SSD vs HDD for Ethereum and Bitcoin Mining Hardware
The cryptocurrency market was born out of the original blockchain. Prior to this, mining had not been associated with computers. Unconventional hardware usage and innovation evolves along side the growth of this market. SSDs show the potential of mining. The imitations of conventional HDDs to comparatively grow becomes apparent.
OVERVIEW OF BLOCKCHAIN MINING
Miner processing of transactions is the goal of dedicated mining rigs as an essential part of the original blockchain. Today, both proof of work (POW) and proof of stake (POS – validating transactions) make use of mining equipment. This shows that miners and the cryptocurrency market have a symbiotic relationship. A real world question-and-answer discussion about the pros and cons of different devices used for mining can be found here.
Two types of devices used for mining are solid state drives (SSD) and hard disk drives (HDD). Miners use them in similar ways. SSDs offer significant advantages, not the least of which, is the capability of accessing data much faster than HDDs. Currently, SSD products are not entirely superior to HDDs. Find out more about the drives used to mine blockchains here.
Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (Serial ATA or SATA) is a storage device interface. It connects to the host bus.The slimmer cables it uses aids the cooling process. Speeds are at 150 MBps and above. Both SSD and HDD can use SATA cables. Note that a SATA hard drive refers to HDD. More about SATA can be found here.
SATA hard drives have been found to endure heavy usage over the period of a decade. Though, it may not be advisable to run them around the clock, if one is aiming to have the hard drive last this long. In regards to speed, HDDs can not max out SATA capabilities the way SSDs can.
The speed of a HDD is about 100-120 MBps. This is considered very slow compared to a SSD. A HDD running on Windows is not recommended for mining. Just installing Windows would be a time consuming chore for a HDD, but not for a SSD.
SSDs are more durable than HDDs. This holds true even while running continuously for 24 hours, 7 days per week. They can endure for over a decade operating at heavy usage. Overall however, the main reason for using an SSD is that the reboots seem lightning fast compared to HDD reboots.
The limit of the SATA III cables is 550 MBps. SSD easily maxes out this limit. It can even fill up the 3500 MBps of the PCI Express (PCIe) bus. The PCIe is different in that it uses the NVM Express interface.
Stated speeds vary by version and other factors. It is easy to mix up speeds. The speed of the connection differs from the speed of the drive. For instance, a SATA III connection can reach 6 Gbps.
It is also easy to mix up units. Remember, it’s megabytes (not megabits). Megabytes per second (MBps) differ from Megabits per second (mbps). A megabit is larger than a megabyte by a factor of 8. Units are a common oversight.
SSDs have advanced a lot since 2010. There was a known issue of these drives dying quite often. HDD manufacturers took advantage of the issues that plagued SSDs. This hampered the adoption of SSDs. However, SSDs would soon become much more reliable than HDDs. SSDs proved to remain reliable over long and constant operation. Even so, a backup, and or RAID, is recommended. One never knows when an unforeseen event will damage hardware.
NEEDS AND NUANCES OF MINING
Solo mining is impractical. It was once feasible to profit from mining with a regular computer. Those days are gone. To solo mine today, one needs 1000 Mhps or more.
Mining in a pool is much more realistic in today’s market. A 40 gb total would suffice now. This can be accomplished with an AMD or Nvidia driver. Using Windows and a miner, one can mine in a pool in such a configuration. Downloading the blockchain to a PC is not necessary. Neither is having a PC wallet.
Speed is not much of a consideration when choosing a SSD. This is because new models can max out the SATA III connection. There is not a noticeable speed difference among SSDs at the moment.
With that in mind, Samsung is a trusted brand in this space. Their products are among the best. The company consistently manufactures reliable products. Excellence in support issues and their warranty policy reassures customers. All this is provided at a competitive price.
Samsung’s 850 line is among the best SATA III SSDs available. The 850 Evo should be more than enough hardware for most recreational miners. The 850 Pro is professional. Its added cost gains miners a better environment and warranty.
Samsung offers a 950 line that connects to a PCIe. This is the same connection used by the GPU. The result is over 5 times the speed. However, the increase in speed is not significant for mining. Some miners with high end computers might find this product convenient. It is only an additional $70. As with the 850 line, Samsung offers an Evo and Pro model.
Miners often complain about electricity costs. SSDs costs more, but use less power. Cheap SSDs offer consumers more than a low price. For some people, their time is inescapably connected to their income. This makes choosing an SSD a no brainer. Factor in that SSD prices continue to fall, and it is clearly the better long term investment.
The speed at which this space is advancing is staggering. The whole of the Ethereum and Bitcoin dominated cryptocurrency and blockchain markets are inspiring innovation across industries. In the years to come, SSDs may prove much more valuable.