How to choose between Solid State Drive and a normal Hard Disk Drive

Each type of storage has its own unique feature set. So how do they differ, and why would you want to get one over the other?A solid state drive (SSD for short) is the newer model of the traditional Hard disk drive (HDD for short).

Both SSDs and HDD do the same job;

  • They boot your system
  • Store your applications and personal files.

But each type of storage has its own unique feature set. So how do they differ, and why would you want to get one over the other?

Solid State Drive (SSD)

So, an SSD disk is a solid state drive (storage device), based on the use of flash memory, similar to conventional memory cards. Since solid state drives use flash memory nothing spins internally compared to a traditional Hard disk drive.

Quite often you will notice when purchasing a laptop, desktop or tablet device will be more expensive if it contains a solid state drive (SSD).

Other than the SSD having no moving internal parts, it also provides better performance, better data security and more robust (especially for laptops).

Hard Disk Drive (HDD)

Hard drive technology is relatively well known and documents back to 1956. The have evolved over time from parallel (IDE) to SCSI and Serial ATA (SATA).

Capacities have grown from multiple megabytes to multiple terabytes, more than a million-fold increase. Current 3.5-inch hard drives have capacities as high as 14TB, with consumer-oriented 2.5-inch drives maxing out at 5TB.

So what is the verdict?

Both drives have their own great qualities and it’s always important to keep in mind what you need in a drive before you purchase a laptop/desktop.

Here is a table of the best features in the type of Drive:

FeatureHDDSSD
Pricecheapermore expensive
Capacity40GB up to 14TB128GB up to 4TB
Speed AverageFast
FragmentationAffected moreNot affected
DurabilityReliable if not
used for travel
Better longevity
No moving parts
AvailabilityPlentiful in standard PCsBecoming the preferred hard drive in tablets and laptops
Form FactorsLimited to how small it can go based on having spinning parts.
No limitations on size.
NoiseVarious noise levels
due to spinning parts
No noise – no spinning parts
PowerAverage efficiency with moving parts inside the driveMore efficient.
Lower energy bill
for servers
LongevityDecent longevityDecent longevity

So which drive is going to fit your needs the best?

HDDs

  • Enthusiast multimedia users and heavy downloaders: Video collectors need space, and you can only get to 4TB of space cheaply with hard drives.
  • Budget buyers: Plenty of cheap space. SSDs are too expensive for buyers of $500 PCs.
  • Graphic arts and engineering professionals: Video and photo editors wear out storage by overuse. Replacing a 1TB hard drive will be cheaper than replacing a 500GB SSD.
  • General users: Users who prefer to download their media files locally will still need a hard drive with more capacity. But if you mostly stream your music and videos online, buying a smaller SSD for the same money will give you a better experience.

SSDs

  • Road warriors: People who shove their laptops into their bags indiscriminately will want the extra security of an SSD. That laptop may not be fully asleep when you violently shut it to catch your next flight. This also includes folks who work in the field, like utility workers and university researchers.
  • Speed demons: If you need things done now, spend the extra bucks on SSD for quick boot-ups and app launches. Supplement with a storage SSD or hard drive if you need extra space (see below).
  • Graphic arts and engineering professionals: Yes, we know we said they need hard drives, but the speed of an SSD may make the difference between completing two proposals for your client and completing five. These users are prime candidates for dual-drive systems (more on that below).
  • Audio engineers and musicians: If you’re recording music, you don’t want the scratchy sound from a hard drive intruding. Go for quieter SSDs.

So you see there is a few things to consider when looking to purchase a laptop or desktop with a SSD or a HDD. You can always speak to one of our sales consultants if you are unsure.

Robert Brown
28/04/2020

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