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Understanding the SSD vs HDD Storage Options Debate

Today we will be discussing the what you need to be aware of the SSD vs HDD. We will give a brief guide about when it is best to use one over the other. But first, we need to give a brief explanation of what they mean.

An SSD or Solid State drive and HDD or Hard Disk Drives are pieces of physical hardware that a computer uses to store long-term data, software programs, and the operating system files. This is distinct from computer memory also known as RAM or Random Access Memory.

1. What are Differences Between SSD vs HDD?

The SSD is a storage medium that contains no moving parts. The information on the disk is stored in microchips. The HDD, on the other hand, stores its information on a storage disk which used a mechanical arm to move back and forth in order to read and write out the information.

The technology behind the SSD is far more expensive than the HDD. A dollar per Gigabyte comparison cost of the two finds that SSDs cost approximately 16x more than the HDD counterparts.

2. What Benefits are There For SSD vs HDD?

By the nature of how they operate, SSDs can be upwards of 100 times faster than HDDs. They have almost instantaneous data access. This allows devices with SSDs to boot up much faster and transfer files in and out much faster. Overall they present a much better user experience than the HDDs.

Because of the moving parts found in an HDD, which is the movable arm and the spinning storage platters, HDDs are more sensitive to shocks. Therefore for mobile devices like mobile phones and tablets and notebooks as well as in-car devices and more, SSDs would be the preferred storage medium.

Still, on the moving parts, all things with moving parts suffer from wear and tear and therefore eventually HDDs will eventually fail. It’s just a matter of time. SSDs have an almost indefinite read count and do not suffer much from that as long as the disks are kept reasonably cool. However, SSDs have a much shorter lifespan where the drive is subjected to an extremely high amount of writes.

SSDs are more power efficient than HDDs. They are therefore ideal for devices which run on battery power in one form or another allowing for extended battery life of those devices.

When it comes to active use in terms of reads and writes if little pieces of data, SSD here is the clear winner. This is essential for day-to-day computing where you are working on your computer doing routine tasks like writing a proposal, while your browser is downloading email, chat notifications are coming in, Twitter and Facebook are abuzz etc.

Through this, all your device is constantly reading and writing little bits of data and the efficiency of SSDs comes to an advantage here.

When it comes to raw storage, you get more out HDDs which tend to be very reliable these days and much cheaper. They are ideal for offline storage options in a cloud or off-site solutions. They do very well in situations where you just need to dump large amounts of data periodically.

With that said. The question always arises…

3. Which Should I Buy? SDD vs HDD?

This in many cases is comparing apples to oranges. Even though they both have the same basic role in devices.

  • In many cases, you really do not have a choice. When buying some portable devices, there is only one option and that is the SSD.
  • Where there is a choice you want to generally use SSD on devices that will expect some rough treatment. For example, if you are working in the field and have to carry a laptop to some rough places, on rough roads, for example, you will want to go with an SSD. This does not say the HDD will fail on you in such situations as there are some reliable HDDs out there.
  • For Desktop computers and fixed media, you are okay settling for an HDD solution as shocks are kept to a minimum.
  • There is an ideal solution which involves combining the two to get the best of both worlds. You can have an SSD and an HDD on your computer. The SSD can be used to store the OS and Software and handle the frequent read and writes while the HDD can handle the storage of your information, images, and video files especially those which are infrequently accessed.

All in all, there is really no debate in the war on SSD vs HDD. They both have their place in today’s computer, yet they can also work together and compliment each other to give the best computing experience for the end user.

Check out this great infographic from the Great Setup covering the details of an HDD and an SSD here.


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