Hard drives have an advantage: HDDs consume less power – or do they?

Hard drives have an advantage: HDDs consume less power - or do they?

For many home users, hard drives are already a relic of the past, which is at most still a data grave in their own computer. However, if a particularly large amount of data needs to be stored, the comparatively inexpensive HDDs are still superior to the faster SSDs. And not only that: Allegedly, the power consumption should also be lower – depending on the scenario, significantly.

Questionable methodology

At least that is supported by a report by the cloud storage provider Scality, in which the hard drives and SSDs used by the company are compared in terms of their consumption. However, the test methodology certainly raises questions. For example, the comparison candidates – a Micron 6500 Ion with QLC storage and 30.72 TB as well as a Seagate Exos X22 with 7,200 RPM and 22 TB – not measured directly. Instead, the consumption values ​​were taken from the respective data sheets. Depending on the load scenario, the following values ​​were determined:

At first glance, it appears that hard drives are almost twice as efficient per TB for write-intensive applications. As a scenario, Scality assumes 10 percent each in idle and under read load and 80 percent under write load. In addition to the lack of real practical measurements, the deviating data rate is apparently neglected. And while the Seagate HDD only achieves sequential data rates of 272 MB/s to 285 MB/s according to the manufacturer, the Micron SSD achieves sequential write rates of 5,000 MB/s and read rates of 6,800 MB/s.

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In order to transfer the same amount of data, the Micron SSD probably only needs roughly a twentieth as long as the HDD, which means that it could spend much longer in the idle state. At the same time, this is exactly the state where the SSD consumes a little less energy than the hard disk. The actual values ​​should therefore deviate significantly from the table, for reliable statements you would also have to carry out practical measurements here. The general statement that HDDs are more efficient than SDDs remains doubtful for the time being.

Source: Scality via Tom’s Hardware

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