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I recently started carrying my SSD to and from work rather than my entire computer. So I bought a case on Amazon to protect it while it is in my bag.

I was surprised to find that the case was literally just a plastic box with struts inside to hold the SSD in place. I wondered why there weren't any pads or cushions to absorb shocks.

Then I realized that it's an SSD, and it doesn't have any moving parts, as opposed to an HDD. So shocks are irrelevant. Or are they?

My question is whether an SSD is shock-proof due to the absence of moving parts, so I don't have to be too careful about dropping it, etc. More generally, I'm interested in how sturdy SSDs are. I know that HDDs could be quite sensitive due to the large number of very fine and small moving parts. An SSD seems structurally more resistant to damage. Is my intuition right? What sorts of damages do I need to look out for? Are SSDs as sensitive to magnets and electrostatic shock as HDDs?

  • 1
    An SSD has no mechanical parts. You could drop it from a reasonable height and you could still read data from it. But I don't suggest you so that, because your definition of reasonable isn't likely actually reasonable. It's still a fragile piece of electronic equipment not actually designed to be dropped – Ramhound Jul 30 '14 at 1:50
  • Impossible to answer. Every manufacturer would have some claim about their product, but it greatly depends on design of the components. – Tyson Jul 30 '14 at 1:53
  • Too broad to answer.. – AStopher Sep 2 '14 at 19:19
  • If the case has its own USB (or whatever) connector, then the connector on the drive itself will be protected from the wear-and-tear of attaching the cable. This is a good thing, as you can replace the case, if necessary, more easily than the connector on the drive. – Andrew Morton Sep 27 '14 at 19:36
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That depends on the drive, but they are very sturdy compared to rotating hard drives. Let's take a look at the Intel 530 SSD for example:

Temperature

− Operating: 0 C to 70 C

− Non-Operating: -55 C to 95 C

Reliability

— Shock (operating and non-operating): 1,500 G/0.5 msec

Vibration

— Operating: 2.17 GRMS (5-700 Hz)

— Non-operating: 3.13 GRMS (5-800 Hz)

What does this exactly mean?

I don't really know. But let's compare them to a Western Digital Black 3TB hard drive:

Temperature

  • Operating: 5 C to 55 C
  • Non-Operating: -40 C to 70 C

Reliablity

  • Shock (operating write) 30G/2msec, (operating read) 65G/2msec, (non-operating) 300G/2msec

I don't know of a way to estimate G-forces in shocks, but you can see by those numbers that a solid-state drive is much, much more resilient to those forces.

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To answer your latter questions, SSDs are still sensitive electronic devices. A static shock of sufficient power can erase data or even damage the drive permanently. SSDs are far more resilient to magnetic fields, as they do not use magnetic media to store data. If you pass a powerful magnetic field over a traditional magnetic hard drive, you can quite possibly erase all your data. Passing a strong magnetic field over a SSD can create a current, which can also damage the drive.

Now to your initial question. The typical consumer SSD is not designed to be "rugged." What is rugged? There are actually several rugged definitions. Check this link to see some different standards. Obviously, with no moving parts, SSDs can take a decent amount of shock without damaging its internal parts. Still, the external housing of a SSD is just a thin layer of metal, enough force can bend it and crack the PCB and components inside.

Now there are cases that can protect drives and make them far less likely to be damaged. See this article, for an example. IoSafe supposedly has a case/drive combo that can withstand 20-foot drops, underwater submersion for up to three days and two and a half tons of crushing weight. Off label, for the last two years at CES, the drive has survived blasts from a shotgun and electrifying jolts from a tesla coil.

In the end, a SSD in a simple case, will more than likely survive normal everyday wear and tear, like being in a backpack or being "gently" dropped. But then again, I havent had any issues with a portable magnetic drive being damaged in the same situation.

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