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I've got an application which requires data recording in a outdoor environment, and I am interested in the reliability of SSDs vs HDD when placed in a cold (down to -20) and hot (+50) ambient environments. Intuition leads me to believe SSDs will be more reliable, with the possible exception of high temperatures. Air conditioning enclosures is not an option.

Does anyone have any information on disk reliability in these situations?

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Have you checked the datasheets of any specific drives? There are industrial HDDs made for wider temperature ranges. –  mulaz Feb 18 at 14:52
possible duplicate of SSD head / cylinder / cluster details –  ewwhite Feb 18 at 15:14
How much data are you logging/how heavy is the OS? If performance isn't really an issue, I would look into using an SD/CF card or maybe even a USB flash drive. –  Nick T Feb 18 at 18:16
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2 Answers

Look for an industrial or ruggedized SSD for this application.

A good example of a proper product spec.

.Standard 2.5" SATA III SSD, compatible with SATA III/II/I interface
.Capacity: 32GB ~ 256GB
.Data transfer rate: Up to 490 MB/s
.Built-in ECC (Error Correction Code) function
.Support ATA-8 command and SMART function
I.  Operating Temperature: 0℃ ~ +70℃
II. Extended Temperature: -40℃ ~ +85℃
III. Storage Temperature: -55℃ ~ +95℃
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Hey thanks for the links- Do you know what is the difference between operating temperature and extended temperature? –  John Feb 18 at 15:26
absolutely. just like any "spike" in a metric, systems can usually handle that spike up to some extended period of time before accelerated breakdown. bottom line is you do not want your extended temp to be your normal operating conditions. and don't be fooled by people telling you they have some device that functions normally in extended conditions. there will always be outliers. also, you run the risk of voiding mfg warranty (but not something i would get worked up over) –  austin Feb 18 at 15:43
Do you know if these temperatures are for ambient temps, or working temps? Living in a hot country, I've had individual electronic components (mainly electrolytic caps, of which there wouldn't be any in an SSD) that shit themselves with extended 40℃ ambient temps, even though they were rated to 115℃. –  Mark Henderson Feb 18 at 23:36
@MarkHenderson Working temperatures... I have industrial SSDs in some of the packing and sorting machinery located in the coolers/freezers of warehousing environments. –  ewwhite Feb 18 at 23:51
It's not just about temperature... –  ewwhite Feb 19 at 19:18
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Yes, there are chips which can work on extreme temperatures (both in cold or warm), but they are much costly. In practice, in most situations it is better (a LOT cheaper) to solve the problem of the temperature stabilisation as to use such electronics.

The temperature between -20 - +50 C isn't really extreme, especially in case of always working hardware, because its normal ohmical heat will him enough for the normal work. For the higher temp I suggest to use simply air conditioning.

And yes, SSDs are more reliable because they don't contain moving parts.

Another solution (I don't know it were applicable in your situation): you could use a simple, minimal embedded hardware which stores its data in a better, protected area, and reaches it with cable network or with wifi.

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this answer offers very little. examples? useful products? experiences and proof to back up your claim that SSDs are more reliable? –  austin Feb 18 at 15:46
@PeterHorvath it is generally expected that if you make an assertion (as you are doing in your answer: that ruggedized chips/devices are "much more costly" than standard ones) you will back it up with a reference. There's no "directive" on this as it's not a stack exchange policy - it's just common sense. You are of course free to disregard common sense, but answers with appropriate references tend to get more upvotes than ones that just make an assertion. –  voretaq7 Feb 18 at 16:46
@NathanC If somebody thinks different, for example thinks that "yes, coldresistant chips are very cheap", I could come out a lot more and weigher proof behind my opinion as he. But I didn't happened, maybe nobody thinks it so. –  Peter Horvath Feb 18 at 16:46
@PeterHorvath most ICs are fine in the cold, see here. I find it astonishing that you think purchasing, installing, and powering an AC unit is cheaper than buying perhaps a few ruggedized disk drives. –  Nick T Feb 18 at 18:11
Awful answer. Adds no value, misinforms. -1. If it truly was easier to solve the temperature problem, people would. But clearly, that's not the case because a market exists for rugged hardware. You really think it's easier to cool down an assembly line than install rugged hardware? What about computer hardware that, say, lives its life near an internal combustion engine? (You know, like the ones in your car.) How about computers that need to go outside? It might not get cold where you live, but a lot of the world does, and don't want computers that they can't use during the winter months. –  HopelessN00b Feb 18 at 19:32
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