HDD or SSD hard drives is the big question when buying a storage drive. We are here to show you what the differences and advantages of each of them are and what you should buy based on your needs. When choosing a computer or mounting a computer from scratch, one of the big questions presented to the user is to choose the storage system you need, HDD or SSD?
Although there were not many alternatives for memory units a few years ago, nowadays we have many combinations and storage options: from a laptop with a solid-state drive (SSD) to a desktop computer with a standard hard drive (HDD), also going through a combination of both: an SSD used as a primary disk running the operating system, and an HDD for everything else.
For this reason, if you’re planning to buy a new computer or assemble your computer from scratch, it’s no surprise that you wonder how to choose the type of storage HDD or SSD or the one that best suits your needs. We will resolve these doubts by explaining the differences between the two, and we will guide you to help you choose.
What is a Hard Disk Drive and a Solid State Drive?
The hard disk or HDD (Hard Drive Disk) is the hardware used to persistently store (do not cease to exist once the unit is turned off), computer data. A hard drive is a metal plate that uses a magnetic recording system to store all types of files, from a Word document to a multi-million dollar project on new virtual reality glasses.
By writing information on several rotating disks, the information is recorded, and the thinner the drives, the better the recording will be. For this reason, drives of the same size may have different storage capacities. These units have evolved since their creation in 1960, normally doubling their capacity every year and a half.
Drives that usually use HDDs or hard drives are desktop or desktop computers, laptops, and corporate servers.
A Solid State Drive or SSD works just like an HDD with a difference. The files are stored on a chip with interconnected flash memory. These chips can be included in the terminal’s motherboard (as in some small laptops), in a PCIe card or in a box similar to a permanent hard drive. One of the features of these chips is that they are capable of storing data even when there is no energy running through the system.
Laptops, tablets, and smartphones are the most used devices, by default, SSD. We must not forget that some devices such as digital cameras use this type of memory to offer a shorter response time and store more images in external storage systems such as SD cards.
Advantages and disadvantages of HDD and SSD hard drives
Before analyzing the differences between these storage systems, we need to establish a base: the HDD and the SDD have the same function, they memorize your files. There are several features and uses for which it will be more advantageous to use one or the other, and this is what we are going to explain right now:
One of the critical factors in choosing the storage system to choose is the budget we have. After all, money is what will limit our options.
- HDD: for efficiency and productivity during hard drives, they are much cheaper for what they can offer.
- SSD: due to their “early” creation and the components that make them up, they are usually much more expensive than HDD.
To see it in a more practical way, a 1 TB hard drive costs less than 50 euros, and an SSD of the same capacity costs more than 150 euros.
The second factor that determines which system to choose is the amount of data storage capacity that our storage devices can cover. Nowadays, archives are getting bigger and bigger; at the same time, it is necessary to access files more quickly and efficiently. Introduced the problem… What are the options?
- HDD: today, we can find hard drives up to 10 TB, a real barbarism for a personal computer, even today.
- SSD: for now, we can find Solid State Drives up to 4 TB.
Once again, we will have to consider the price of each unit.
Speed and performance
For everyday use, the speed with which we can access files on our computers, move them, change them or delete them is very important, both from the point of view of a home user and a professional user. Therefore, it is another variable to consider.
There is not much to explain here: SSD or Solid State Drives are superior in terms of speed and performance to hard drives. A computer with an SSD will run faster, with a reboot in just five seconds.
A computer on which the operating system is installed on an HDD can take much longer. With an SSD, you will have better performance, so if you want a fast computer, you will choose an SSD without much doubt.
Each filing system is constructed differently and will be more prone to breakage or damage.
- HDD: a hard disk is constructed from different moving parts that are more susceptible to being damaged with any type of movement, so it is necessary to be very careful during transport. Furthermore, the moving parts wear out.
- SSD: it has no moving parts, so it is less likely to be damaged by a fall. It must be emphasized that each cell can be written and deleted a limited number of times, but there are different tools to monitor and optimize the process in order to extend the useful life of the device.
It is much more likely that a hard disk will not work properly compared to the SSD under the same conditions.
Fragmentation is the process by which (the word itself says it) the files are dispersed on the storage unit. Only hard drives suffer from this functionality
- HDD: thanks to its rotating recording surfaces, the hard disk surfaces work best with the largest files recorded on solid blocks. When these blocks are filled with useful, the files tend to be divided by the HDD’s free spaces, which reduces the speed of reading and writing data. Although the reading and writing of the files have indeed improved and therefore the effect has been minimized, the hard disks are still subject to fragmentation.
- SSD: due to its construction, Solid State Drives do not have this problem, since there is no physical location of the files in the drive nor a physical read head. For this reason, SSDs are much faster than HDD.
Another factor to consider when choosing a storage system is the size of the unit. Some obvious physical limits are depending on the terminal we are about to choose or mount.
- HDD: hard drives depend on the turntable and, therefore, limit the size of the drive. On one side, we have the size of desktop and notebook oriented. 1.8 “2.5” and 3.5 “On the other hand, we have those that have been used for smaller units like smartphones and the like, but they are not common: 1” and 0.85 “. The main hard drive manufacturers have suspended the development of new products for less than 1.8 “due to the drop in the price of SSDs.
- SSD: they do not have a physical limitation, so they will continue to develop smaller units over time. There are SSDs of different sizes that adapt to the terminal on which they will be mounted.
Although it may seem a priori that noise is not important when using a computer, it is a factor that must be taken into account, and that can make the difference between choosing a storage system or another. A music producer who does not have the means to record in a room outside of the computer needs a terminal as quiet as possible.
- HDD: even the quietest hard disk emits some noise when the computer is running, there are many parts on the disk that can emit sound. This type of noise can be made worse if the system has suffered some damage, has been installed incorrectly, or part of the disk is worn. The fastest hard drives will make more noise.
- SSD: the SSD, without mechanical parts, does not produce any noise.
HDD or SSD conclusions?
At this point, you should already be able to know which storage system you should use. But if you still have doubts, let’s make a small summary by adapting the needs in different profiles.
Buy an HDD hard drive if…
You will be interested in acquiring a hard drive if you are one of these users:
- Limited budget: hard drives are cheaper than SSDs. For those who have to sacrifice space or speed due to lack of money, hard drives are the best option.
- Average user: a user who uses the computer for the most basic tasks, such as office automation, surfing the internet, listening to music stored locally on the computer, etc. It will be convenient to have an HDD as it is possible to allocate that money to acquire other benefits.
- Media download server: hard drives have a much higher capacity than SSDs and are the obvious choice.
Buy a Solid State Drive or SDD if…
You will be interested in acquiring a Solid State unit if you are among these groups:
- Audio engineers and music producers: as we said before, the less noise disturbs the rooms, the better. Therefore, using an SSD is the appropriate option.
- Traveler: if you are a person who uses laptops or is inclined to move your terminal, you will need an SSD. We don’t want the files to be lost at the first bump.
- You need a fast computer: SSDs have higher performance and speed than hard drives, so we recommend one of these.