HDD vs SSD: Which is Better?

Is the old hard disk drive (HDD) slowing down your PC? Are you short of storage space? It is probably time for a much-needed hardware upgrade.

However, whether you should choose a traditional hard disk drive (HDD), which is cheaper, or buy the fast solid-state drives (SSD) is a matter of concern.

Before you plunge into anything, let us learn more about HDD and SSD concerning speed, lifespan, capacity, and cost. It shall help you make an informed decision.

HDD vs SSD: The Differences

Traditionally, hard disk drives were the only storage device that we could think of. It uses mechanical platters and a moving read-write head for data access.

However, a solid-state drive, or SSD, is a newer, relatively faster storage device that uses an instantly accessible memory chip.

Until the early 2000s, the world was a much simpler place to live in. when you purchased a new HDD or a PC, your choice was limited to the speed and size.

However, when you buy a PC today, you would have several options out of which two are crucial – the choice of a storage device.

Fundamentally, the purpose of HDD and SSD is the same. Both are storage devices that preserve computer memory, documents, music, and programs. However, there is a difference in technology:

  • HDD: It is a typical enclosure containing a series of platters covered with a ferromagnetic coating. Magnetization and its direction represent individual bits. The head reads and writes data, which moves fast from one portion of the disk to another. Since these pieces are all mechanical, it makes the hard disk the slowest and the most fragile component of a PC.
  • SSD: These are relatively newer types of storage disks to store information on the flash memory. It consists of respective memory cells that store bits. The controller can access these bits instantly.

Speed of HDD VS. SSD

The difference in speed is significant. SSDs offer lightning speed in all areas, but the difference is more obvious in certain tasks like:

  • Sequential reading/writing operations: Copying huge files or moving those makes this difference most apparent. HDDs take 30-150 MB/s to copy, whereas SSDs take 500 MB/s, or 3000-3500 MB/s on new NVME SSDs.
  • Smaller 4K reading/writing operations: When Windows or macOS is running and you open programs, or simply browse the web, you actually open and manipulate over thousands of smaller files stored in smaller data blocks of 4K size. The faster a disk reads and writes these 4K blocks, the snappier and faster system you have. With HDDs, this speed ranges from 0.1 to 1.7 MB/s. However, SSDs and NVME SSDs operate at a much faster speed of 50-250 MB/s for 4K read/writes.

Capacity Differences

If the storage capacity of HDD and SSD is your concern, rest assured. There is actually no difference in their storage capacity. You get similar sizes of HDDs and SSDs in the range of 128GB to 2TB.

However, large capacity SSDs are more expensive.

Cost Differences

The flash storage market is extremely volatile. It varies on demand and supply. Even though the cost of SSDs has dipped significantly, there remains and a significant price difference.

For example, a 500 GB HDD costs anywhere between Rs.1500 to Rs.3500 (for high-end models), a 500 GB SSD costs from Rs.4000 to Rs.10000.

The Lifespan of SSDs

Many myths are surrounding the longevity of SSDs. Assumptions dating back to the late 1990s and early 2000s, it is a fact that SSD cells have restricted lifespans. However, it is not a significant issue.

Theoretically, the more data you write on a cell, the quicker it would wear out. Today, an SSD cell is likely to survive 3000 write cycles.

It may not seem like much, but the wear leveling principle ensures that the SSD controller ensures that write operations are evenly spread across all the cells to reduce the risk of cell death.

Besides, SSDs also contain spare cells to replace cells that wear out. The process is called ‘bad block management‘. It ensures larger SSDs have longer lifespans.

However, even if you were writing data constantly on the hard disk for 24 hours a day, it would still take decades to die.

Why SSDs are the Best Choice for Laptops?

While low-priced laptops come with HDDs (the only way to minimize cost), most midrange and high-range laptops come with SSD.

As SSDs are non-technical, they require lesser power, and, therefore, better battery life.

SSDs are shock-resistant too. As hard disks have moving parts, it is more prone to data failure.

For instance, if you accidentally drop the laptop, you could lose data. However, this does not apply to the newfound SSDs.

Though it isn’t always a choice of either/or, it is pretty dominating.

However, if you are not taking chances, you can also have the system partitioned containing the OS, applications programs, and recently used files on the SSD and other data like photos, movies, and important documents stored in the HDD.

Of course, this would be a larger, elaborate, and expensive arrangement.

HDD vs SSD for Gaming

Games require a lot of data to shuffle back and forth, loading multiple levels and character models.

SSDs help games load faster and run efficiently. It ensures less stutter while playing, as the PC does not need to wait until the loading time.

Of course, these are huge advantages, especially in today’s eSports arena.

SSD vs HDD Comparison

SSDHDD
Access Times (faster, the better)0.1 ms5.5 to 8 ms
Random I/O Performance6000 io/s400 io/s
CPU Power Usage1%7%
Energy Savings2 to 5 watts6 to 15 watts
Rate of Backups6 hours20 to 24 hours
Reliability (Failure Rate)< 0.5%2 to 5%

Conclusion:

If you want a cheap way of storing your files, you can get good deals with the traditional HDDs. They also offer lots of TB on a budget.

However, for your device’s primary drive – your operating system, application programs, and recently used files – you should consider upgrading to an SSD.

It offers dramatically increased speeds with many more advantages.

Regardless of your choice, you have to keep the drive clean. Your operating system usually takes a lot of disk space for operation. Running low on storage space can lead to extreme slowdowns and crashes.

To prevent sudden slowdowns, try using a proper clean-up tool or application to ensure your computer is clean and runs at its best.

SSD vs HDD Loading/FPS Test while Gaming

References – Intel

by Radha Krishna
Hello! I am a Tech Enthusiast who likes to explore different gadgets and software applications. Here on this blog, I will be sharing my experiences and all the findings (reviews & troubleshooting tips) that I personally encounter.

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