Which is better: SSD or HDD


A cheap and roomy hard drive or a fast and reliable solid state drive? Each user before buying a computer has to choose between these two types of devices. In this article, we will be talking primarily about internal drives, but almost all of the information applies to external drives as well.


What is HDD and SSD

In recent years, SSDs have ubiquitously supplanted standard hard drives, which are now almost non-existent. As the main storage, they can only be seen in budget desktop builds or cheap laptops.

But sometimes you need to choose one drive: SSD or HDD. To find out which option is best, consider the differences between SSDs and HDDs, as well as evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each type of device.

Traditional HDD (HDD) — this is a non-volatile storage, the information on which does not «disappear» when the computer is turned off, like data stored in RAM.

HDD is made in the form of metal plates coated with ferromagnetic material. In operating mode, the disk rotates quickly, and special heads read information without touching the surface of the plates. The faster the rotation, the faster the operating system loads, applications open and files are written.

Solid state drive (SSD) — another type of non-volatile storage devices. Such storage is much simpler than HDD: based on flash memory chips with a control controller and no moving parts at all. This makes SSDs much more reliable and, most importantly, faster than hard drives.

Access to all stored information occurs at the same time: you do not have to wait until the reading head moves to the desired sector of the magnetic plate.

Advantages and disadvantages of discs

Solid state drives and hard drives do the same job: store files and applications, load the operating system. But the difference between the two types of devices is great.

Cost — magnetic disks are much cheaper

Solid state drives are significantly more expensive than hard drives when compared in terms of price per gigabyte.

  • An internal HDD with a capacity of 1 TB now costs 3-4 thousand rubles, depending on the form factor.
  • The price of the cheapest SSDs of similar capacity starts from 7-8 thousand rubles.

The differences are even more significant when looking at higher capacity models. For example, a 3.5-inch 8 GB hard drive is priced at 15-18 thousand rubles, offering an even lower cost per gigabyte. A solid state drive with the same amount of memory costs several times more: from 60 thousand rubles (depending on speed).

At the same time, it should be taken into account that price SSD decreasing from year to yearbut even this is still not enough: models with high capacity and speed are still too expensive for most.

Conventional hard drives are based on older technology and are inferior to SSDs in terms of speed, but they are noticeably cheaper, offering maximum capacity at the lowest price.

Capacity — HDD has more

Massive SSDs rarely offer more than 2 TB of free space — and the price of such models is prohibitively high. Much more popular and affordable devices from 500 GB to 1 TBthat are suitable for use as primary drives.

Users with a large collection of files or many installed applications should pay attention to the HDD. Powerful computers work with one or more hard drives with a total capacity of tens of terabytes, but even with a very limited budget, thanks to the HDD, you can save all the necessary files.

Speed ​​– SSD is definitely faster

This point is the main advantage of solid state drives. The difference between them and HDD is huge. Computers with an SSD load the operating system much faster, launch applications almost instantly, and transfer files from one local drive to another.

Wherein no need to buy expensive SSD — even an affordable model is much faster than a hard driveplaying only in the amount of memory:

  • A budget solid state drive reads information at a speed of 500 MB / s, while writing 300-400 MB / s.
  • Mid-range and high-end SSDs work even faster than cheap models — up to 3000-4000 MB / s and above. It’s the perfect choice when you need to improve your computer’s performance.
  • For a high-level HDD, the read-write performance does not differ and is 125-150 MB / s — several times slower.

Speed ​​is always useful to everyone — regardless of the purpose for which the PC is used: for games, study or work. In addition, SSD performance is not affected by fragmentation, which degrades hard drives.

The performance difference of an SSD is independent of rotational speed, as is the case with hard drives. Here everything is decided by the connection interface and the type of memory used: QLC, MLC or TLC.

  • Drives on the base MLC the fastest and most durable, but also the most expensive.
  • TLC is slower and does not endure as many write cycles, although ordinary users are unlikely to notice the difference.
  • The cheapest, but slowest type of drives — based on QLC.

Reliability is a strong point of solid state

An SSD has no moving parts, so it’s more likely to keep your information safe if your laptop or computer is hit or subjected to severe vibration. HDDs are equipped with fragile and high-precision moving parts, so they are more sensitive to physical impact.

If you plan to use a laptop or computer in an environment where the device will do without normal maintenance or may receive accidental damage, then it is better to choose an SSD as the main storage.

However, some hard drives already have sensors that quickly detect a fall and immediately move the read head away from the platter so that the magnetic surface is not damaged. This is a useful feature for laptops.

Form Factor – SSD is smaller and lighter

All hard drives are divided into several standard sizes, measured in inches. The most common:

  • 3.5-inch hard drives (146×102×25 mm) — installed in desktop computers.
  • 2.5-inch drives (100x70x9.5mm) are more compact and versatile.

Sometimes you can find 1.8-inch hard drives on the market, but they offer a capacity of no more than 500 GB and are installed more often in laptops.

Solid state drives do not depend on the size of magnetic platters, so they are noticeably smaller and lighter than hard drives. And in the future, SSDs may become even smaller. Such compactness is useful for both laptops and desktop computers, freeing up space in the case and improving ventilation.

SSD drives are available in 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch formats, but more and more manufacturers are moving to the M.2 form factor:

  • M.2 2242 (42x22mm)
  • M.2 2260 (60x22mm)
  • M.2 2280 (80x22mm)

Such solid state drives are not installed in a dedicated compartment of the case, but directly in a slot on the motherboard. This configuration is common in monoblocks and high-end laptops.

Both types of drives are standardized, so the user only needs to choose the right device size and connection interface. But SSDs are still smaller and lighter.

Noise level and efficiency — HDD is more gluttonous and louder

Even the quietest hard drive produces a little noise and vibration during operation: the platters of the device rotate and the read head moves back and forth. Faster HDDs tend to make more noise than slower ones.

But SSDs do not make noise at all, because they do not have mechanical parts. In addition, SSDs consume several times less power than hard drives.

As a result, energy costs are reduced, which is important for those who have multiple desktops or a server. For laptops, this has a different meaning: it increases battery life by tens of minutes.

Service life — for hards a little higher

Solid state drives «wear out» over time: each cell in flash memory can only be written to and erased a limited number of times. For mass models, this figure is no more than hundreds of times, that is, the drive will have to be changed every few years with regular use. Professional-level models can withstand tens of thousands of rewriting cycles, but the cost of such devices is very high.

To extend the life and maintain the speed of the solid state, the TRIM command is used, which tells the drive which blocks of information are not currently used by the file system and can be physically deleted. Due to this, the user is more likely to experience computer obsolescence than SSD read and write errors.

If that’s not enough, there are tools and technologies that predict impending drive failure, warning the device owner in advance.

Hard drives also «age» from constant work, although they do not have restrictions on the amount of recorded information and the number of rewriting cycles. It all depends on the resource of mechanical parts. A standard HDD will easily last up to 10 years with normal maintenance — that’s a little more than the average SSD.

Data recovery — HDD gives such a chance

Accidental deletion of important data while working or studying is unpleasant, but in the case of an HDD, it is most likely reversible. Deleted information leaves a trace on the magnetic layer of the hard drive. If you try, then the recently erased data can be restored within 1-2 days after deletion.

With a solid state drive, this will not work: the information erased from it disappears forever.

Hybrid drives (SSHD) and dual drive systems

Some manufacturers add additional flash memory to a spinning hard drive, thus creating a «hybrid» drive. This allows you to combine the high capacity of an HDD with the performance of an SSD at a cost that is only slightly higher than a conventional hard drive.

However, as SSD prices fall, hybrid drives are also losing popularity, as they are still more expensive and more complicated than regular HDDs. Hybrids remain a viable option for those who are often on the road and need fast, high-capacity storage without overpaying for a laptop with a large SSD.

For many users the best solution would be system with two drives straightaway. In this case, the SSD will be used as the main disk to quickly launch the operating system and important applications, while the HDD will become a place to store large-capacity media files.

The user is required to strike a balance: in order not to overpay for an empty space, but also not to calculate the remaining free gigabytes each time. The OS and main applications are unlikely to take up much space, so 256 GB is the minimum size for the main drive. But with a very limited budget, 128 GB is enough.

Systems with a tandem SSD-HDD have another problem: two physical drives will require more space inside the case. This means that this solution is only suitable for desktop computers or some laptops with a very large case — usually gaming.

Let’s summarize

Hard drives win in two key areas: price and capacity, but they fall short in other important areas. Lifetime superiority is minimal and does not play a big role.

An SSD is worth choosing if speed, reliability, economy and low noise are most important. Drop the high price and SSDs would be the clear winner. But what is better to choose for a specific purpose?

Hard drives are suitable for:

  • Users who have large collection of media files or download a lot of information from the Internet. It is easy to find an inexpensive HDD with a capacity of 2 TB or more on the market.
  • people with a very limited budget — HDD will be the best option in terms of price and storage capacity. SSDs are too expensive to fit into cheap laptops or budget desktop builds.
  • Specialists working in professional applications for editing graphics or video, a tandem is best suited, where there will also be a capacious hard drive. Drives fill up quickly during operation, and not everyone can expand the space by buying new SSDs. Therefore, it is unlikely that you can do without an HDD.
  • For video surveillance systems, servers or backup — not only capacity matters here, but also the possibility of recovering deleted information, longer service life, as well as the infinite number of rewriting cycles offered by the HDD. But keep in mind that transferring data to another computer or gadget will take a very long time.

Solid state drives worth choosing:

  • Travelers and for those who are constantly on the road for study or work. These people usually carry a laptop in a bag, so the added security of storage is important to them.
  • To users who need top speed: To quickly run the operating system and applications, you will have to spend extra money on a solid state drive.
  • SSD will also appreciate gamers — locations in games will load much faster.
  • Design specialists and those who work with graphics — although this category of users is mentioned in the HDD section. But the speed of the SSD matters here too, saving a lot of work time.
  • sound engineers and amateur musicians — for recording and editing music, no extraneous sounds emitted by the hard drive during operation are needed. Here you should definitely choose a silent solid state drive.
  • When don’t need a lot of space, then you can take an inexpensive low-capacity SSD. Even with a limited budget, such a drive is much more efficient and productive than an HDD, which is important when buying inexpensive laptops or stationary assemblies.

The best option for most users — as already mentioned — will be a combination where a small capacity SSD loads the OS and important applications, and the hard drive is used to store secondary information like media files. This is a balanced and versatile solution with a reasonable combination of price, speed and capacity.



Добавить комментарий