Difference and comparison between HDD and SSD
- by Susith Nonis
- in Server
In this article we will go through the advantages, disadvantages and differences of HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) and SSDs (Solid State Disks). This guide will help you when you’re going to buy a new laptop or a computer.
When your searching for a new laptop there’s a lot of options with HDDs and SSDs and even both of them together. So which one is best for you?
We will go through both the storage devices:
- Hard disk drives (traditional shard disk)
- Solid state drive (SSD)
- SSD vs HDD price
- SSD vs HDD capacity
- SSD vs HDD speed
If you have a desktop PC, then you’ll be able to install both of these hard drives at once. However it’s not as flexible when it comes to laptops. But before we get down to the comparisons lets quickly go through the two types of storages.
Traditional Hard Disk Drives
Usually most desktop PCs come equipped with a traditional hard disk which will store the operating system with all the applications and files. These are also non-volatile storage devices which doesn’t erase the data when the computer is turned off.
HDDs contain circular disks or a platters that stores your data. The read-write arm will read and write data into these disks while their spinning. That’s why sometimes it’s also known as traditional spinning drives.
HDDs are made up of mechanical moving parts combined with electrical circuitry.
Solid State Drives
As you can see here, these type of storage devices has no moving parts like the HDDs. These are the newer versions of HDDs but they have also been around for a while now. If you have a modern laptop, it’s highly likely that you use an SSD.
SSD’s uses NAND flash memory (Negative-AND) which means that higher the number of NAND memory chips an SSD has, the higher the storage capacity. Initially it was difficult to have higher storage but with the technological advances it’s possible to even have storage similar to HDDs.
Many SSDs come with SATA III ports which can be easily replaced with HDDs. However the maximum throughput of SATA III is 600MB/s which is fine for HDDs but SSDs are capable of faster speeds.
So to avoid any kind of bottlenecks, there are SSDs that has a PCIe connection which can be connected to the PCIe lane on the motherboard for much faster speeds.
Another increasingly common connection for SSDs is the M.2. If your laptop uses an SSD, it’s most likely using an M.2 connection, and most modern desktop PCs have motherboards with an M.2 port.
M.2 SSDs are typically smaller than other SSDs, which means they can be easily installed without impacting your other components.
NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) is the newest SSD technology, and offers incredibly fast data transfer speeds.
HDD vs SSD: Price
The biggest difference you would see between an HDD and SSD is the price. SSDs are more expensive per gigabyte than the traditional spinning drives.
SSD price > HDD price
But the prices change between the SSD types also. The SATA III SSDs are cheaper than the M2 and PCIe SSDs. Since the SATA III type SSDs have been around for quite some time, it’s almost the same price as the HDDs.
If you want more capacity for a cheaper price, then you should consider having an SSD. There’s a very high chance of getting really nice HDDs with high storage for quite a cheap price.
HDD vs SSD: Capacity
Comparing to the price situation above, when it comes to the storage between SSD and HDD, it’s a win for HDDs. If you’re looking for a lot of space then the best is to choose an HDD over and SSD. I mean if you have loads of money then go for an SSD ;)
HDD capacity > SSD capacity
HDD storage range from 40GB up to 12TB for commercial hard drives, while there are even larger capacities for enterprise usages. For a very affordable price you can get yourself a 2TB hard drive which is plenty to store your applications, movies, pictures and files.
If you’re in need of storing loads of files then we recommend to get several small hard drives instead of getting a single larger hard drive. The main reason is that if the drive fails then all your data will be gone, but if you use several HDDs then you won’t be losing everything.
HDDs are good for storing lots of large files, which makes them good for holding photos, videos and games.
In the past SSDs were not capable of handling large capacities of data but now thanks to advances in technology you can get SSDs with terabytes of storage. However they also come with a hefty price tag also.
Best option is to get a smaller SSD (128GB to 512GB) to store programs and operating system to take advantage of the higher speed. To store files you can use a HDD as speed is not important in having storage.
HDD vs SSD: Speed
Between the speeds of HDD and SSD the clear winner becomes the SSD. With the new advances of technology and by removing the SATA III bottleneck the speeds have sky rocketed.
With HDD speeds, they use a spinning platter and the speed of the drive depends on the RPM (revolutions per minute). The higher the RPM the higher the speed of the hard disk. There are two main speeds when it comes to HDD speeds:
- 5400 RPM
- 7200 RPM
Our suggestion is to choose a HDD with the higher speed.
You can get higher-RPM drives, up to 10,000 RPM and even higher, but these are rarer and more expensive.
The official way of measuring the speeds for HDD and SSD is by measuring the MB/s for both read ((how fast the drive can read data) and write (how fast data can be written on the drive). The speed of a 5400 RPM drive will have around 100 MB/s (megabytes per second) and a 7200 RPM will have a 150 MB/s.
Since there are no moving parts in SSDs, RPM will have no effect on it.
An SSD with the SATA III connection will have 550 MB/s read and 520 MB/s write speeds. However some will be faster but maximum speed will be 600MB/s. As you see even with the SATA connection limitation the SSD performs four times higher than an HDD.
Average speeds for PCIe/M.2 SSDs range from around 1.2GB/s up to around 1.4GB/s – and if you’ve got the budget there are even some that can reach 2.2GB/s.
So, you’re looking at around 10 times the speed if you go for one of these SSDs. When it comes to speed and performance, SSDs are definitely the way to go.
SSD speed > HDD speed
By now considering the price, capacity and speed you have an idea however before getting any product, it’s always better to check the reviews from real users. When it comes to laptops it’s better to choose an SSD because:
- No moving parts and are more robust
- SSDs uses less power compared to HDDs
However HDDs are a better choice when it comes to storing large amounts of data. As we mentioned above the best option would be to get a small HDD for OS and applications and then get an HDD to store the files.
Let us know if this was helpful in the comments below!