I came across an article online at macworld.co.uk where they were advising readers to not buy an iMac that contained an old-fashioned hard drive. Instead of the old-fashioned hard drive, the article covered several reasons why it would be better to purchase an iMac with SSD. They went on to state that the hard drives are unreliable and that regular hard drives (5400 rpm) are slow.
With this in mind, I thought it would be interesting for me to post an article outlining reasons why you should buy an iMac with a regular hard drive rather than with SSD. Plus, I want to go over why you should NOT build your Mac with both SSD and a regular hard drive. I know, it sounds like a great idea, but in a moment you will discover how that can go horribly wrong for you with disastrous results concerning your data.
Hard drives that run at 5400 rpm are commonly used in MacBooks and other devices of that size. The iMac contains a regular 3.5-inch hard drive that is run at 7200 rpm by default. This has been the case for a very long time. There would not be any significant difference in performance between an SSD and a well-maintained 7200 rpm hard drive. That is, at least to a regular user. So, don’t let the numbers confuse you. Yes, 7200 rpm is faster than 5400 rpm but in my experience, as fast as an SSD is, you will not see much of a difference regardless of what you are using your computer for.
Regular hard drives happen to be far more reliable than SSDs. However, maybe not quite as secure. Most modern SSDs have the controller chips encrypted by the manufacturer, so if a problem were to develop with one of the NAND flash chips on your SSD, your data will be lost. That means any attempt at recovering the data will be useless. At least with most regular hard drives, depending on the damage they have sustained, data recovery of at least most of the files is possible. If risking your data is not an issue, then SSD is your answer but in today’s world, any risk to data is something worth avoiding.
Are you thinking about having faster load speeds and browsing and are planning on installing an SSD as your primary drive…and using the SSD to run your file operating system and to hold your system information while keeping your data on a regular hard drive? Well, it turns out that many iMacs already have these settings preconfigured and it is not much more than bad news for you. That’s because if something happens to the SSD, the only option to recover data from the hard drive will be in RAW format without a file or folder structure. Believe me, that can turn into a real nightmare you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.
I think the three reasons listed above are all you need to convince you to shy away from dealing with SSDs. In general terms, SSDs are faster. They also provide a faster workflow for your projects. If you are a professional user, these are key things to keep in mind. Plus, backing up your data weekly or even daily is still recommended. Remember, once an SSD dies, in most cases, it dies for good.
Otherwise, stick to the well-respected hard drive manufacturers and you will know that their products will work for you without much problem. I hope I have been able to clear up any misconceptions you may have had regarding SSD versus a regular hard drive. If you have any further questions regarding this post, feel free to contact me.
Also read Best External SSDs for Mac
About the author: Yevgeniy Kapishon is a hardcore techno enthusiast, a senior data recovery engineer, and a blogger at Aesonlabs® Data Recovery Systems, living in Toronto. In his free time, he likes to wander and explore the back alleys of his neighborhood or carve into his favorite sci-fi flicks.