HDD vs. SSD: How to Choose the Perfect Storage Solution for Your Device

Is your laptop running out of space? Is your hard disk running slow? Are you looking to upgrade your computer? If so, you might just need a simple hardware upgrade. But, whether to get a high-capacity hard disk drive or a super-fast SSD? If that is delaying your laptop upgrade, we are with you. 

This guide will discuss how an HDD and an SSD differ based on common factors. And what might be your best possible option among them? Because storage space and fast performance are essentials that define a computer or laptop per se. But before we head over to them, let’s have a quick reminder about these storage devices. 

HDD (Hard Disk Drive)

A Hard Disk Drive is a storage device you can find inside the computer. It is a magnetic spinning disk that stores all the data. It has a metal platter with a magnetic coating that spins the disk to read and write data. A small motor also enables the platter to rotate and move. 

Its structure is similar to that of a turntable record player. HDD was in the industry long before SSD was introduced to the computer aspect. An HDD reads and writes data faster along with the platter’s speed. HDD uses the SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) interface to work. 

HDD stores data and information that the user does not access daily. It could be business files, videos, photos, backups, etc. You can generally find HDD in two forms or sizes – 3.5 inches for desktop computers and 2.5 inches for laptops. 

Pros of HDDs:

  • Larger storage capacity. 
  • Relatively cheaper when compared to SSDs.
  • Smaller in size and highly portable. 
  • Besides common data like videos, photos, and text documents, it stores software and operating system-related files. 
  • An accidental computer shutdown will not delete the stored data hard drive.
  • It is hard to remove as it is fixed inside the computer, hereby impossible to lose it. 

Cons of HDDs: 

  • Since the drive is fixated under the computer’s hood, you cannot remove and transfer it to another device. 
  • The surface of the HDD will be damaged if the head component crashes. 
  • You cannot make data recovery if the drive fails. 
  • The possibility of HDD damage or drive crash would delete all your data. 
  • The computer or PC will stop working if the HDD fails or crashes. 

SSD (Solid State Disk)

SSDs have the same functionalities as HDDs. But, like its name, SSD uses solid-state devices inside the computer. Unlike HDDs, SDDs do not have a spinning disk. That is one reason why it has faster performance. It stores data using flash-memory chips or integrated circuits.

SSDs are smaller as they do not have an arm, a spinning disk, or a head. That makes it more flexible and can be used in smaller devices and slim laptops. Its small size of 2.5 inches makes it the perfect replacement for HDDs. Users can access whatever is necessary without the rotation platter for a shorter time. 

SSDs also have SATA ports. Smaller SSDs have mini-SATA. You can install an SSD instead of a hard disk drive for older laptops. But, modern laptops come with pre-installed SSDs that mount directly on the motherboard. This type of mounted SSDs is termed M.2 form. In terms of storage space (GB and TB), SSDs are costlier than HDDs. 

Pros of SSDs:

  • SSDs are more reliable as it stores data in flash memory. 
  • SSD drives are highly durable and resistant to breakage.
  • Without any mechanical parts, SSDs are perfect for carrying sound when traveling. 
  • They are mobile-friendly.
  • It can access a speed of up to 35 – 100 microseconds, which is 100 times more than HDDs. 

Cons of SSDs:

  • SSDs’ upfront costs are very high compared to HDDs. 
  • SSDs have limited maximum storage capacity. 
  • The number of times you can write, erase, and rewrite data on a section of the SSD drive is limited. 

HDD and SSD – Points of difference. 

You can always find specific pros and cons in everything. The same is with these two storage devices. Which storage device to use highly depends on the user’s needs, budget, and purpose. 

HDD is more of a traditional storage device. It is cheaper and has a higher storage capacity. It is also easy to recover data from HDD if damaged. SSD is a new storage technology that uses memory chips to store data. Users can easily access these records. Since it does not spin, it is noiseless. Faster, more durable, and consume less energy than HDDs. 

The primary difference between a hard disk drive and a solid-state drive is the way of data storage and its accessibility. Anyhow, below are the differences between an HDD and an SSD. 

Speed: HDD VS. SSD

Speed is the most significant element that significantly differentiates SSD from HDD. The interface of the storage devices such as PCI Express (PCIe) and SATA influences the speed limit. Higher speeds result in benefiting the overall performance of the computer. 

RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) denotes the speed of hard disks. Hard disks perform faster when the RPM goes higher. 

In most cases, the typical speed of HDDs is around the range of 5400 RPM to 7200 RPM. That is for laptops and PCs. It can also go up to 15000 RPM for server-based platters. So, your drive will deliver 100MB/s on 5400 RPM and 150MB/s on 7200 RPM. 

As we already know, SSDs do not have spinning disks or platters; MB/s denotes the SSDs’ speed. SATA-based SSD can reach up to 550MB/s speed. That number is about thrice that of a traditional HDD. Hence, we can say that SSDs offer faster performance than HDDs. 

Price: HDD VS. SSD

Storage device pricing varies based on brand, segment, and storage capacity. Traditional HDDs usually do not come in large gigabytes. Still, SSDs pricing is way higher than HDDs in terms of per gigabyte. You can find SSDs in SATA, M2, and PCIe. SSDs based on PCIe and M2 are costlier than that SATA-based SSDs. Either way, HDDs are cheaper than SSDs. 

Lifespan: HDD VS. SSD

Theoretically, when the disk writes more data, the likelihood of its shorter lifespan increases. There is a limit to how many read and write cycles a single cell performs. In that sense, hard disk drives have a longer lifespan than SSDs. But, a short lifespan does not mean six months or two years; it could go up to 10 years at most without disk failure. 

However, with TRIM command technology, the short lifespan of SSDs is not a big deal. This technology can optimize the cells’ read and write cycles. 

Capacity: HDD VS. SSD

There is no significant difference in the storage capacity of both drives. HDD and SSD are available in sizes and capacities ranging from 128GB to 20TB or higher. Still, due to the performance basis, SSDs are costlier than HDDs. 

Computer SSDs come in a capacity of 120GB to 30.72TB. And HDDs are available in capacities of 250GB to 20TB at most. 

Also, Read – How To Find And Remove Duplicate Files on Mac

Suppose you think the drives have an excess of unwanted data. In that case, you can readily format the drives, externally or internally, to free up extra space. If necessary, you can easily wipe off the whole data on HDD and SSD. 

However, from the price viewpoint, HDD is a bit advantageous. You get the same storage capacity at a lower rate. 

Durability: HDD VS. SSD

Hard disk drives have moving parts, which are prone to damage if you accidentally drop your computer. At the same time, SSDs don’t have any additional components, making them highly durable even in extreme environments. 

Damage to the computer means a high likelihood of damage to data. And if you use HDD, you might lose all the data in them. But with SSD-based computers, your information is protected even if the device encounters slight physical damage. 

Therefore, SSD is more durable and reliable than HDD. With the proper maintenance, you can expect your SDD to last longer and be in better shape than your HDD. 

Gaming: HDD VS. SSD

Every gamer expects their computer to perform at the highest speed. The game loading becomes faster when the drive speed increases, improving the gaming experience. This is why SSDs are the ultimate storage device for gaming purposes. Its high speed enables the user to shuffle to and fro as per the need of the game. SSDs are advantageous for eSports as you will face minimum or no stuttering. 

Games generally require high GBs as it needs to load characters, audio, textures, graphics, model, etc., in high resolution. SSD in the computer offsets the loading of gaming elements only when needed. HDD typically takes longer to load all the gaming features. 

Data recovery: HDD VS. SSD

Drive failure means a high possibility of complete data loss. This scenario is the same for HDDs and SSDs, with a few differences. As HDD is s traditional storage device, there are not many practical and working ways to recover lost data. 

Since SSDs are a new storage technology for computers, you can find several techniques to apply for data recovery. As a faster device, the process is also quick. There is something called TRIM Command that SSDs use to destroy deleted files. That helps equalize the usage of cells. 

But, that process also makes data recovery harder often. Hence, whatever storage option you have on your computer, always have cloud or external backup storage.  

Power consumption: HDD VS. SSD

Drive with more mechanical parts tends to consume more power. That is why HDD has high power consumption and heats the device. The battery life is also compromised, along with friction and noise. But, SSDs have no spinning parts. As a result, it draws lesser power. 

SSDs do not heat the computer even when you continue working for a long time. Thus, computers will SSD have longer battery life. 

Noise: HDD VS. SSD

When the hard disk drive gets in motion, it makes a noise when spinning. If you hear a clicking sound, it might be a sign of likely hard drive failure. Even though the noise is not loud, you can listen to it in a quiet environment. 

SSDs make no noise as it has no mechanical parts. If you, by any chance, hear some noise, it would be the computer’s fan working. If the CPU heats up, the drive will eventually perform below expectation. 

So, which is the better storage option – HDD or SSD?

If you remove the price factor, our choice would be SSD. It is durable, reliable, compact, and provides fast performance. HDD is also preferable if you have massive data to store. Data recovery is also easier in HDDs. 

You can go for HDDs if – you want a cheaper storage option. Speed is not mandatory for you to work on the computer. You want to save or store data for a long time. 

You can choose SSD if – you are ready to pay a higher amount for faster performance. 

If not, you can use a combination of both. SSD is the primary storage drive to save software and operating system data. An HDD is a secondary storage device to store all your media and personal files.