Whether comparing hard drives in different laptops, desktops, or looking to build a custom computer, you always want to know what you’re getting with your purchase. All hard drives are not created equal. In fact, there are major differences between SSD and HDD drives that have a significant impact on your experience. At the end of the day both of these drives do their job, booting up your system and storing personal data, but which does it best?
The classic hard disk drive (HDD) stores memory while your computer is shut down on a metal-coated magnetic disk. The magnetic coating is what stores your data. In order to store data and at some point retrieve that memory, a HDD uses a read/write arm. A metal needle at the end of the arm is used to write data onto the magnetic disk and to read what was previously stored, much like a needle used in record players. In the past these drives were one of the only available, but are still popular today.
HDD’s have been around for quite awhile, having been the best and most popular memory system for computers up until the modern computer age of today. They are readily available in any tech store and easily purchased online. They also are relatively cheap, much less expensive per GB than their SSD counterparts. HDDs also win out in storage capacity. A common 3.5 in’ HDD can store up to 10 TB. That being said, HDD size has reached the smallest we think it can for practically uses at about 2.5 in’. Due to their moving parts, HDDs are prone to durability issues. If you drop your laptop it may damage the read/write needle, completely compromising your hard drive.
Solid state drives (SSD) stores data through connected micro flash memory chips. This nonvolatile (if you turn off the disk you won’t lose your data) memory storage works essentially like an advanced USB stick. It has no moving parts, instead SSDs use a processor to run a series of operations that control caching, error correction, speed of read and writing, among others that are necessary for a hard drives job.
SSDs read and write memory much faster than HDDs and also have less durability issues since they have no moving parts. The speed of SSDs is a huge benefit of this system, helping its’ computers to boot up faster, start applications quicker, and has a smooth rapid performance throughout use. SSDs are completely silent, something not even the best HDD can boast. They also can be smaller than HDDs and will only get smaller as technology improves. They do have their drawbacks, tending to top out at about 4TB of memory and are more expensive. While becoming more popular, finding very specific specs can take some work compared to finding the HDD you’d want.
Overall, If you are looking primarily for cost effectiveness and storage capacity HDD is the option you should look at. Whereas if performance is your key concern and you aren’t too worried on spending extra, SSD is the clear-cut winner. Now that you know the differences between these two hard drive systems, consider what you primarily plan to use your computer for to help your decision process. Ultimately both types of hard drives do their jobs and are proven to do it well. It is just a matter choosing the right drive for the job you want to get done.