Advice on SSD/HDs, please

JensM

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Have ended up in a solid dead end, a couple of years ago I bought a Dell G5 5590 gaming laptop. It is my first foray into a dual drive laptop combining a small NVMe something or the other 2(128GB) SSD and a large (1TB) SATA 6 HD, and the only one I found with that configuration within my budget when I bought it, and I have been rather satisfied with it, running the programs/apps off the SSD and storage and less frequent used programs off the old skool disk, with some hiccups here and there, stuffing the SSD by just letting stuff install where it suggested without paying attention, with quite a bit of cleaning up afterwards as a result.

I was trying to install the Topaz upgrades last week and ended up with a C drive that was full and upgrades not installing. Having looked trough it, I really cant see anything that I dont need nor knew where on it so hey, ho down down the upgrade slope I go, had a look and found a reasonable priced 1TB SSD on the web, necessary tools for cloning the C drive and I am not entirely uncomfortable with doing the upgrade, and possibly upgrading from 16 to 32MB ram while I have the machine opened.

Am also somewhat running out of space on the 1TB regular HD and thought I should swap that one for a 2-3TB drive, but what I find of such from reputable brands are only SSDs in regular form.

Are the conventional discs a thing of the past?

I have back-ups galore, even though I could be more diligent with it, and have a new portable WD 2GB on hand which will be mirrored off my D drive before I do anything drastic, but I could really do with some sound advice/communication on the topic before hand, pulling together all of my photo stuff from a ton of HDs, and get get it into this machine was a nightmare and took solid on and off work over 1,5 years, doing it in batches.

I have very limited knowledge as to what goes for current these days, and after a week of googling I am at a loss for what is going on, and some articles on SSD failure rate is rather ,, including posts on here are bleak, to say at least, other are more neutral and some sings the SSDs price.

Any solid up to date info/best practice tips on the topic of onboard SSDs feasibility, does and don'ts, would be very much appreciated! I dont know enough on this to even know what to ask about. :whistling:
 

John King

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Just one point, Jens.

When SSDs die, it is almost always catastrophic failure, with no warning.

When HDDs die, depending on the cause, running a simple CHKDSK can usually make everything fine again, specially if using NTFS.

While I run SSDs for the OS and programs on most of my computers, I store an image of the SSD on a reliable local HDD.
 

agentlossing

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I have two SSDs in my system, a 240gb which is drive C, and a 480gb one which is drive D, and my libraries are stored on it. So system is on one drive and docs/photos etc. are on the other. Both drives get backed up to a Drive E HDD, which is partitioned and actually the other partition is just older stuff that I not longer want filling up my drive D. Yeah, I should have one additional HDD to back up what's on Drive E.

I like the idea of running the system off a discrete SSD, while the larger one contains my files and only runs checks from the system drive until I need to access the files on it. I don't personally see the need to go big with a single SSD when it's so easy to set up different drives.
 

John King

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I need more of those!
Someone here lost all their images just recently.

It is possible to have too much money.

It is not possible to have too many friends, too much good luck health, or too many backups.

At the incredibly low price of HDDs these days (even good ones), there is just no reason not to have plenty.

My main workstation has 2x enterprise level 3TB HDDs and a further enterprise level 2TB HDD for "housekeeping". These are in addition to the 240 GB SSD and another ordinary 500GB HDD for miscellaneous data. This latter also contains an image of my SSD (there are other copies as well), and boots as C: if the SSD is disconnected.
 
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Darmok N Jalad

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I’d just do all solid state storage if you can. Not only are they much faster, but they have no moving parts, which is a really good thing on something portable like a laptop. Backups are always important, as things break, get lost, or get stolen.

You should still be able to find spinning rust drives out there, and I bet they are really cheap, too. It’s just hard to not pay a little extra for the SSD versions because of the significant gains in read, write, and seek times. An SSD is the single most noticeable upgrade one can make.

Something else to consider–in dual-drive situations, it can actually make more sense to make a SATA SSD your OS drive, and save the nVME drive for just the things that need the super-fast r/w speeds. It can be your “working” drive, where you keep the current RAW files that you edit, and also a place to put whatever game/games you are currently playing. It can be a little more work, but if you manage what goes on the fastest drive, you’ll get the best performance. You’ll likely not even notice the difference in performance of Windows and most programs being on the SATA SSD versus the fastest storage available. Once it’s on an SSD, it’s already plenty fast, especially if you have a lot of RAM.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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Someone here lost all their images just recently.

It is possible to have too much money.

It is not possible to have too many friends, too much good luck, or too many backups.

At the incredibly low price of HDDs these days (even good ones), there is just no reason not to have plenty.

My main workstation has 2x enterprise level 3TB HDDs and a further enterprise level 2TB HDD for "housekeeping". These are in addition to the 240 GB SSD and another ordinary 500GB HDD for miscellaneous data. This latter also contains an image of my SSD (there are other copies as well), and boots as C: if the SSD is disconnected.
Speaking of cheap storage, I invested in a lifetime subscription (ie, one-time payment) to pcloud, for 500GB of cloud storage for whatever I want to put on it. For a reasonable price, it works on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android...and Linux! The Linux client works perfectly, which is a rarity for anything other than Dropbox. pcloud isn’t my only backup option, but it solves the what-if situation of losing all your data if you lose your house in a catastrophe. It can really take the stress off the backup situation, as you have one remote backup that has you covered in case of a household catastrophe. I live on the edge of “tornado alley,” so an off-site backup brings a lot of peace of mind.
 

PakkyT

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Someone here lost all their images just recently.
[snip]
It is not possible to have [snip] too many backups.

At the incredibly low price of HDDs these days (even good ones), there is just no reason not to have plenty.

Hear, Hear! It amazes me that even today there are still so many people with important irreplaceable photos, videos, and other personal files that do not have a back up. Worst is the mobile phone people who have everything on their phones and no where else. But to your point, you can buy portable hard drives all day long for under $100 usd that will likely back up all of the stuff most people need to back up. I always have several in circulation including keeping a copy or two "off site" at work in case of catastrophic failure at home (flood, fire, theft, etc.).
 

exakta

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Am also somewhat running out of space on the 1TB regular HD and thought I should swap that one for a 2-3TB drive, but what I find of such from reputable brands are only SSDs in regular form.

Are the conventional discs a thing of the past?

Not at all, spinning hard drives just keep growing in size while reducing the price ber byte.

Today in the USA, $50 gets you 1-2TB in a bus powered drive.

$100 gets you 2-4TB bus powered drive or 4-6TB desktop drive.

$150 gets you 8TB desktop drive.

$200 gets you 10-12TB desktop drive.

Two years from now you'll get double the storage for the same price. I still use spinning drives for backups, this year went to using 8TB drives in a NAS as my primary backup for three Macs after many years using an Apple 3TB Time Capsule drive. I have some smaller drives I use for targeted secondary backups.

SSDs are still too expensive to waste for backups, running about $100-150 per TB. I can get an 8TB desktop HDD for the price of a 1TB SSD.

When I upgrade, I just buy the biggest drives I can get for around $100. I've been very satisfied with Western Digital drives, I have not had one crash on me yet even after years of use. I retire them when they become too small.
 
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threeOh

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Mac user here so no comment on your install beyond, if you’re not comfortable with DIY 2 drives and RAM, let someone else do it.

Guidelines I use:
-Don’t bother looking at hdd's
-If you insist on hdd's, no SMR drives. Which, I believe, eliminates any spinner >2TB. SMR are utterly useless for anything other than excruciatingly slow drag and drop writes.
-If ssd, think Crucial, Samsung, SanDisk. The ssd market is like batteries, if you don’t recognize the brand there’s probably a good reason why. Especially true for NVMe.
 

JensM

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-If ssd, think Crucial, Samsung, SanDisk. The ssd market is like batteries, if you don’t recognize the brand there’s probably a good reason why. Especially true for NVMe.

The NVMe I got was Western Digital, the same are the 2,5" I am looking at.

Why? Old habits I think, as well as found them at a rebated price.
 

exakta

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If you insist on hdd's, no SMR drives. Which, I believe, eliminates any spinner >2TB. SMR are utterly useless for anything other than excruciatingly slow drag and drop writes.

To expand on this:

SMR is the acronym for shingled magnetic recording, a way that increases drive density but has lower speed implications for small transfers. The alternative is conventional magnetic recording (CMR). You can still buy high capcity CMR bare drives (not in an enclosure) that are designed specifically for applications that need fast read/write speeds, like 24/7 availibility network attached storage (NAS)...business servers, surveillance video, etc. Most consumer grade HDDs you'd find at a store will indeed be SMR, which is fine for backups or other long-term storage where maximum speed is not as important. You need to read the fine print in the mfr's specs to be 100% sure.

You can google SMR vs. CMR and get all the technical nitty gritty if you care to, but the short answer is if CMR is important, buy an empty enclosure (or use one you already own), a bare CMR drive and put it in the enclosure. This is not rocket science...if you can use a screwdriver, you're good to go...and has the advantage of allowing drive upgrades in the future when you need more storage or the drive fails and needs replacement.

Enclosures are not expensive, reliable USB 3.2 gen 1 (5gbps) desktop enclosures are fast enough for any HDD and only cost about $50 in the USA. Cheap, plastic, off-brand Chinese models can be had online for as little as $20 but I'd avoid those...too many bad user reviews at places like Amazon.
 

threeOh

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To expand on this:

SMR is the acronym for shingled magnetic recording, a way that increases drive density but has lower speed implications for small transfers. The alternative is conventional magnetic recording (CMR). You can still buy high capcity CMR bare drives (not in an enclosure) that are designed specifically for applications that need fast read/write speeds, like 24/7 availibility network attached storage (NAS)...business servers, surveillance video, etc. Most consumer grade HDDs you'd find at a store will indeed be SMR, which is fine for backups or other long-term storage where maximum speed is not as important. You need to read the fine print in the mfr's specs to be 100% sure.

You can google SMR vs. CMR and get all the technical nitty gritty if you care to, but the short answer is if CMR is important, buy an empty enclosure (or use one you already own), a bare CMR drive and put it in the enclosure. This is not rocket science...if you can use a screwdriver, you're good to go...and has the advantage of allowing drive upgrades in the future when you need more storage or the drive fails and needs replacement.

Enclosures are not expensive, reliable USB 3.2 gen 1 (5gbps) desktop enclosures are fast enough for any HDD and only cost about $50 in the USA. Cheap, plastic, off-brand Chinese models can be had online for as little as $20 but I'd avoid those...too many bad user reviews at places like Amazon.
Agreed. As long as people realize we’re discussing a laptop. It’s not going to be a 3.5” drive where much of what you note applies. It’s also going to be a somewhat critical application as opposed to an external devoted to backups or seldom addressed data.

In the 9mm 2.5” universe (laptops) it’s gotten pretty tough to avoid SMR drives. The world has moved away from spinners. SMR drives only quickened the pace.
 

dancebert

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It is not possible to have too many friends, too much good luck health, or too many backups.
Thirty years ago I was learned how to decide if I had enough backups. Still use it, modified to include cloud storage.
For all the files you can't risk losing count the number of your current backups on:
1) Different cloud storage services. Subtract 1.
2) External disks kept where a burgler would be unlikely to look. Subtract 1.
Add the results of 1) and 2). If it's 1, add another cloud service or external disk.

For maximum safety, include:
3) External disks located in a building other than the one containing your computer. Subtract 1.
 

John King

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Thirty years ago I was learned how to decide if I had enough backups. Still use it, modified to include cloud storage.
For all the files you can't risk losing count the number of your current backups on:
1) Different cloud storage services. Subtract 1.
2) External disks kept where a burgler would be unlikely to look. Subtract 1.
Add the results of 1) and 2). If it's 1, add another cloud service or external disk.

For maximum safety, include:
3) External disks located in a building other than the one containing your computer. Subtract 1.
I think you could make that a bit clearer ... ;).

I have one mirror in the box.

A number of external powered drives, rotated as grandfather - father - son, with one kept in a fireproof safe.

A number of 2.5" portable drives (ditto), with one that lives in my camera bag (i.e. off site when I am, or both of us are).

My web site, which is not backup, but contains many images that I would not want to lose.

I do not trust cloud storage for backup. You need access to the financials to be at all certain of their longevity. Even IBM nearly went broke ...
 

PakkyT

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I do not trust cloud storage for backup. You need access to the financials to be at all certain of their longevity. Even IBM nearly went broke .

Ya but it isn't any riskier than any individual external hard drive's longevity. So long as it isn't your only backup, you can lose the Cloud company or lose the Ext HD and still be ok replacing the lost one with something new. My issue with cloud storage is they are expensive compared to hard drives. But I am also good at maintaining regular backups. Cloud storage might be worth it to those who have trouble remembering the last time they ran a backup.
 

pake

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Only different kinds of SSDs inside my machines (desktop and a couple of laptops). Two nVMEs (one for OS, one for data) and one SATA3-version (for backups) in my main pc (ie. desktop). I have one SSD that I use externally via a USB3 dock and backup my data and OS snapshots on it regularly. I also have 3 or 4 old HDDs that also have the same backups and I plug them in with another USB3-dock.

Old HDDs are still totally viable and are excellent for backup purposes. And you save quite a lot $$$ if you "recycle" the old drives and use a dock instead of buying external hard drives. One of my backup HDDs spends most of his time at my work office and one drive is in my heated warehouse (in case our house burns to the ground).

Paranoid? Naaah. You can't be too careful when it comes to your precious memories (aka photos & videos).

Cloud is no-no since I'm a security specialist and it's in my job description to NOT have too much faith in their "security". And who says the cloud providers don't go under just like that and lose your data before you can react? Plus I'd need over 1TB of storage space and that would cost $$$ as well.
 
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LV426

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I run an iMac with nVME and only have apps and random docs on it. All my photos are on an external SSD, 1-SSD for original RAW files and the other SSD as backup with photos reduced to 2mb jpegs just in case. The main SSD stays connected almost always and the other I only connect to backup my keepsakes. Also I have photos in various clouds from sharing but can't always depend on that.
 
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