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If you want to buy a new computer or laptop, you will probably come across HDD and SSD hard drives in your research.
newer computers and laptops now tend to come with SSDs as preference, but budget models may still opt for HDDs. Both have advantages and disadvantages; Although their physical properties are similar, the ways of writing and storing data are very different.
What is HDD?
HDD: It means Hard Disk Drive. The storage capacity of HDDs has increased over the years and has shrunk in size. However, they still need spinning disks to read data.
A traditional HDD can store an operating system, applications, and files with a circular disk known as a data-storage plate.
If your desktop or laptop has a HDD, you can probably hear the plate spinning when installing multiple applications, which makes your device work more.
Most modern HDDs use a SATA connection to connect to a computer’s motherboard, and the latest SATA III connection provides the fastest data transfer available for a HDD.
What is SSD?
Hard Disk drive (SSD) is newer than HDD technology, but it has been on the market for a while and is not the latest storage technology available.
SSD HDD Difference
Unlike HDDs, SSDs contain no moving parts and instead use NAND flash memory . When they were first released, SSDs struggled to keep up with HDDs in terms of storage capacity. However, SSDs can now compete with HDDs, as more NAND memory chips are available.
Similar to modern HDDs, SSDs come with SATA III ports so they can easily replace a HDD and are usually smaller in physical size. The maximum data throughput of SATA III is 600MB / s.
Overall, you’ll see some of the best SATA III SSDs with read speeds of around 550MB / s, such as this Samsung 860 EVO. While this kind of speed works well for HDDs, SSDs can handle much higher speeds.
To fix this, SSDs were built with PCIe links and allowed a direct connection to the motherboard at much higher speeds. However, if you have a motherboard with fewer PCIe lanes to use with other devices, you may decide to connect a graphics card in favor of an SSD.
Modern PCs and laptops now use M.2 SSDs , which are typically smaller than SSDs . Newer motherboards with M.2 ports allow your SSD to connect to your motherboard while freeing up space for other components without compromising your SSD.
The latest SSD technology is NVMe offering some of the highest data transfer speeds available. But of course it comes at a much higher price. To put this in perspective, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus offers read / write speeds of up to 3,500 / 3,300 MB / s.
SSD vs HDD Speed Difference
The speed difference between an SSD and a HDD depends entirely on the hardware you are comparing. The table below should give you a general idea of the performance difference between SSD and HDD.
|Reading Speed||550 MB / sn||125 MB / sn|
|Writing Speed||520 MB / sn||125 MB / sn|
When it comes to read speed, an SSD is about four times faster than an HDD, and the write speed is slightly lower in comparison. However, using a more compatible SSD interface such as PCIe can offer an even higher data rate.
|Data rate||560 MB / sn||985MB / s (per lane)|
Average speeds for PCIe and M.2 SSDs are around 1.2 GB / s to 1.4 GB / s, and in some cases can reach 2.2 GB / s if you can afford the excessive cost.
Many people prefer to put their operating system on an SSD because of their superior performance. System boot speeds are much faster compared to storing an OS on a HDD.
It wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect a 200% -800% improvement in boot speed, causing Windows to boot in about 20 seconds. Compare this with a HDD of about 40-60 seconds and you can see a big difference.
If money doesn’t matter, SSDs can be up to 10 times faster than HDDs, so they are the clear winner in terms of speed and performance.
SSD and HDD Storage Capacities
HDD storage can range from 40GB to 12TB for general commercial use . Enterprise use can reach even higher storage capacities, but in most cases you can get good value for HDD with 2TB storage.
If you need to store a lot of data, it’s recommended to have multiple hard drives with smaller storage capacities rather than putting all your eggs in one basket and relying on a single hard drive. If your hard drive fails or becomes corrupted, you may lose all your data, but if you save your data to multiple hard drives, you won’t lose all of it.
HDDs are good for holding large amounts of data, especially videos, photos, and games. However, they don’t perform as well as SSDs due to their slower read and write speeds . So you can store most of your games on a HDD, but store your favorite and most power hungry games on your SSD.
SSDs were only available in smaller capacities and were generally made for operating systems that took up less space than thousands of files, games, and media. However, you can now get SSDs with terabytes of storage , although they tend to be more expensive .
SSD vs HDD Price Difference
One of the biggest differences between SSDs and HDDs is their cost. SSDs tend to be more expensive per gigabyte than HDDs , but there are also features to consider.
SATA III SSDs are generally less expensive than M.2 and PCIe SSDs as they contain older technology. However, you can get a SATA III SSD for a similar price to a traditional HDD.
If you’re only after storage capacity, HDDs are generally cheaper and you’ll get a lot of value for money. However, if you decide whether to buy an SSD or HDD for your operating system, you can easily get a 256GB SSD for a similar price to a HDD, but the specs will be much better.
SSD Vs HDD: User Types
While it’s easy to compare SSDs and HDDs in terms of specifications and performance, it’s often easier to apply and relate to the type of user to decide whether an SSD or HDD is right for you.
- Multimedia users: HDDs have large storage capacities at affordable prices, so they are ideal for users who want to store large numbers of images, videos, and other media.
- Graphic artists: Photo editors and video software can take up a decent amount of storage space. Besides the software itself, photos and videos of certain formats can quickly fill up storage space.
- Budget users: HDDs are cheaper than SSDs if you have a budget. Budget PCs and laptops often contain HDDs.
- On the go: Users who travel a lot or work in the field will benefit from the fast performance offered by an SSD, especially when they need to quickly boot a laptop from sleep mode.
- Musicians: Musicians will benefit from the increase in performance an SSD can offer and quieter sounds compared to a noisy HDD.
- Gamers: Gamers who rely on games to load and perform well will see a difference in how their games load when plugged into an SSD compared to an HDD.
The Future of Storage
It is difficult to predict whether SSDs will replace entire HDDs as there are many storage options available, including cloud storage.
SSDs are still expensive compared to HDDs if you want to exchange terabytes of data on your PC or laptop. For some users, they need a lot of storage space; it doesn’t have to be fast or quiet. It just needs to exist.
However, the prices of SSDs are falling and it becomes easier to buy a good SSD with a lot of storage compared to 5 years ago. SATA III SSDs will undoubtedly become cheaper as new SSD technology emerges.