SSD V/S HDD: Most of them are now buying laptops for their computing needs and deciding between getting either a Solid State Drive (SSD) or Hard Disk Drive (HDD) as the storage component is a tough choice to make. So, which one among these two is the better choice, is it SSD storage or HDD storage? There’s no straightforward answer to this question; but yet, each buyer has different needs and you have to evaluate and arrive at a decision based on those needs, your preferences, and of course budget. Even though the price of SSDs has been dropping over time, the price per gigabyte advantage has a significant effect on HDDs.
Having said that, if performance and fast bootup is your primary concern and money is a secondary factor you would think of, then going with SSD is the best choice for you. To make it easy for you, we’ve made a comparison of SSD and HDD storage.
What is SSD Storage?
Let’s get to know about SSD. With zero assumptions, to make it easy and simple for you to understand, for example, you might be shopping for a computer or storage upgrade and wondering what the heck SSD actually means? To start with, SSD stands for Solid State Drive. If you’re familiar with USB memory sticks, SSD can be thought of as an oversized and sophisticated version of the USB memory stick.
Similar to memory stick storage, there are no moving parts to an SSD. Rather, data is stored in microchips. Contrarily, a hard disk drive uses a mechanical arm with a read/write head to move around and read the information from the right location on storage space. This difference is a primary factor that scales up SSD speed.
To understand with a simple analogy, what’s quicker? Having to walk across the room to get a book or having that book open in front of you when you need it? That’s how an HDD could be compared to an SSD; it requires more physical labor (mechanical movement) to fetch the information.
A typical SSD would use NAND-based flash memory. This is a non-volatile memory. What does non-volatile mean? The simple answer is that, even if you turn off the disk, it won’t “forget” what was stored on it. This is, of course, an essential characteristic of any permanent/non-volatile memory. During the initial days of SSDs, rumors floated around saying that stored data would be worn off and be lost after a few years. Regardless, that rumor is not true with today’s technology, as you can read and write to an SSD all day long and the data storage integrity will be maintained for over 200 years from now. In simple terms, the data storage life of an SSD can outlive you!
An SSD does not have a mechanical arm to read and write data, but instead, it relies on an embedded processor called a controller to perform operations related to reading and writing the data. The controller plays a prime factor in determining the SSD read-write speed.
Tasks such as how to store, retrieve, cache and clean up the data would determine the overall SSD speed. Let us not get into the crux of various tasks it performs such as error correction, read and write caching, encryption, and garbage collection. But yet, it suffices to say, good controller technology is often what separates an excellent SSD read/write speed from a lower one.
The form factor of the SSD could be the same as a regular hard drive. It comes in a standard 1.8”, 2.5”, and 3.5” sizes that can fit into the housing and connectors for the respective hard drives. SATA is the connector used for these standard sizes. Many smaller SSDs are available that use mini-SATA (mSATA) and fit into the mini-PCI Express slot of a laptop. Many upgraded SSDs are available and they can leverage the NVMe interface to deliver rapid SSD speed on the market. NVMe SSDs will be hefty on your pocket than SATA SSDs, but for a better SSD read/write speed, NVMe is the best choice.
What is an HDD?
Hard Disk Drives[HDD] in techno-parlance, have been around for a few decades. HDDs were first introduced by IBM in 1956. As the working procedure is concerned, HDD uses magnetism to store data on a rotating platter and a read/write head floats above the spinning platter to read and write data. The performance of the HDD is directly proportional to platter spins’ speed. i.e, the performance of HDD would scale as the speed of the platter spins increase. In general, a typical laptop drives spin at either 5400 RPM (Revolutions per Minute) or 7200RPM though some server-based platters spin at a rate of 15,000 RPM.
The major advantage of an HDD is that it is capable of storing high quantity data with being light on your pocket. These days, 1-TB (1,024 gigabytes) of storage is a common hard drive storage capacity much needed, and the density would grow by time. However, the cost per gigabyte is hard to calculate since there are many classes to consider. On a whip-hand, all HDDs are substantially cheaper than SSDs. Say, for example, the popular WD Black (1TB) HDD would cost you around $69 on most websites while the OCZ Trion 100 (960GB) and Samsung 850 EVO (1TB) SSDs would cost you $199 and $319 respectively, are three to five times the price of the WD Black HDD.
When appearance is concerned, HDDs normally external appearance looks are the same as SSDs. HDDs primarily use the SATA interface. The most common size of hard drives used for laptops is the 2.5” form factor while a larger 3.5” form factor is used in desktop computers. The larger size allows the storage of more platters inside and thus more storage capacity. In general, up to 6TB of data can be stored in hard drives used in desktops.
SSD V/S HDD.
Now, let’s do some comparison and determine which might be the best choice for you. Is it SSD or HDD?
If we look up the checkmarks, the SSD gets a score of 9 and HDD gets a score of 3. Does that mean an SSD is thrice better than an HDD? The answer is NO. It all depends on your individual needs. The comparison here is just to show up the pros and cons of both options to you. To help you and make the task of choosing an SSD or HDD even simple, here are some tips for you to follow when you decide which drive is best for you:
An HDD might best suit you if:
- You need storage capacity of up to 10TB
- Don’t want to spend much on storage
- Don’t care much about boot-up speed or smooth running of programs – then get an HDD.
An SSD might best suit you if:
- You are willing to pay for quick and efficient performance
- You don’t mind limited storage capacity
HDDs are still the popular and best choice for the majority of moderate consumers, usually choosing the HDD as the storage option for their Laptops or PCs’ simply due to the low price point. However, consumers in large numbers desire high computing performance and are opting for an SSD for their setup or as an upgrade to their current one. Also, SSDs are marching forward at a high pace, are becoming part of the mainstream and standard storage mechanism. Having said that, there will always be a market for both HDDs and SSDs.
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