Have you been shopping around for a new laptop? Have you come across a flashy computer store ad? You might have noticed that in between the specs, storage devices is silently classified as HDD or SSD. Do you actually know the difference between a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and a Solid State Drive (SSD)? Which of the two is the better choice, an SSD or HDD?
The truth is there is no straight forward answer to the latter question. Each computer user has difference storage needs which drive the decision to choose between the two storage options. HDD’s have the advantage of a lower price per Gigabyte over the SSD’s but lag behind in performance. Hence if performance and fast boot is your top priority you’re better suited to take an SSD over the HDD. However, the HDD costs much cheaper than an SSD hence most people, including myself 😉 choose the HDD.
What is an SSD?
SSD is an acronym that stands for Solid State Drive. You can think of it as an advanced and more sophisticated version of your USB memory stick. Like the USB memory stick, SSD’s do not contain any moving parts and store information in microchips. Conversely, a hard disk drive uses a mechanical arm with a read/write head to move around and read information from the right location on a storage platter. This is what gives the SSD an advantage in speed over the HDD.
A typical SSD uses a non-volatile type of memory called NAND-based flash memory. This means that the storage disk does not lose any data stored therein. An SSD brags of superb data integrity value which can be maintained for over 200 years. This means that the data storage life of an SSD can outlive you! I mean how cool is that.
Since an SSD does not have a mechanical arm to read and write data, it instead relies on a controller to perform a bunch of operations related to reading and writing data. The controller determines the overall speed of the drive with it’s decisions of how to store, retrieve, cache and clean up data.
What is an HDD?
Hard Disk Drives have been around the computer history for as long as I can remember. They were introduced by IBM in 1956. That’s right, you can pick up your jaw now, they have been around for 60 years. An HDD uses magnetism to store data on a rotating platter. A read/write head floats above the spinning platter reading and writing data. The faster the platter spins, the faster an HDD can perform.
HDD’s are more pocket friendly due to the low price per Gig over the SSD’s. However, this comparison is swiftly fading due to the different HDD classes. However, it is safe to say that all HDDs are substantially cheaper than SSDs.
Which of the two is the better choice, an SSD or HDD?
This really depends on your storage requirements and the depth of your pockets. If you want cheap storage and lots of it, using a standard hard drive is definitely the more appealing way to go. But if you want super fast boot time and boosted performance, you have to break that home bank for the SSD.