on February 09, 2015 Digital Asset Management

What Drive Setup is Best for My Project? The State of Hard Drives in 2015

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It’s an age-old question, “What drive setup is best for my project?” For larger projects the question turns into, “If I am using a Non-Raid drive architecture, should I use JBOD? And if I am using JBOD, which drives have the lowest rate of failure?”

As more and more options come on to the market, it can be even more difficult to keep track of what drive setup is best for a given project. Main priorities are storage capacity, reliability, speed, and price, but technology of the past two years has forced project managers to take much more into consideration when deciding on the best drives for their project. And the competition between HDDs (hard disk drives) and SSDs (solid state drives) has been heating up, leading to even more options to choose from.

Here is a look at the present and future status of HDDs, SSDs and Flash Storage:


In 2003, hard drive density was doubling at such a phenomenal rate that it was expected to reach one terabit per square inch by 2006. However, density increases slowed after 2003, and now there are two solutions vying to surpass 1 Tb/in². Michael Watts recently reported on the competition between Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) and Bit Patterned Media (BPM). He noted, “Whichever technology gets to the first full-sized target density drive will dominate the industry. It is unclear whether HARM or BPM will win, and even less clear when it will happen.”

There is no doubt that storage capacity has continued to increase while prices have steadily decreased for HDDs. This has always been a major selling point and a reason why hard drive sales still surpass SSD sales. Last month, Seagate’s 8TB drives became available for only $260. But even today, we still do not know what the future holds for HDDs.


If you bought a Macbook in the last two years, you have noticed the sleeker design and that it doesn’t get so hot while you rest it on your lap anymore. SSD drives and flash storage are smaller, quieter, faster, and run cooler than HDDs. They also don’t have moving parts. Data is stored on flash memory chips, and they are therefore more durable. However, 2.5 inch SSDs rarely go up to 1TB of storage, and SSDs are still much more expensive than HDDs. By 2016, SmartData Collective estimated that 239 million flash drives will be shipped every year. To read a complete list of comparisons between HDDs and SSDs, check out PC mag’s report.

USB 3.1

While the future of HDDs and SSDs offers more options and less certainty for long-term investments, there is no doubt that USB 3 and the upcoming release of USB 3.1 will continue to pave the way for faster transfer rates on sleeker devices. USB 3.1 is equipped with a connector meant for ports on smaller devices. It delivers up to 10 gigabits per second, with a carrying capacity of up to 100 watts - putting it in contention with Thunderbolt. But doesn’t this mean you have to buy a new computer and drives that are USB 3.1 compatible?

The future of drives has been in question for over a decade. As the changing technology of local storage increases at a faster rate, it means more time spent researching and investing to make sure you always are up to speed - often more than once every year and sometimes for each new project. It also means investing in computers and drives with ports supporting the newest data transfer services. Suddenly, you’ve spent valuable time and resources only to find yourself in what seems like a never-ending cycle.

Cloud storage solves many of these issues, and Silicon Angle says 82% of companies saved money by moving to the cloud in 2014. For more reasons to transition to Cloud Storage, see our recent blog post, Cloud vs. Local: The Saga Continues.

What's your experience been in choosing hard drives for your projects? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Ben Bokaer

Support Manager at MediaSilo. Avid movie-goer. I also own the most adorable kitten-- her name is Sassafras.