External SSD Pros and Cons

External SSD Pros and Cons

Last Updated on Friday, December 7, 2018 by ProsCons

A good, protected, hard-cased, rugged external hard drive is ideal for keeping backups. A hard drive that doesn’t require external power to operate is even better. A small sized cute little drive that can store your entire lifetime of memories in blazing fast speed, it is everyone’s dream. But at what cost? You might ask. We are talking about External SSD here. While having SSD as internal drive is a great thing for speed, durability, compactness and many other purposes, is it really that great to have for the external purpose? We will be answering this question in the post through External SSD pros and Cons.

The choice to make whether to buy an external spinning magnetic hard disk or non-spinning Solid State Drive (SSD) varies in many factors. One of the factors may be personal preference and others with the features they provide. SSD stores data in interconnected flash memories or integrated circuit assemblies to store data persistently even without power. While it has the significant advantage over the hard disk drive (HDD), it might or might not hold true for an external drive as well.

Pros and Cons of External SSD


Pros and Cons of External SSD

The answer to many questions arising over the use of SSD as an external drive may be solved by its pros and cons.

Pros of External SSD

  • Speed: The immediate advantage of SSD is speed. It stores data in non-volatile flash memory which provides almost immediate access to files on the drive. The faster read-write speed makes reading from and writing to SSD quick.
  • Shock Resistant: While there is no movable, spinning part inside, it is definitely shock resistant. A mild shock might not damage the SSD while HDD has the danger of data loss. The shock resistance adds to the ruggedness and portability of the SSD meaning it can survive in harsh situations.
  • Form Factor: As there are no moving parts involved, the circuitry takes up very small space and can even be shrunk. With the small space taking circuitry, the SSD can be made smaller and more compact. The small size ensures the portability of the SSD.
  • Noise-free: There is constant distracting sounds and vibration produced by the Hard Disk due to the movement of read-write head running through the magnetic disk. While it is processing huge amount of data, it produces even more sound. The SSD has no such moving part. This advantage over the HDD makes the SSD quitter in operation.
  • Energy efficiency: SSD operates with much lower power than the HDD which has many movable parts to provide power to. Some external HDD require an external power source to operate while external SSD can operate without any external power source.

Cons of External SSD

  • Costlier: It holds true that great things cost more. While you can buy external HDD of 1TB storage under $100, SSD with same specs will cost you probably 10 times the price. It will be advised to stick with HDD with much larger storage option than the SSD just for the sake of speed unless you are a serious need of speed.
  • Speed limitation: The USB that is mostly used in the modern laptop becomes the bottleneck in a speed of SSD. The USB cannot provide the speed SSD can achieve as internal drive. This makes the usability of SSD very limited. There are options for Flash sticks with smaller storage yet speed lying between HDD and SSD.
  • Limited PE cycle: The program-erase cycle of SSD is limited to 3000-5000. The flash memory starts to lose bits after the PE limit is reached which is a big disadvantage of SSD over HDD.
  • Smaller Base storage: The availability of higher storage option for the external SSD is rare. Either is very hard to find or it is very pricey to purchase. Imagine you buying a 500GB variant compact SSD and losing it, it would be a loss of $200 dollars just like that.

[ Further Reading ] Intel Optane Memory Pros and Cons


While it is advisable to have an external drive for the backup purpose, having an SSD in particular isn’t that important. It can probably because we have USB 3.0 in most of the laptop out there and may it be SSD or HDD, the speed is going to be limited to the capacity of USB port it is using. So, buy cheaper external HDD with much higher storage option than the amount you will be spending in external SSD.

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