Abandoning mechanical disk drives

A fast mechanical hard drive, connected by a USB 3.0 connection to a laptop, conveys data at around 90 MB/s. Multiplying by 60 that’s 5400 MB/minute, ie around 200 minutes for 1 TB.

It is reasonable (at least in 2020) to say that man can survive on 1 TB, unless one is actively engaged in copious video editing, hence the many online storage systems that offer 1 TB as the entry level. If one does a complete backup monthly, not a daft thing to do, that means hanging around for 200 minutes, ie 3 or 4 hours, for a backup every month.

A fast 1TB USB solid state disk will operate many times faster than a mechanical hard drive. This one, from Sandisk, costs £150 and promises 1000 MB/s. In practice a typical laptop USB port will limit that to 400 MB/s. This is still five times as fast as a mechanical hard drive. It means completing a full backup in half an hour.

So moving from mechanical hard disks to fast solid-state-disks can save a couple of hours hanging around time per month.

If one regards one’s labour, or one’s free time, as worth as little as £5 per hour, swapping from a mechanical hard drive to SSD could save one 2 hours of hanging around per month, £10 per month, £120 per year…not far of the price of the fast SSD saved in a year. If one is in a commercial environment, the time value of money means that it is even more worthwhile to make the move to solid state storage.