I’m bothered by the speed and noise of my Time Machine backups. Were I to buy an SSD, would that increase the speed of my backups, or is the time taken really dependent on what the computer itself is doing gathering the data in the first place?
As an SSD is faster than a magnetic drive there will be a difference in speed. The question is if that’s noticable for you. Since TimeMachine runs in the background, I doubt that.
Modern 2.5" magnetic hard disks are really quiet. So rather than investing in a relatively expensive SSD for your TimeMachine backups, I would simply buy a new external 2.5" magnetic disk.
I just bought a 1TB SSD for TimeMachine backups, and it is a lot faster. I can’t quantity that for you at the moment, but it’s faster. It’s also silent, small and rugged.
Here’s a link to the SanDisk that I bought.
Of course it’s faster. But it’s also around 4 times the price of a magnetic external drive. Besides, TimeMachine only does incremental backups. So apart from the first time you run it, it will only backup what has changed since the last time it ran (usually an hour). Unless you’re backing up VM images, the size of what TimeMachine will copy to your backup disk is not that much that you’ll notice the difference. If you notice it at all as TM backups run in the background and in such a way that it won’t impact the overall performance of your Mac.
I just answered the OP’s questions about silence and speed. Anything beyond that would require more information about budget, files, etc. Maybe he’s backing up text files, or maybe he’s backing up videos. Maybe $200 is a lot of money, maybe not.
Personally, I find the speed of the 2.5” HDD I use at school to be annoying, as it is usually backing up my neuroimaging data when I need to leave to teach or for a meeting. I have to skip this backup and wait for it to grind to a halt before I can eject the drive. Since the SSD is working well for me at home, I’ll probably replace the HDD at school soon.
Follow up: 1TB SSD is about 4x faster than my 4TB 3.5" external, both are USB 3.
The SSD backs up about 1GB/min.