SSD vs HDD which is better? Both drives are similar in their function but they store data very differently. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of drive, and deciding on which type is right for you comes down to how you use your computer.
So SSD vs HDD which is better?
SSD does not have any moving parts so it’s less prone to physical damage, does not vibrate, and makes less noise. SSD is much faster and utilizes less power. So for your primary drive, you should use SSD. But if you need a lot of storage in multiple TBs then you can add HDD for storing larger files.
That said, both SSDs and hard drives do the same job: They boot your system and store your applications and personal files. But each type of storage has its unique traits. How do they differ, and why would you want to get one over the other?
SSD Vs HDD: What’s The Difference?
Fundamentally, their purpose is the same: These storage devices preserve your memories, music, documents, and programs. But the technology behind them couldn’t be more different:
HDDs: An enclosure contains a series of platters covered by a ferromagnetic coating. The direction of the magnetization represents the individual bits. Data is read and written by a head that moves extremely fast from one area of the disk to another. Since all of these pieces are “mechanical,” the hard disk is the slowest component of any computer – and the most fragile.
SSDs: These newer types of disks store information on flash memory, which consists of individual memory cells storing bits that are instantly accessible by the controller. If you bought an ultraportable laptop anytime in the last few years, you very likely got a solid-state drive (SSD) as the primary boot drive.
SSD vs HDD: Which Is Better?
HDD: The technology behind hard disk drives is well known and well-tested. Hard disk drives have been around for more than 50 years, steadily increasing their storage capacity and decreasing their physical size. HDDs rely on spinning disks, or platters, to read and write data.
SSD: Solid-state drives use flash memory to deliver superior performance and durability. Without moving parts, SSDs are more durable, run cooler, and use less energy.
|HDD||HDD is an economical option for users.|
Disaster recovery is easy because of the availability of tools & techniques.
HDD offers enormous storage capacity.
|Because of disk rotation latency, it takes time to access the data.|
Consumes more power to function than SSD.
Makes noises & vibrate when in use.
File opening & boot time is more as compared to SSD.
|SSD||Uses less power compared to HDD.|
Since it does not have moving parts, it doesn’t vibrate or make noise while running.
SSDs are much faster than HDDs.
They’re less prone to physical damages as they don’t have movable parts.
|SSDs are expensive.|
High-speed transistors cause the heat in SSD.
SSDs data recovery is costly & complex.
The top available storage unit for SSD is lesser than an average HDD.
Is HDD or SDD Better For Gaming?
Given the huge amounts of data a game has to shuffle back and forth (loading levels, character models, etc), an SSD helps games load and run faster. You’ll also experience less stutter when playing games, as the rest of your PC doesn’t need to wait for game data to load – which can give you quite an advantage.
Here’s a simple example: Loading GTA V takes about 25 seconds on the Samsung 970 Evo Plus SSD, compared to more than two minutes when using an old mechanical hard disk.
SSD vs HDD: Speed
What makes SSDs an increasingly popular choice is their speed. Across the board, SSDs outpace HDDs because they use electrical circuitry and have no physical moving parts. This leads to shorter wait times when you’re starting up and fewer delays when opening apps or doing heavy computing tasks.
A typical SSD with a middle-of-the-road 512 GB capacity offers up to 10x faster read speeds and up to 20x faster write speeds than a midrange HDD with a 2 TB capacity.
These faster speeds lead to performance benefits in several areas, such as when logging in and waiting for apps and services to start up, or when performing storage-intensive tasks such as copying a large file. With an HDD, performance slows significantly, while an SSD can continue to work on other tasks.
Speed is also influenced by the interface used in an SSD vs. hard drive that connects to the rest of the computer system when transferring data back and forth. You might have heard of these interfaces—SATA and PCI Express* (PCIe*). SATA is an older, slower, legacy technology, while PCIe is newer and faster. SSDs with PCIe* interfaces will typically be much, much faster than HDDs with SATA.
SSD vs HDD: Head-To-Head Comparison
|TYPE||Cost||Speed||Durability|| Max Storage ||Energy efficiency|
|HDD||Cheaper||Slower||Less durable||14TB||Use more energy|
|SSD||Expensive||Faster||More durable||4TB||Use less energy|
When it comes to capacity, SSDs for computers are available in 120 GB to 4 TB capacities, whereas HDDs can go anywhere from 250 GB to 14 TB. When measuring cost per capacity, HDDs come out on top, but as SSDs drop in price, this will become less of a differentiator for HDDs.
Reliability is defined as whether data is stored as intended, in an uncorrupted state. SSDs in general are more reliable than HDDs, which again is a function of having no moving parts. That’s because, without movement, SSDs aren’t affected by vibration or related thermal issues. SSDs commonly use less power and result in longer battery life because data access is much faster and the device is idle more often. With their spinning disks, HDDs require more power when they start up than SSDs.
SSD vs HDD: Pricing
SSDs are more expensive than hard drives in terms of dollar per gigabyte. A 1TB internal 2.5-inch hard drive costs between $40 and $60, but as of this writing, the very cheapest SSDs of the same capacity and form factor start at around $100. That translates into 4 to 6 cents per gigabyte for the hard drive versus 10 cents per gigabyte for the SSD.
The differences are more drastic if you look at high-capacity 3.5-inch hard drives. For example, a 12TB 3.5-inch hard drive that sells for around $300 to $350 can push the per-gigabyte cost below 3 cents. Since hard drives use older, more established technology, they will likely remain less expensive for the foreseeable future.
Though the per-gig price gap is closing between hard drives and low-end SSDs, those extra bucks for the SSD may push your system price over budget.
Maximum And Common Capacities
Consumer SSDs are rarely found in capacities greater than 2TB, and those are expensive. You’re more likely to find 500GB to 1TB units as primary drives in systems. While 500GB is considered a “base” hard drive capacity for premium laptops these days, pricing concerns can push that down to 128GB or 256GB for lower-priced SSD-based systems.
Users with big media collections or who work in content creation will require even more, with 1TB to 8TB drives available in high-end systems. The more storage capacity, the more stuff you can keep on your PC. Cloud-based storage may be good for housing files you plan to share among your smartphone, tablet, and PC, but local storage is less expensive, and you have to buy it only once, not subscribe to it.
Reliability And Durability
An SSD has no moving parts, so it is more likely to keep your data safe in the event you drop your laptop bag or your system gets shaken while it’s operating.
Most hard drives park their read/write heads when the system is off, but when they are working, the heads are flying over the drive platter at a distance of a few nanometers. Besides, even parking brakes have limits. If you’re rough on your equipment, an SSD is recommended.
Because hard drives rely on spinning platters, there is a limit to how small they can be manufactured. Years back, there was an initiative to make smaller 1.8-inch spinning hard drives, but that stalled at about 320GB, and smartphone manufacturers only use flash memory for their primary storage.
SSDs have no such limitation, so they can continue to shrink as time goes on. SSDs are available in 2.5-inch laptop-drive sizes, but that’s only for convenience in fitting within established drive bays. They are increasingly moving, though, to the M.2 form factor discussed above, and these drives come in 42mm, 60mm, 80mm, and 120mm lengths.
Noise, Power, And Lifespan
Even the quietest hard drive will emit a bit of noise when it is in use. (The drive platters spin and the read arm ticks back and forth.) Faster hard drives will tend to make more noise than those that are slower. SSDs make no noise at all; they’re non-mechanical.
Plus, an SSD doesn’t have to expend electricity spinning up a platter from a standstill. Consequently, none of the energy consumed by the SSD is wasted as friction or noise, rendering them more efficient. On a desktop or in a server, that will lead to a lower energy bill. On a laptop, you’ll be able to get more minutes of battery life.
Then there’s the issue of longevity. While it is true that SSDs wear out over time (each cell in a flash-memory bank can be written to and erased a limited number of times, measured by SSD makers as a “terabytes written” or TBW rating), thanks to TRIM command technology that dynamically optimizes these read/write cycles, you’re more likely to discard the system for obsolescence before you start running into reading/write errors with an SSD.
If you’re really worried, several tools can let you know if you’re approaching the drive’s rated end of life. Eventually, hard drives will wear out from constant use, as well, since they use physical recording methods. Longevity is a wash when it’s separated from travel and ruggedness concerns.
Breaking It Down By User
- Enthusiast Multimedia Users And Heavy Downloaders: Video collectors need space, and you can easily get to 8TB or much more space cheaply with a hard drive.
- Budget Buyers: Ditto. Plenty of cheap space. SSDs are too expensive for buyers of under $1000 PCs.
- Graphic Arts And Engineering Professionals: Video and photo editors fill up and wear out storage faster than most other folks. Replacing or adding a 2TB hard drive will be cheaper than replacing a 500GB SSD, though that gap is closing.
- General Users: These folks are a toss-up. Users who prefer to download or stash large amounts of their media files locally will still need a hard drive with more capacity; SSDs get expensive quickly for big video and music collections.
- Road Warriors: People who shove their laptops into their bags indiscriminately will want the extra security of an SSD. That laptop may not be fully asleep when you violently shut it to catch your next flight. This also includes folks who work in the field, like utility workers and university researchers.
- Speed Demons: If you need things done now, spend the extra bucks on SSD for quick boot-ups and app launches. Supplement with a storage SSD or hard drive if you need extra space.
- Graphic Arts And Engineering Professionals: Yes, we know we said they need hard drives, but the speed of an SSD may make the difference between completing two proposals for your client and completing five. These users are prime candidates for dual-drive systems.
- Audio Engineers And Musicians: If you’re recording or mastering music, you don’t want the scratchy sound from a hard drive intruding. Go for quieter SSDs.
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