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Mainly concerned if they are faster

IS THIS faster: 640GB SATA II 3Gb/s 7200 RPM Hard Drive (8MB Cache Buffer)

Or this: 80GB Intel® X25-M SATA Solid-State Drive

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

SSDs are based on flash memory technology. There are no moving parts, so the risk of drive failure is much lower. They're also literally HUNDREDS OF TIMES faster (in benchmarking - in practice you'll have other bottlenecks on the machine.)

Compare a 10,000 RPM traditional drive versus the X25-M (which isn't even the fastest SSD around, although it's probably the most reliable).

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Please also be aware that some SSDs are not actually any faster than mechanical discs. – 8128 Dec 23 '10 at 20:36
@fluteflute - Wowww. That's a lousy controller. I guess this goes back to 'do your homework before you buy', though! – Shinrai Dec 23 '10 at 20:37
"The risk of drive failure" is a conditional statement. If you have a hard drive, and write data on it, you can store that for forever and boot up the drive later with data still there. SSD's lose data over a certain period of time. – KronoS Feb 3 '11 at 21:02
@KronoS - Failure in the 'kaboom, head crash!' sense. And my understanding has always been that in any reasonable amount of time, SSDs never lose reads, only writes. I was under the impression the data would be readable for decades. (This isn't one I'm 100% on though - insight welcome.) EDIT: And hard drives, by design, aren't airtight, so 'forever' isn't accurate because eventually you'll get environmental contamination, but I hope nobody would take that literally anyway haha – Shinrai Feb 3 '11 at 21:08
This is where I got my info on that (look at the bottom of the post) – KronoS Feb 3 '11 at 21:11

Your title is confusing: you aren't comparing SSD to SATA. SATA is how the harddrive connects to the computer. Both harddrives you mention in the OP use SATA.

SSD is the medium that the data are saved onto. The other is a mechanical drive, that contains spinning magnetic disks.

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Of course the 80GB Intel X-25M would be faster, in both access speed and throughput.

SSD nowadays offer much better performance than typical harddisks, especially when you are talking about drives that are slow in rotation speed (5400 rpm) and with a mere 8MB of cache.

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