The hard disk drive (HDD) has been the primary storage device for desktop computers and laptops for a long time. But with the invention of solid state drive (SSD) technology, consumers are now able to choose between the two. So which one should you go for — HDD or SSD? Read on to find out.
What is an HDD?
A hard disk drive (HDD) is a computer storage device that’s comprised of metal platters with a magnetic coating, spindle, and various moving parts to process and store data. The common size for laptop hard drives is the 2.5” model, while a larger 3.5” model is usually found in desktop computers.
What is an SSD?
A solid state drive (SSD) is another type of data storage device that performs the same job as an HDD. But instead of storing data on metal platters, an SSD uses flash memory chips and an embedded processor to store, retrieve, and cache data. It is roughly the same size as a typical HDD and looks like a smartphone battery.
HDD and SSD comparison
Now let’s take a closer look at the two devices. We break it down into the following main categories:
This is where SSDs truly prevail. While HDDs need a long time to access data and files because the disk must spin to find it, SSDs can complete this task 200% faster since data is instantly accessed through flash memory chips. This is why an SSD-equipped PC will boot within seconds and deliver blazing fast speeds for launching programs and applications, whereas a computer that uses an HDD will take a much longer time to boot the operating system, and will perform slower than an SSD during normal use.
As of writing, SSD units max out at 60 TB storage capacity. Although there are large SSDs, anything that’s over 512 GB is beyond most people’s price range. HDDs, on the other hand, have large capacities (1–2 TB) available for much more affordable prices.
HDDs consist of various moving parts and components, making them susceptible to shock and damage. The longer you use your HDD, the more they wear down and eventually end up failing. Meanwhile, SSDs use a non-mechanical flash storage mounted on a circuit board, providing better performance and reliability, and making it more likely to keep your files and data safe.
An HDD can sometimes be the loudest part of your computer. Even the highest-performing HDDs will emit some noise when the drive is spinning back and forth to process data. SSDs have no moving parts, so it makes no noise at all.
More moving parts means more heat, and HDD users will have to accept that their device will degenerate over time because of the heat HDDs produce. An SSD uses flash memory, generating less heat, so they have a longer lifespan.
SSDs are much more expensive than HDDs, although today the price difference has narrowed considerably. This is why most computers with an SSD only have a few hundred gigabytes of storage. HDDs are about twice as cheap as SSDs.
Despite the higher costs and lower storage capacity, SSD is the clear winner over HDD in terms of performance. While you’re paying more for less memory with an SSD, you’re investing in a faster and far more durable data storage option in the long run.
We recommend using an SSD as the primary storage for your operating system, applications, and most-used programs. You can install an HDD on the same computer to store documents, movies, music, and pictures; these files don’t need to leverage the incredible access times and speed of SSD.