difference between ssd and hdd

Last Updated on September 4, 2020 by Editorial Team

In this digital age, when everyone has lots of digital files, people wonder how to store large amounts of data? Data storage has come a long way since its genesis & today we have some efficient technologies to safely store our data.

Solid-state drives and hard disk drives are among top storage devices & must-have computer accessories that you can consider buying. But people often are confused to find which one is better for them. What is the difference between HDD & SSD? Some are even curious to know “is a 256gb SSD better than a 1tb hard drive?”.

However, there’s no straightforward answer to this question; each user has a different need and you have to decide based on those requirements, and of course budget. Solid-state drives and hard disk drives are alike in their physical specifications, but they store data very uniquely.

Even though the cost of SSDs has been declining, the price per gigabyte advantage is still strongly with HDDs. HDD is considerably cheaper than SSD, especially for drives over 1 TB. Yet, if performance and fast boots up is your preference and price is secondary, then SSD is the way to go.

Keeping all these things in mind we have prepared this article for you. Let us find the difference between both & find out what kind of drive is right for you. We will do a comparison of SSD and HDD storage and walk you through the advantages and disadvantages of each to help you decide.

What is an SSD?

Solid-state drive is a new form of nonvolatile storage media device that revolutionized computing. It uses flash-based memory, integrated circuit assemblies to store data persistently which is significantly faster.

SSD can be considered as an oversized and more advanced version of the ordinary USB memory stick. There are no parts to an SSD like a memory stick. Rather, rely on electronic storage and information is stored in microchips.

Crucial MX500 500GB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal SSD

How SSD Works?

A typical SSD uses NAND-based flash (non-volatile) memory, meaning that data won’t disappear when the computer is turned off. This is, of course, a primary characteristic of any kind of permanent memory.

You can read and write to an SSD all day long and the data storage integrity will be maintained for well over more than 200 years.

Moreover, an SSD does not have any mechanical arm to read and write data, it instead works on an embedded processor to perform a number of operations.

An embedded processor (controller) is a very important factor in determining the speed of the SSD. It makes decisions related to how to store, retrieve, cache and clean up data can determine the overall speed of the drive.

Today, an SSD is replacing a hard drive with an after-market device and you may be wondering what an SSD looks like. It comes in a standard size of 1.8”, 2.5”, or 3.5” that can fit into the housing and connectors for the same-sized hard drives.

The technology is encased inside either a plastic or metal case and looks like a battery and the connector used for these standard sizes is SATA. There are also a smaller SSDs available, called mini-SATA (mSATA) and fit into the mini-PCI Express slot of a laptop.

Advantages of SSD

  • It uses less power compared to HDD.
  • The boot time is ~10 sec.
  • In SSD, fragmentation of drive is not necessary to store data.
  • It does not make any noise or vibration.
  • SSD supports Disk encryption.
  • Faster than HDD, files open much faster in SSD.
  • SSD has gained over the physical limitation of HDD.

Disadvantages of SSD

  • Expensive than HDD
  • High-speed transistors may cause the heat in SSD.
  • SSD’s are not willingly available in the market.
  • Its data recovery is complex and costly.

What is a HDD?

The hard disk drive is the main and largest data storage hardware device in a computer. An HDD is a non-volatile computer storage device including magnetic disks or platters rotating at high speeds. It is a secondary storage device which is used to store data permanently. It was first introduced by IBM in 1956 and also known as a hard drive.

WD 2TB My Passport Ultra Silver Portable External Hard Drive

How HDD Works?

A hard drive fits inside a computer case and is fixedly connected with braces and screws to prevent it from being jarred as it spins. An HDD works on magnetism to store data on a rotating platter. A read/write head floats above the spinning platter reading and writing data and typically it spins at 5,400 to 15,000 RPM (Revolutions per Minute). The faster the platter spins, the faster an HDD can function.

However, most of the hard drives operate on high-speed interfaces using serial SATA or serially attached technology. When the platters revolve, an arm with a read/write head reaches across the platters. This arm writes new data to the platters and reads new data from them.

Moreover,  hard drives work on enhanced integrated drive electronics (EIDE) including cables and connectors to the motherboard. All data is stored magnetically, enabling information to be saved when power is shut off.

The main advantage of the hard disk drive is that it is competent in storing a large number of data cheaply. However, the cost per gigabyte is difficult to estimate and it is safe to say that all HDDs are substantially cheaper than SSDs. So if you looking for cheap storage and lots of it, using a standard hard drive is unquestionably the more appealing way to go.

Advantages of HDD

  • HDD is readily available in the market.
  • It is an inexpensive option for users.
  • HDD supports Disk encryption.
  • HDD technology has a lot of advanced tools & techniques
  • In HDD, data recovery is less complicated, and retrieval of data is possible even from complicated data loss situation.
  • HDD comes with enormous storage capacity; the largest one is 10 TB.

Disadvantages of HDD

  • It takes time to access the data because of read/write mechanical arms.
  • HDDs consume more power to function than SSD drive.
  • The hard disk drive uses a fragmentation technique to store data.
  • It Makes noises & vibrates when in use, whereas SSD’s are quite as a mouse.
  • In HDD, file opening & boot time speed is more as compared to SSD.

Best External Hard DriveSamsung T5 External Hard Drive

Best Budget Hard DriveWestern Digital My Passport DriveWestern Digital My Passport Drive


SSD Vs HDD Comparison

Now it’s time to have a look do some comparisons and determine which might be best for your individual needs – SSD or HDD?

Those who are looking for top performance can go for SSD & those who want higher storage can opt for HDD. Both the storage devices have their own pros and cons.

Key ParametersHDDSSD
Access TimeHas access time of 5.5 ~8.0 msHas Access time of 0.1ms
Random I/O PerformanceReach up to 400 io/sDelivers 6000 io/s
ReliabilityFailure Rate 2~5 %Failure Rate 0.5%
Energy SavingsConsumes between 6 & 15 wattsConsumes between 2 & 5 Watts
CPU PowerAverage I/O wait is 7%Has average wait time of 1 %
Input / Output Request TimesAverage time is 400 ~ 500 msAverage Service time 20 ms
NoiseHDD can sometime generate noiseSSD generates no noise
Backup Rates20~24 hoursSSD backups 6 hour
CapacitySeveral terabyte hard disk drives are available for very reasonable prices.Anything over 1 TB SSD is usually outside of most people’s price range.

SSD vs. HDD: Storage Capacity

The hard disk drives have the advantage of allowing large terabyte worth of storage. In comparison, SSD is a bit costly than HDD, and the cost increases with the increase of per GB/TB. The storage is available with any base model of HDD is 500 GB capacity whereas for SSD base model is 128 GB. In HDD storage capacity is a necessary criterion to consider when opting to buy an HDD. But, not to overlook the other factors like speed, durability, etc. of the drive.

SSD vs HDD: Speed Comaprison

Here, we’re providing you a speed comparison among some popular HDDs and SDDs. let’s have a look-

HDD Speed:

HDDHDD InterfaceHDD speed/RPM
Seagate BarraCudaSATA 6Gbps7,200
Toshiba X300SATA 6Gbps7,200
WD VelociRaptorSATA 6Gbps10,000
WD Blue DesktopSATA 6Gbps54,00
Seagate Firecuda DesktopSATA 6Gbps7,200

SSD Speed:

SSDSSD InterfaceSSD Speed
Samsung 850 ProSATA III 6 Gbps560MB/s read (256GB)550MB/s write (256GB)
Crucial MX500SATA III 6 Gbps560MB/s read510MB/s write
SanDisk Extreme ProSATA III 6 Gbps550MB/s read520MB/s write
Transcend SSD370SATA III 6 Gbps560MB/s read (256GB)460MB/s write (512GB)
SanDisk Extreme IISATA III 6 Gbps550MB/s read510MB/s write

SSD vs HDD: Price/Cost

The SSDs are more expensive, which we have mentioned time again and again. The solid-state drive user would be shelling out more money for 2 TB capacity drive as compared to a hard drive user. If you are developing a system for speed or portability in mind, then SSD is the best solution for you.

SSD vs HDD: Reliability

HDD Reliability:

The hard disk drive remains by far the most reliable storage device. The hard drives nowhere match the performance of SSDs but store the data at an economical price. It’s essential to remember for any storage media device to function correctly. The user needs to ensure a proper environment and working states.

SSD Reliability:

The NAND flash degrades itself after many erasing/writing for SSD drives. Users should remember that for SSD’s temperature range is smaller than hard drives. To maintain longevity and reliability, Solid state drive should be operated in a controlled environment. An SSD has a short number of read & write cycles, and it can last a very long time under regular use.

SSD vs HDD: Lifespan

HDD Lifespan:

HDD have moving elements that make them responsive to physical damage. The modern drives include shock-proofing technology “drop” sensors that protect the head & media. The hard drives have a strength level of 5-6 years, depending upon the usage and wear and tear.

SSD Lifespan:

The SSD does not have moving parts, the use of flash media drives in a host of latent issues. People assume data stored in these drives will last forever, which is not true. Data stored on a hard drive will diminish and so will the data on SSD drive, but at a faster speed. Laptop & desktop users don’t need to trouble about the lifespan on the drive.

difference between ssd and hdd

difference between SSD and HDD

FINAL DECISION:

Before selecting an SSD or HDD, consider the following factors:

  • For what purpose do you want to use the drive?
  • The amount of money you are willing to shell?
  • The working conditions of the storage drive?

You can compensate for an option but always remember to have proper back up of data.

Go for hard disk drive if

  • You need lots of storage capacity (up to 10TB).
  • You just need high storage and does not much care about the speed and performance of the computer.
  • You don’t want to spend too much money.

Here are the checklists, if SSD is the right choice for you.

  • Performance and speed matter most for you and are ready to pay for that.
  • You are ok with limited storage capacity (there are SSD with higher capacity up to 4TB but will cost you too much).

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