SSD Vs HDD: If you look at the history of storage, the user has not had many options to choose from. Old PCs usually have a hard disk drive (HDD). What is an HDD? It is a well-known technology that has traditionally been used for storage. This is where the operating system resides. All your folders, files and other applications installed on your device are also present in the HDD.
SSD Vs HDD: Which one is Better and Why?
What is HDD?
How does a hard disk drive (HDD) work? An HDD’s main component is a circular disk. This is called the platter. The platter stores all your data. There is a read-write arm over the platter that reads from or writes data to the disk. The speed with which the OS and other applications on your device work depend on the speed of your HDD. The faster the platter rotates, the higher is the speed.
These platters can be one or more in number. These disks are coated with magnetic material on both sides. The read-write head moves very fast. Since the HDD has moving parts, it is the slowest and most fragile component of a system.
How do read/write operations take place? A platter is divided into sections. These concentric circles are called tracks. Each track is divided into logical units called sectors. An area of storage is addressed by its sector and track number. The unique addresses produced from the combination of sector and track numbers are used to store and locate data.
When you want to update/retrieve data, the actuator arm locates the address of the data with the help of the I/O controller. The read/write head checks whether there is charge in each address or not. It gathers data based on whether the charge is present or not. To perform an update operation, the read/write head changes the charge on the specified track and sector number.
Note: the term latency describes the time taken for the actuator arm to find the right location while the platter is spinning.
What are the benefits of using an HDD?
The most obvious benefit of HDD is it is a tried and tested technology. IT has been there for several years. The next benefit is mass storage. HDDs are available in large sizes. In some PCs where you can have more than a single drive, you can keep multiple HDDs for large storage. Also, for the same amount of storage, you will be paying less for an HDD than an SSD. Thus, the HDDs are less expensive.
What are the limitations of an HDD?
The HDD is made up of mechanical parts that move while performing read/write operations. If not handled properly, HDD parts can fail to work. These parts are fragile and need to be handled carefully. Since an address needs to be physically searched, the latency is high in the case of HDDs. Yet another limitation would be the weight – HDDs weigh more than SSDs. Not only that, but they also consume more energy when compared to SSDs.
Who should use HDDs?
We have seen the pros and cons of using an HDD. Who is it for? Let us see.
- If you are on a budget, you should go for HDDs. You get large amounts of storage at pocket-friendly prices.
- If you are a heavy user of multimedia or you need to store a high number of videos, then you will need lots of space. And where do you get large storage at an affordable rate? – HDDs
- People who are into graphic designing also prefer HDDs over SSDs. Usage of photo and video editor wears out the storage. HDDs can be replaced at a cheaper cost compared to SSDs.
- If you want to download and access media files locally, then HDDs should be your choice of storage.
What is SSD?
Solid State Drive or SSD is a relatively new storage technology. Many modern laptops have SSDs. It does not have any mechanical parts that move. Then, how does it work? It uses a NAND flash memory. The storage it has depends on the number of NAND chips it contains. Thus, the aim is to expand the number of chips an SSD can hold so that sizes similar to HDD can be achieved.
The base technology used in SSD is the same as that of USB drives. Here, the floating gate transistors check whether there is a charge in the specific address to store data. These gates are organized as grids and blocks. Each row of blocks that make up a grip is called a page. There is a controller that keeps track of all the operations performed.
What are the benefits of SSD?
For gamers are users who frequently stream movies, SSD is a better choice due to their superior speed. They weigh lesser than HDD. Also, SSD is not as fragile as HDD. So, durability is another benefit. Your system will be cooler as SSDs consume lesser energy than HDDs.
What are the limitations of SSD?
The main drawback of an SSD is its price. They are more expensive than HDDs. Since they are relatively new, the prices may come down with time. SSDs are suitable for users who want storage with massive capacity.
Who should use SSDs?
When is a solid-state drive preferred over HDD? In the situations mentioned below.
- People who are frequently on-the-go: businessmen, utility workers, researchers, etc… These people may not be able to handle their laptops in a fragile way. If they use laptops with HDDs, there may be a higher chance of wear and tear. So, it is better to go for SSDs.
- For quick bootups and app launches, SSD is preferred. If speed is your priority, choose a system with SSD storage.
- Sound engineers, musicians may want to use SSDs because the noise from the HDD may be disturbing while working with audio.
Note – Engineering professions and other users who prefer good speed but also depend on hard drives. Such people can go for systems with dual drives.
SSD Vs HDD: What’s the difference?
In this section, we compare hard disk drive and solid-state drive on parameters such as size, speed, performance….
Companies have been trying to reduce the gap between the capacity of HDD and SSD. It is possible to get both HDD and SSD of similar sizes. However, an SSD will cost more than an HDD of the same size.
The general range of available storage is 128 GB – 2 GB. However, if you are looking for systems with massive storage, HDDs are the way to go. You can even get an HDD of 4TB. The commercial hard drives range from 40GB to 12TB. HDDs of even higher capacities are available for enterprise use. For a general end-user, a 2 TB HDD will suffice. HDDs of size 8TB-12TB are used for servers and other devices that hold backed up data. It is available at an affordable rate as well. In the initial days of SSD, large sizes were not available. But today, you can obtain SSDs with Terabytes of storage. But they come with a heavy price tag.
Experts recommend having multiple HDDs with small capacities rather than a single large HDD. This is because, in case of a drive failure, all your data is lost if it is on a single drive. If data is stored in several drives, when one drive fails, data on others remain unaffected.
Although SSDs are catching up with the HDD capacity, affordability is still a problem. Thus, for those focussing on a good capacity, HDDs are the primary choice of storage.
The common end-user is usually on a budget. They want to get products and services at pocket-friendly rates. When it comes to price, HDDs beat SSD’s hands down. HDDs are less expensive because it is an established technology. The average cost of a 1TB HDD is $50. But an SSD of the same capacity would cost almost $125. The price gap is closing steadily. There may come a time when SSDs are just as inexpensive. However, currently and in the near future, HDDs are the budget-friendly option.
Speed is one of the strongest points of SSDs. The booting process of an SSD PC will take just a few seconds. Be it booting up or subsequent functions, the HDD is always slower than an SSD. All operations such as file transferring, launching, and running of applications will be faster on a PC with SSD.
The stark difference in speeds is mainly because of the way they are built. An HDD has many parts that move. Its speed is dependent on the rotation speed of the platter. An SSD does not dependent on mechanical moving parts. Therefore, it is much faster. Speed and performance are the greatest strengths of a solid-state drive. If these parameters are your priority, then you should be willing to pay a higher cost and buy an SSD.
With an SSD, you do not risk serious damage in case of drops. This is because they do not have any moving parts. If you are a user who doesn’t have the time to handle your system softly, it is better to buy a system with an SSD. Your data is safe in your system even if you are rough in handling it.
All kinds of hard disk drives emit some amount of noise. However, SSDs are non-mechanical devices. Thus they are quiet when they operate. This is the reason why audio engineers and musicians love to work with systems that have the solid-state drive. If you do not care about the mild noise, you may opt for an HDD. If this is a disturbing factor, go for the quiet SSDs.
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You cannot pin-point at one kind of storage and say it is the best. The kind of storage that is best for you depends on your priorities. SSDs have the advantages of unmatched speed, durability, and is noiseless. HDDs are good for users who want high capacity at an affordable price. However, they are fragile and may emit noise. So, if you are someone who prefers to locally access all media files, you will need an HDD. If you are looking at a good speed and keep your files and folders in cloud storage, then SSDs are a better choice.