Hard Drives: SSD vs HDD


You have the option to go for either Solid State Drive (SSD) or Hard Disk Drive (HDD) when buying computers, laptops, notebooks etc. or upgrading existing hardware. However, you may be confused which one to go for. Knowing the key differences between the two can help you in making the right decision.

SSD drives are like large USB memory devices. They contain no moving parts, and include microchips which store all the information. This is the reason for high speed of SSD’s. The drive relies on Nand-flash memory, which means that it won’t forget the stored data. The read and write data operations are performed with the help of a controller, which also determines it’s storing, caching, retrieving and cleaning decisions. Excellent SSDs contain the best controller technology. The standard sizes are 1.8 inches, 2.5 inches and 3.5 inches. SATA is the connector that is used for the standard sizes, while mini-SATA is used for smaller sized SSD’s.

HDD’s, on the other hand, came into existence much before SSD’s were introduced. The technology was first unveiled by IBM in 1956. HDD’s rely on magnetism and a spinning platter for reading, storing and writing data. The performance speed depends upon the spinning of the platter. Typical speeds include 7200 revolutions per minute, with the highest going up to 15,000. HDD’s strength lies in the fact that a lot of data can be stored at a low cost on these drives as compared to SDD’s. They also rely on SATA for standard sizes, which range from 2.5 inches to 3.5 inches. Some HDD’s even go up to the capacity of 4TB.

A major material used in both SDD’s and HDD’s is magnetic head, which is a rare earth produced by companies like Lynas.

Now for the comparison, SSD’s average 2-3 watts with less power draw while HDD’s average 6-7 watts with more power draw. The cost per gigabyte is $1.50 for the former, while the latter is quite cheap and per gigabyte cost is only $0.10. When it comes to storage capacity, HDD’s win by a huge margin, while SSD’ s are better in terms of low sound, low vibration, no noise and faster writing speed.

HDD’s will be your best option  if you wants lots of storage, are less worried about the computer and program bootup time or don’t have much budget. On the other hand, if you’re going for faster performance and don’t want to store large amounts of data, SSD’s would be your idle pick.

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I was a Computer and Information Technology student at Purdue University. I have always wanted my own website and have been fascinated with technology my entire life. So here I am, what's next?