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SSD vs HDD NAS – Which is Better? – Learn Here

In the modern world, people are generating data at unprecedented rates. On top of that all devices have to be connected for easy access to the data. In such situation NAS has becomes all the more popular. As such, the comparison SSD vs HDD NAS has become quite relevant.

Simply put, SSD NAS offer faster storage while HDDs have higher capacities for a cheaper price. 

We will explore this a bit further in depth below.

From family photos to large projects in office, a lot of new data is being created with very limited storage to contain it all.

We’d all love to access our data across all our devices but there’s a problem: some of the solutions involve paying a premium fee to a cloud company to keep your data and sometimes you’re not sure if your data is yours anymore.

Enter NAS (Network Attached Storage), a smart solution that seems to fix all the problems above.

Also Read: Best Motherboards for NAS

What is Network Attached Storage?

Many of you are already familiar with how memory drives work. You store your data in them and this may be your music or files you need for school or work.

Conventional external drives work in a very simple way. You get one, plug it into a computer, and transfer files to it. You can then carry your files around and use them on another device.

But this process gets a little tiring. What if you have a lot of files and a lot of devices you’ll need to access the files from.

NAS devices give you access to your files more conveniently and gracefully. A NAS has bays where you can plug in your drives and the amazing bit is that they can connect to your local area network!

Just like a computer, you can plug your NAS to your router and through the power of electronics, you get all your files delivered to you over the network.

NAS devices are fully-fledged computers complete with an Operating system that gives you a lot of customization options.

A NAS system
A QNAP NAS Device with four drive bays. Source: sharedwaterworks.com

Also Read: 5 Best Motherboards for NAS in 2020

What about the Storage

A NAS would not be a NAS without storage units. The devices come with two or more bays to let you attach and add storage devices.

You also get higher redundancy options with some features like RAID that can come in handy in case one of the drives fail.

Nowadays users have a lot of options when it comes to customizing their NAS. With storage, you can have SSDs or regular hard drives depending on the support from your drive.

Let’s take a closer look at how each of these storage options is beneficial for your system.

SSD vs HDD NAS

The basic point of a NAS is to provide high availability for user’s data over a network. This means that you should be able to have fast access to your files, sometimes even over the internet, when you need them.

To pull this off, you may want some equally fast storage.

SATA SSD for a NAS
The Seagate line of IronWolf SATA SSDs is ideal for NAS use. Source: seagate.com

Speed

To start this off, a NAS operates on a network. This means that the system will perform best on a network that supports high speeds. Some systems have as low as 100-120 MB/s due to the LAN network meaning that you may not fully utilize the SSDs unless you opt for faster network infrastructure.

For high-speed access to files, an SSD can come quite in handy. This will bring some noticeable improvements especially when moving very large files since the difference in small files of a few megabytes can be too little to consider.

However, if you are using yours to store large media files that you’re working on, then you will notice some speed benefits when using an SSD, of course on a fast network.

Also Read: Best External Hard Drives for Long Term Storage

Heat

When you deploy a NAS, the point is to have it running 27/7, or at least for long periods uninterrupted. 

If this is the case, you will always need a solution that does not generate too much heat. This is a great place to consider an SSD as well if you need to run it much cooler.

This doesn’t imply the HDDs will overheat. However, because of the moving parts, they tend to generate some heat and if you stack a few of them close together, the heat may be noticeable. A good cooling system can minimize this problem.

Noise

Unlike SSDs, HDDs produce some noise during operation because of the rotations of their platters. SSDs do not have any moving parts so they run a little bit more quietly.

If you have a desktop NAS and you want to dull out any noise, then going with an SSD will be the best option.

However, if noise is not that much of a burden then opting for an HDD can be a better alternative because of the next reason.

Cost

If we look at the price per Gigabyte, an SSD happens to be more expensive than an HDD. If you are cost-conscious and want to invest in a good reliable system without breaking the bank, then the HDD alternative will be a suitable one.

While they do not perform as well as SSDs, HDDs are still reliable and you can get some good performance from some like those with 7200 RPMs.

While they may be a little cheaper to buy, HDDs are a little costlier than SSDs to operate. Here’s how…

Power Consumption

The lack of moving parts means that SSDs need much less power than HDDs would. On a personal NAS, you may not have enough drives to make a huge difference to your electrical bill, but it’s still worth noting that HDDs use much more power.

SSD vs HDD NAS
A graphic showing some of the main differences between an SSD and an HDD Source: ultrabookreview.com

Also Read: Onboard Wi-Fi vs Wi-Fi Card vs Wi-Fi USB

A Hybrid Solution

What if there was a way you could utilize the power of the SSD with the cost-cutting benefits of HDDs?

There’s a way you can combine the two.

You can use an SSD as a cache for your HDDs on your NAS as a way of optimizing the drives. In this setup, some regularly accessed files can be stored on the faster SSD (cached) drive for quicker access to them.

This is known as SSD caching in NAS systems and doing it can greatly reduce the response times of your setup when fetching some files, resulting in better performance.

However, this is not a silver bullet as not all tasks will benefit from SSD caching. An example of this is when reading or writing large amounts of data sequentially; like streaming video content.

There are two ways to set this up: As a read-only cache and as a read-write cache. However, you choose to set your NAS up will depend on your needs.

Conclusion

Having easy access to data is great business today and is the very reason why the cloud infrastructure was developed.

With a NAS, a user can have access to their very own ‘personal cloud service’ where they can store and retrieve their data from.

This is great for people in an office who need access to the same data. So, SSD vs HDD NAS, which one is better?

When we get down to it, we see that SSDs offer the best performance while HDDs have moderate performance but friendlier costs.

The ultimate choice will depend on the user’s needs.

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