” most drives will come in a drab black or grey color.  Having a non-black external drive can help you to find it later, among the cables and other debris that might be on your desk.

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Internal Hard Drives

Internal Physical Hard Drives:

Chris likes this internal 2TB SATA 2.5″ Physical Hard Drive – 5400RPM from Seagate.  It’s also available in 500GB, 1TB, and 5TB.

Internal SSD

Internal Solid State Drives:

Depending on your machine’s configuration, you’ll need either a SATA drive or an NVMe drive.

Internal SSD Drives:

Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVME

0.25 Terabyte $70 from Best Buy

0.5 Terabyte $90 from Best Buy

1 Terabyte $170 from Best Buy

2 Terabyte from Amazon:

Samsung 970 EVO NVME

0.25 Terabye from Amazon:

0.5 Terabyte from Amazon:

0.5 Terabyte from Best Buy

1 Terabyte from Amazon:

1 Terabyte from Best Buy

Samsung 970 PRO NVME

0.5 Terabyte from Best Buy

1 Terabyte from Amazon

1 Terabyte from Best Buy

SK Hynix Gold 1 TB

External Hard Drives

External Hard Drives:

Chris recommends this LaCie Rugged External 2T and this Seagate Portable 2T.  You should have at least two.  One to back up your data and store it in a different place that is safe, secure, and not in proximity to your computer.  The other one gets swapped out with the first.  You should back up at least once a week!Solid State Drives

External SSD

External Solid State Drives:

Chris recommends these External Solid State Drives.  Again, back up at least once a week and keep two different backups in two different places.

USB Flash Drives

USB Thumb Drives:

Chris recommends these fast USB Thumb Drives (aka: Flash  Drives). Why do you want a fast Flash Drive? Read more here.

Mounting Adapters

Disk Mounting Adapters:

Sometimes new Hard Drives or SSD’s are smaller than the space allotted inside the machine.  Chris likes these adaptors to ensure a proper fit:

  • This one is a narrow metal molded 2.5” disk adapter to securely mount a 2.5” drive into a 3.5” space. Ideal for installing an SSD which naturally runs cool. It has threaded holes that match the ones found in a conventional 3.5” hard drive, so it fits right.  Narrow Metal Adapter.
  • Chris also likes this one from Sabrent.
  • The second adapter is a wide metal molded 2.5” disk adapter, to securely mount a 2.5” drive into a 3.5” space. This adapter has a large heat sink, which is ideal for mounting a high performance (7.2Krpm, 10Krpm, 15Krpm) hard disk drive, which tends to run warm and will become warmer over time.  Adapter with Heat Sink.

Add’l Info

Additional Information:

In Mid 2019, the price of a good 1TB Internal SSD with a SATA connector is about $130 – $150 on the open market; a good 1TB Internal SSD with an NVMe connector costs about $175 – $200, and a good 1TB External SSD with a USB3 cable costs about $175 – $200.  Just make sure the  External drive uses a USB3 connection or faster; a USB2 connection is about 1/10th the speed of USB3 – and it will cost about the same.  Warning Note:  the SATA connector is physically and electrically different than an NVMe connector, and they are not interchangeable.

In Mid 2019, the price of a good 1TB Internal Physical Hard Drive with a SATA connector is about $75 on the open market, and a good 1TB External Physical Hard Drive with a USB3 cable costs about $50.

Also, in Mid 2019, the cost of fast USB “Thumb Drives” or “Flash Drives” have found new and compelling low levels.   I will typically see what I can get for $20, which is also very fast.  Fast will have a USB 3.1 connector;  Fast will have a Write speed of over 100MBps.  Note that some of these drives will come in a very low profile, and are about the size of a Wireless Mouse and Keyboard transceiver that you insert into a USB port.

Note that the price of a fast thumb drive will cost just a little more than a slow drive.  Go for the fast drive, and get your copy functions done in much less time.