SSD vs HDD Storage Device:The Truth, Differences, Comparison (2018 Updated)
The arguments on SSD vs HDD has always been prevailing in the market. With the revolutionary change in technology and updates in modern computing systems, a user needs more performance from a more compact and easy to install computer components. The developers discovered a component which revolutionized the way computers operated.
In the late 2000s, all computers made the use of hard disc drives which consisted of motors and rotating discs to read and write from the same media storage device. Later, this is now slowly being replaced by the newer SSDs in the market. Even though SSDs are taking over, the hard disk drives aren’t going anywhere in the near future.
Tip and thought: the difference between SSD and HDD
As a heavy computer user myself, I have used both HDD and SSD in my computer. To be honest, SSDS is much faster than the HDD. This is probably the only difference which can attract more readers and interest them in reading more about them in details later on in this article.
HDDs are made up of several layers of the disc which keeps rotating on a spool and is kept in contact with a magnetic disc reader, which reads as well as writes on the HDD as and when required. SSDs perform similarly, but instead of rotating discs, it makes use of chips and ICs which prove to be much faster due to no mechanical movement in the unit itself.
Short answer: HDD and SSD explained
If compared to SSD vs HDD, there are quite some noticeable differences between SSD and HDD. Hard discs are compact discs clubbed together with a reader that continuously moves and hovers above these rotating discs to read and write on the disc. The speed of a hard disk is measured by the RPM of the rotating discs in the HDD.
SSDs, on the other hand, makes use of small integrated circuits. It is because of this feature in SSDs that they have become faster than a normal HDD. Let us dive into a more detailed comparison and study the difference between SSD and HDD
SSD vs HDD five rounds
Round one: Know SSD and HDD
HDD or Hard Disc Drive is a compact disc storage device which is available in both internal as well as external form. This is a device which makes use of several layers of the disc which is made to rotate on a spool.
These discs are read by a magnetic reader or a mechanical arm which reads and writes on the discs of the device. SSD or Solid State Drives, on the other hand, are also storage devices but is more different than an HDD.
While comparing between HDD vs SSD, it was found that an SSD performs much better and faster than a conventional HDD would. This is the reason why most people nowadays are shifting to SSDs.
What is an SSD?
SSDs or Solid State Drives are the compact non-volatile type of storage device which can read and write data on its memory at a much faster rate and at high speeds. Using an SSD helps the users in many ways.
Firstly, it is a very compact form factor available in both external and internal options. The internal SSD is again available in the portable version and the other M.2 version which can be affixed on to the motherboard for better efficiency at almost 100% performance. Secondly, it speeds up the overall performance of the whole computer.
For example, if your computer took about a minute to boot up while using an HDD, SSD can make your computer boot up in just about 8-10 seconds. This is how fast an SSD works.
How an SSD works?
Let us see how an SSD works. As discussed earlier, in the comparison of SSD vs HDD, HDD uses rotating discs. SSDs are made up of integrated circuits which provides better accuracy and incredible reading and writing speeds.
The SSD works on the NAND technology which is a kind of flash memory type mechanism used for computers. The speed of such devices can go as high as 500MB/s.
What is HDD?
HDD or Hard Disc Drive, on the other hand, is a bulky option to fit in the computer. A hard disc is heavy to hold. The weight of the discs and the magnetic arms adds up to all the weight of the HDD. An HDD is available for the various purpose.
It is available for security and surveillance purposes, for network devices sharing data over a computer network, for regular user performance and those for the gamers which require faster transfer rate between them all.
It uses the slower rotating discs to read and write data off and on the hard disc drive. The speed of an HDD is measured in rotations per minute. The maximum a hard disc drive can go is as high as 7200 RPM.
How hard drives work?
The discs on a hard disk are arranged in a platter form with a mechanical arm and an I/O controller and firmware which communicates all the commands to the hard disc drive and operates accordingly. The mechanical arm is responsible for all the reading and writing processes that go on in a hard disc drive.
The higher the RPM rates in a hard disk, the faster it will be. The evolution of Hard Disc Drives has seen a significant change in the capacity of the same. The platters which are organized as tracks are then divided further into sectors each of which contains a unique address to it and can be located locally.
While reading a data, the mechanical or actuator arm is told in by the I/O controller where the file is located on the disc, and this is when the mechanical arm searches for the file as fast as it can and then produces the file in front of the user as the output. The process is fast due to the influence of the RPM of the rotating discs in an HDD.
Round two: HDD vs SSD Advantages and Disadvantages.
Hard Disc Drives storage devices are meant to store huge amount of data on a compact device. This storage device can be used either internally or as an external source to store all the required data.
As the HDD is made up of small rotating discs, the overall performance of the HDD reduces due to vibrations and friction. The advantages of using an HDD as a storage device is that:
- It is available in both internal and external form factors.
- It is available in huge storage capacity sizes,-1TB, 2TB, 10 TB, etc.
The disadvantages of using an HDD are:
- The rotating discs make way for vibrations which can diminish the life expectancy of an HDD.
- It is bulky.
- HDD has a very short life expectancy which can be at least 5 years of total usage.
SSDs, on the other hand, is a more complex yet compact version of a storage device. This kind of storage devices is slowly taking over the market and in turn making the users experience high-speed processing powers on their computing systems. The advantages of using an SSD are:
- It is faster than an HDD.
- It is more compact
- Read and write speeds @ 500MB/s.
The disadvantages of using an SSD are
- It comes in small packages, i.e., it does not come in high storage capacities. 1TB is the maximum till now.
The price difference between SSD and HDD. Find which is costlier.
When compared with SSD vs HDD, the only one thing that comes to the mind is the cost of having one of these. Hard disc drives have been in the market for a very long time. The capacity of these storage devices has rapidly gone upwards. With a blaring storage capacity of 10TB, one can store almost anything on his or her computer.
The SSD, on the other hand, is newer in the market and is slowly gaining the importance. The price of HDDs is generally lower than usual. They are becoming cheaper as days pass by. SSDs are comparatively costlier than an HDD. This is because the cost of production bore during the time of manufacturing these are more.
Hence, the price automatically rises in the market. There are numerous models of HDD and SSD in the market. Choose yours accordingly.
SSD vs HDD speed one thing to consider amongst all.
The reading and writing speeds of the HDD vs SSD is what matters the most. This is the technology which changed the user’s way of thinking in using the modern computing systems. A hard disc drive normally takes time to operate through all the commands and instructions laid down by the users through commands.
The I/O controller inside the HDD allows the hard disc to browse through all its disc storage space to highlight what is being wanted as an output. SSDs, on the other hand, contains no moving parts as a result of which it becomes easier for an SSD to locate a file on its memory quickly.
Hence, the processing power of the SSD is much faster than that of an HDD. The extra speed which is offered by the SSD can be found beneficial for those who are into high productivity work like editing videos or photographs etc.
Durability: HDD vs SSD who wins?
All machines will die eventually. Some die too soon while some die after a certain period. The longevity of a machine depends on the number of moving parts the machinery contains. In case of a hard disc drive, the hard disc drive is completely made up of moving discs and an arm which reads and writes on the disc.
An HDD can survive till a maximum time of 5-6 years. An SSD, on the other hand, is made up of no moving parts but small ICs which keeps the overall performance of the SSD on a higher note. An SSD can serve the users for as long as 15 years or more as expected. As the market is newly being flourished with SSDs, it will only be proven accurate in the near future.
Fragmentation: overlapping data in various segments.
Fragmentation is a way in which the storage devices work inefficiently and thus wastes the disc spaces available within. The inefficacy of the HDD makes it lose all the capability of high and speedy processing powers which in turn makes the computer slow to work on.
Large files often are found scattered everywhere which later needs to be fragmented every once in a while to keep everything running on its own. SSDs do not fragment rather it cannot fragment. The files are accurately stored, and the SSD makes sure that the process timing is not hampered in any way.
Form factors: how and in which sizes are they available in?
The size of the storage device is also a point which puts light on the difference between SSD and HDD. Things in the modern days of technological advancements are getting smaller day by day.
This has also influenced the storage devices like the HDD or SSD which keeps on getting smaller and smaller. While hard disk drives come in a 2.5’’ SATA port connection size, the SSD comes in a 2.5’’ form factors as well but are much slimmer than the HDD and make it easy to hold by hand.
Noise: which between HDD and SSD is quieter?
No one likes to hear the irritating clicking noise that comes from within the computer’s central processing unit or the CP. As we talk about the differences between HDD vs SSD, hard disks as discussed earlier contains moving elements and parts like the rotating disc and the arm like structure.
These elements when work together often produce a lot of sounds, which can be identified by the sudden clicking and humming sounds made by these, SSDs are soundless because it contains no such moving parts in it whatsoever. Hence, SSDs are much quieter than the HDDs.
Power: which among the two is more power efficient.
It is safe to say that SSDs without any further doubt is the more power efficient storage device in the market right now. It has outweighed the power efficacy of the hard disc drives miles away.
This is because most of the power occupied by the hard disc drives would often be wasted by the moving parts of the storage disc. Hence, SSDs are more power efficient.
Availability of SSD and HDD in the market.
HDDs have been in the market for a long time. Most of the modern computers still use HDDs, but some of the newer models are bringing in the use of SSDS like the ones found in the latest 2018 MacBook Pro.
Even though SSDs are slowly capturing the market, the use and demand of HDDs in the market isn’t going anywhere in the near future.
Overall comparison between SSD vs HDD
HDDs are great. To store many files all together in a large storage capacity drive, HDD is the perfect choice which one can get and also, the cost of an HDD is much less compared to that of the SSD. SSDs provide faster processing speeds which provide and makes way for better performance and better efficiency of the machine. The cost of the SSDs are a bit higher and will eventually fall in the near future.
Round three: SSD vs HDD comparison (in details)
Power draw/ battery life
In a short difference between SSD and HDD, SSDs consume much less power than an HDD. The power taken in by an SSD is around 3 watts which results in a total of 30 minutes of battery boost. The HDD takes in 7 watts of power and uses more of the battery.
SSDs have just been introduced in the market. This is the reason why SSDs cost more than the usual HDDs. So, HDDs are clearer winners when it comes to price.
Operating system boot time.
HDDs normally take in command through the I/O controller and reads all the system file which is already written on the disc. To complete the whole procedure, the overall boot time of a machine running on an HDD is more which is around 30-40 seconds and even a minute. Whereas, SSDs can perform much faster which helps the computer to boot in just about 6-10 seconds.
SSDs contain no moving parts and elements in the overall build-up of the device. HDDs, on the other hand, contain a lot of moving parts in it. Hence, noise produced from an HDD is much more compared to the minimal noise produced by an SSD.
The market is slowly being filled with all kind of higher capacity storage devices. SSDs have been brought in to the market with a maximum capacity of 4TB while HDDs are available in 10TB of total space or even more.
HDDs cannot compensate with the vibrations caused within itself because of the moving parts and elements. The SSDs are made with no moving elements as a result of which it does not vibrate in any way.
Compared to all the friction that goes on within the moving parts of the HDD, heat produced by the HDD is more compared to that of the SSD.
File copy/ transfer speed
While HDDs can work and handle large files really well, the read and write speed of the HDD is much less than an SSD. In the detailed comparison of HDD vs SSD above, we came to know how fast an SSD is able to transfer their files. HDDs provide a speed of over 120MB/s while SSD can go as high as 500MB/s.
Both the HDD and the SSD supports full disk encryption on some of the models available in the market.
File operating speed.
As the reading speed of the HDD is much less compared to that offered by an SSD, the file operating speed is slower on computers and systems operating on an HDD. SSDs provide faster file operations at an unbelievably faster time period.
The moving parts in an HDD can sometimes deem to work. This may cause a failure to read from the disk. This is when the computers lag and hang. This is seen less when the computer is being operated on an SSD. So the winner is SSD.
If we consider SSD vs HDD, SSDs provide a non-magnetic field and is considered safe from any effects caused due to magnetism. On the other hand, magnetic effects on an HDD can erase the data stored on it.
Round four: which one should you choose? The right storage for you.
What a user wants depends solely on the choices he or she makes in choosing the right kind of material and device for their computers. If a user requires performance over storage, he or she might want to purchase an SSD whereas if storage is the main priority, then the user might go for an HDD. If a user needs the best of both, he or she may also choose to go for both of the devices and use them simultaneously.
When are HDDs right for you?
HDDs or hard disc drives are a cheaper way to make use of the operating system on the computer. Using the memory from an HDD allows the computer to read all the necessary files required at the time of boot up. File processing in such kind of storage devices are fast, and it also provides a lot of free internal space which can go up as high as a 10TB storage facility.
HDDs enable storing of large files altogether. This is meant for all the daily computer and basic users and also those who want to build a PC on a budget.
When are SSDs right for you?
SSDs are a new form of storage devices which are totally different than HDDs. In a detailed comparison of HDD vs SSD, we found that the total form factor of the SSD is different from an HDD. This means that the device is devoid of any moving parts like the HDD. It is due to this fact that the efficiency of the SSD is much more than those offered by the HDD.
SSDs are suitable for those users who prioritize performance over storage space. With a limited storage space up to 4TB in total, an SSD provides faster transfer rates, reading speeds, faster processing time and hence all the software work in accordance to the SSD and seems to work pretty fast which would have had been slow if it ran on an HDD.
If you think you require performance, then going for an SSD is probably the best choice you’d make. This is ament for all the hardcore users of the computing systems and also for those who game on their computers and require faster transfer rates in order to maintain the fps of the games.
Round five: questions people often ask about HDD vs SSD.
What is an SSD drive?
An SSD or a solid state drive is the latest form of a storage device which is used in the modern computers and many of the latest laptops which are being launched in the market. The solid state drive provides maximum utilization of its space and also helps the users by providing them performance over storage.
The SSD is considered to be three times more efficient and powerful than an HDD. So, switching to an SSD drive is a must for those who work on high multimedia projects which requires faster transfer rates. It is also for those who believe in performance over storage. Thus, the introduction of the SSD in the market really has revolutionized the modern computing systems.
Is SSD better for gaming?
Where do I start? Gaming requires a lot of free hard disc space in order to run efficiently on a computer. Hard discs surely provide a lot of free space and do not make an impact on the performance of the games. SSDs are anyway fast, gaming on a PC or a laptop with built-in SSD drives will surely boost the overall performance of the games and will also provide the necessary frames per second which are required in order to play the games seamlessly.
Can you run an SSD and HDD together?
As discussed above in the comparison between SSD vs HDD, yes you can. As a matter of fact, you can use both. Just install the operating system and all the important applications on the SSD and store all the large files and data in an HDD. This way you can get best of the both and make the combination a great success.
Can you have an SSD and an HDD in the same computer?
Yes, you can. As discussed earlier, you can combine both and use it simultaneously. You can get both performance evaluation and storage capacity on the computer. Installing the operating system on the SSD will speed up the boot time and also decrease the time taken to open or run a certain application on the computer.
Is SSD volatile?
No, SSD is non-volatile in nature.
Can you clone an HDD to SSD?
Yes, you can clone all the applications and data to your SSD in case you don’t want to lose any of the files.
How can I tell if my hard drive is an SSD?
Pressing the Windows and the S key together and then typing optimize and clicking on Defragment and optimize drive application will show whether the drive you hold in your computer is an HDD or an SSD under subheading “media type.”
The current SSD
There are many SSDs in the market right now. The SSDs are found in both NAND type and also M.2 type. Samsung, Kingston, and WD are some of the leading manufacturers of SSD in the market right now.
The storage of tomorrow.
As time passes by, newer technology is taking over the older ones. This can be very well be seen in the computing market of the whole world. HDD vs SSD is a common topic for all the computer enthusiasts now. HDDs are slowly being replaced by the newer forms of storage devices, the SSD. SSDs are much faster, efficient, light in weight, compact and also looks pretty good. It has no moving parts, so the overall vibration of the device is minimized. The SSD provides the best of all class performance to the PC and thus helps the users using a PC with SSD a lot.
The final verdict on SSD vs HDD
Considering the price point at which SSDs come, the benefits of using a computer with an SSD is much better and diverse than those offered by an HDD. The longevity, capacity, performance, speed, noise which an SSD does not produce is all the reason why people nowadays are buying more of this than the older and more convenient HDD.
SSD is sure to take the maximum size of the market in the recent years. People who look for performance can very well understand the above SSD vs HDD discussion over time. So what are you waiting for? Get your own storage device according to your preference