They say that the disadvantage of SSD drives is that they are not available if we want a lot of capacity and although it is true that the cost per GB has been decreasing over time, when you want a large capacity drive the ideal is to choose a traditional hard drive.
This is demonstrated by the ExaDrive SSD that appeared two years ago in versions of 50 and 100 TB of which we did not know its price. Now we know, and we have compared its cost per terabyte with that of other alternatives on the market. The results confirm what we have known for a long time: if you want speed, go for an SSD, but if you want capacity, hard drives still have no competition.
Huge SSDs, only for the (very) wealthy
Nimbus Data Exadrive SSDs are 3.5-inch SATA solid-state drives — it is normal to see 2.5-inch drives with that standard — that make use of SK Hynix 3D NAND MLC chips, although the exact configuration of these devices was not known.
Is it so designed for data centres, not for end-users, but those who want to take advantage of its features – 500 MBps and up to 114,000 IOPS, a very decent figure – will have to pay a high price for them.
In fact, the 50TB ExaDrive DC is priced at $ 12,500, while the 100TB drives cost even more per GB, and its price is 40,000 dollars.
Cost per TB sets the record straight
The huge prices of these units make it clear that the cost per terabyte starts getting too high when we want bigger SSDs. The difference between SATA and M.2 NVMe drives is not as noticeable as it might seem, and in fact, the fundamental factor is not so much the performance of the drive (but also) but it’s capacity.
We wanted to make a quick comparison with some representative models of this market. For this, we have compared the prices of the Exadrives with the prices in dollars that these models currently had on Amazon.com. Obviously these prices can fluctuate significantly, but the final idea does not change too much even with the existence of possible offers, for example.
The two traditional 4 and 16 TB hard drives faced three conventional SSDs, two SATA (Crucial and Samsung) and one M.2 NVMe (WD Black). The price certainly goes up for the latter, but not particularly alarmingly.
Things change if we go too much higher capacities. Exadrive units here show that they are not profitable unless we have that specific need -therefore its clear business focus- because in the end, it is possible to join several units of good size and save a lot of money.
As a curiosity we wanted to include a 1TB Micro SD card in which the same principle is met as with SSDs: for modest sizes, the cost per TB is really affordable, but the thing shoots up when we want a lot of capacity.
It is true that today it is highly recommended to buy SSD drives for our PCs and laptops now that the prices for TB are affordable in many cases, but it is also true that the old reality of hard drives hasn’t changed too much. If you need to store a lot of data and speed is not the key factor, traditional hard drives are unrivalled.
That said, not so long ago it seemed unthinkable that we would have 1TB SSD drives at decent prices and today they are within everyone’s reach. It may not be too long until we see 8 TB SSDs at prices almost like a hard drive with that capacity.. Samsung is about to take out its QVO units with this capacity, but it is estimated that the price will approach $ 1,000, so here it only remains to be patient.