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SSDs are faster than HDDs! So why not just settle with machines that come with SSD? After all, who doesn’t like to own a computer that boots in 4-5 seconds and can handle multitasking without lagging?
Well, two basic storage types that every laptop uses are the SSD and HDD drives. And there is a reason they both persist. So, here we are with the SSD vs HDD guide, to help you choose which one is good for you! (The Inner us: SSD, of course.)
Do not worry if you are new to computers or don’t have both of these storages. By the end of this guide, you’ll know all there is to know about SSD and HDD.
Table of Contents
- So What is a Solid State Drive or SSD?
- What is a Hard Disk Drive or HDD?
- SSD vs HDD: Which one is better for your system?5 Parameters Compared
So What is a Solid State Drive or SSD?
A solid-state drive or an SSD is a newer piece of storage technology that uses integrated circuit assemblies to store data (music, video, files, documents, etc.); it also uses flash memory. Almost every modern laptop comes with an SSD.
The first SSD was introduced by SanDisk decades ago as a faster alternative to HDDs. Unlike hard disk drives, they do not contain any spinning disks and movable read-write heads. They are resistant to physical shocks and produce zero noise when in use.
Furthermore, SSD drives depend on the number of NAND chips used in the device which determines the overall device performance.
There are several types of SSD depending on the number of bits stored in each semiconductor cell. The single-level cell or SLC is probably the most reliable and fast compared to the less expensive Multi-Level Cell (MLC) and Triple Level Cell (TLC).
The TLC is generally used for applications that have low performance while MLC is meant for personal use.
- Advantages of SSD
- Shock-proof and durable
- Uses less power than the traditional hard drives
- Increases boot time of the system
- Provides incredible speed and overall performance
- Greater Read/Write speed
- No noise or vibrations
- Disadvantages of SSD
- SSD is more expensive
- Limited storage capacity
- Data recovery is costly and difficult
- Life expectancy is shorter
What is a Hard Disk Drive or HDD?
A Hard Disk Drive or HDD is a traditional data storage disk device that uses magnetic storage to store and retrieve digital information using one or more rigid, rapidly rotating disks. Since they are based on circular disks, the performance depends largely on how fast the disk rotates.
Moreover, HDDs are non-volatile storage devices. This means that a user can retain data even when the device is switched off.
Hard Disk Drives have much more capacity than any other storage device. As of now, the highest unit of data for any HDD storage is 20TB. Even though companies are replacing HDDs with SSDs due to performance issues, the value per dollar that HDDs offer over SSDs is still much better.
- Advantages of HDD
- Easily available in the market
- Price is affordable and varied
- Storage capacity is enormous
- Much more durable than SSD
- Life expectancy is higher
- Data recovery is easier and simpler
- Disadvantages of HDD
- Consumes more power than the SSD device
- Makes noise and vibrates due to rotation
- Speed and performance are much lower
- Boot speed is slow
SSD vs HDD: Which one is better for your system?5 Parameters Compared
Now, after understanding the basic idea behind both storage devices, let’s break down different characteristics and see how they compare.
1) Storage Capacity: Higher Capacity SSDs are Costly
Most users look for a device with more storage. If that were the only priority, HDDs would be a no-brainer since they offer much more space than SSDs.
HDDs range from several hundred MB to 20TB of storage space. If you have a PC, you might have been using an HDD with a capacity not less than 128GB or as high as 2TB. For enterprise use, you can get even higher-capacity HDDs.
We already know that the data in a hard drive is non-volatile but data loss still happens. This is why you should not purchase a hard drive with the highest capacity and store all the data in a single unit.
Solid State Drive or SSDs also have large capacities to store data but not as much compared to hard drives. SSDs go up to a few terabytes of space but are very costly. For example, Macbooks have been equipped with SSD storage that contains up to 4TB of space with excellent speed.
Of course, you could always purchase a laptop with an SSD and HDD combo. You can store all the massive applications that need a good amount of space on the SSD drive and all your other files, such as photos, videos, etc., on the HDD storage space.
2) The Price: SSD is Expensive Compared to HDDs
The second parameter is the price of these storage devices. The price plays a huge role when choosing the storage as it will depend on your needs and available budget.
SSDs are much costlier per GB compared to an HDD device. As you move over to the higher-capacity SSDs, the costlier they will be. The type of SSD is also important.
HDDs, on the other hand, are much more affordable. SSDs are a huge reason that the cost of a laptop increases overall compared to those with HDDs. If the price is a big factor in purchasing a device, HDD is the one to go for.
3) Speed: SSD vs HDD
The overall laptop speed is connected to the read/write speed of the disk.
- Average SSD Speed: reads 550 megabytes per second (MBps) and writes it at 520 MBps.
- The average HDD speed is only 125MBps for both reading and writing.
Price and capacity are the first things that come to mind when comparing HDDs and SSDs, but the real difference lies in speed and performance. The main reason why users and companies prefer SSD devices is the incredible speed they provide and increased performance.
What do we mean by better speed? Well – an SSD will copy or transfer data up to 5x faster than a standard HDD.
Hard drives are slower than SSD because of the seek time and latency. One can increase the speed of a Hard Drive only by reducing the latency, i.e. by increasing the rotation rate of the platters, which is not impossible, but difficult.
So, if you are looking for better performance and speed from the device, SSD is always the right choice as compared to HDD.
4) Lifespan: SSD vs HDD
SSDs have many more benefits than just speed and performance. They use less power and save tons of energy and battery life for the system.
Hard drives work with moving parts and wear out sooner than the SSDs. If by any chance you drop your laptop, this alone could damage the HDD beyond repair.
Even though the SSD storage device is physically shockproof, there is still a chance of data loss in some other circumstances. It is a pure myth that SSD devices are completely durable and cannot be damaged. It all depends on how you use it.
With SSD, the more data you write, the more it wears off. Companies usually give a warranty of about 5-6 years for these devices, to be on the safe side.
5) Data Loss and Recovery: SSD vs HDD
With HDDs, data loss is a very common issue faced by users all over the world. It can happen due to multiple reasons including physical damage, corrupted disk, or any other circumstances. Since the HDD is a non-volatile storage device, data recovery is much simpler and easier as compared to SSD devices. The process is very simple and you can recover data even if the power is off.
With an SSD storage device, people tend to believe that they do not suffer data loss as there are no moving parts involved. Instead, there are other mechanical factors such as firmware corruption, electrical damage, or controller failure that lead to data loss in an SSD. Here the process of data recovery is quite complicated and costly. If the device is broken there is no turning back and your data is lost forever.
Flash memory wears out faster the more you write data on it. So, it isn’t invincible and due to the complications of the algorithms used in the SSD architecture, it can be difficult to recover data.
You should choose SSD over HDD for good performance and better speed. Otherwise, in terms of capacity and price, the better option is Hard Drives.
Or, you can use a combination of both SSD and HDD storage devices in your system to maintain a balance. In terms of capacity, you can opt for a good Hard Drive and speed, and a small SSD would work as well.
Soon, SSD will have a much greater capacity, thus combining both speed and space. Now that you know which one is better, it’s a good time to consider how much storage you actually need.
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