SSD vs HDD, Which One is Better and Faster

SSD vs HDD, Which One is Better?
SSD vs HDD, Which One is Better and Faster / Image Courtesy

SSD vs HDD, Which one is better and faster? I know this is a question that so many people have been asking themselves.

In this article, I will be sharing an in-depth analysis that will help you understand why SSD is faster than HDD and why I highly recommend it.

But before I do that, let me first help you understand what is an HDD and SSD in a layman’s language.

What is a Hard Disk Drive (HDD)?

A hard disk drive (HDD) is a computer hardware that is used to store different digital content. This can either be music, videos, documents, games, and softwares just to mention a few.

We have two types of hard disk drives – external and internal hard drives.

An internal hard disk drive is normally nested inside a laptop or CPU and it contains the operating system (OS), pre-installed softwares, etc. It is the primary storage device of either a laptop or CPU.

An external hard drive is a portable device that can be connected to a USB port of either a laptop or CPU and is normally used to store files among other things.

What is a Solid-State Drive (SSD)?

An SSD is a secondary storage device that can be used to store data that is persistent in solid-state flash memory.

We have 4 different types of SSDs:

1. SATA SSD – It looks similar to a hard disk drive designed for a laptop. The surprising bit is that the same interface used on hard disk drives is the same one used on SATA SSDs. However, a computer or laptop that uses this type of SSD will have a higher bandwidth, most probably three to five times, unlike the one that comes with a hard disk drive.

2. M.2 SSD – It is a tiny form factor SSD that is used in storage expansion cards that have been mounted from the inside. The speed of this type of SSD is pretty higher and the price is way too much compared to the 2.5 inch SSD. Most thin laptops used for gaming nowadays come with M.2 SSDs because of their size than HDDs or 2.5 inch SSD.

3. mSATA SSD – It’s the same size as a normal business card and this type of SSD will work best on either a netbook, laptop, or even tablet. When it comes to booting, mSATA is quite fast. Besides that, it doesn’t use a lot of power, and also it resists shock quite fast.

4. PCIe-SSD – It is an expansion card whose speed is super-high that connects a PC to its peripheral devices. The slots on PCIe SSDs can sometimes come in different sizes and this depends on how many bidirectional lanes link to it.

SSD vs HDD, Which One is Better and Faster?

Why SSD is Faster than HDD and Which One is Better

The reason why a majority of people nowadays prefer SSDs over HDDs is because of their crazy speed. Across the board, HDDs have been outrun by SSDs and this is because they function using electrical circuitry and they no longer have any moving parts which are physical.

This has really minimized the amount of time one needs to wait when powering on their PC or laptop, opening any software or program, and also performing computing tasks that are heavy.

These accelerated speeds will result in greater benefits, moresaw when it comes to performances in many key areas among them logging in, time spent waiting for softwares or programs to open, and lastly the duration it takes to copy files that are heavy.

When it comes to HDDs, the performance goes down drastically unlike SSDs that can still perform other tasks.

The access speed of an SSD is between 30 to 101 microseconds while a normal HDD needs at least 5,000 to 10,000 microseconds to access data.

You also need to know that the speed of an SSD will be determined by the interface that has been used versus a High Disk Drive that fully depends on the system of a computer when transferring data to and fro.

Have you ever heard anyone mentioning these two types of interfaces – PCIe and SATA? SATA is a legacy technology that is slower and older while PCIe is much faster and advanced.

An SSD that comes with a PCIe interface will have a faster speed unlike an HDD with SATA.

For me, I would highly recommend any computer user out there to go for an SSD, and if possible, make it to be the primary driver of their OS (Operating System) and also the computer programs they often use.

Then, my suggestion will also be to purchase an HDD with an enormous space (this can either be internal or external) for keeping safe your vital documents, pictures, music, videos, and even softwares or programs.

SSD vs HDD Lifespan

Even as I expound more on this article on SSD vs HDD, which one is better and faster, in this particular section, I will be sharing with you the lifespan of an SSD and that of an HDD. I hope that you will be able to grasp some information.

Lifespan of SSD

SSDs are somewhat still trying to penetrate the market and this has prompted various manufacturers to sit down and try to figure out their lifespan.

At the moment, manufacturers of SSDs are using 3 different factors to come up with an estimated lifespan: the age of an SSD, the sum total of terabytes on it, and drive write that take place every day.

The answer to this question “How long does an SSD last” will be determined by the metric a particular individual wants to use though this may differ depending on so many factors.

Also, it has been proven that the age of a Solid-State Drive (SSD) is based on its durability and performance.

According to recent estimates, the lifespan of an SSD is between 5 to 10 years whilst the lifetime of an average SSD is minimal.

The University of Toronto and Google teamed up together and did a study and their findings showed that the lifespan of an SSD was determined by the amount of time it took before knocking off.

The decrease of SSD lifespan has also been attributed to the following:

  • Corrupted data in the SSD.
  • Failure in updating the firmware of the drive.
  • Physical damage of the SSD.
  • Power interruptions.
  • Drive being damaged with water.

By the way, let no one cheat or lie to you that performing defragmentation in an SSD will help increase its lifetime because that is a big NO.

Lifespan of HDD

The majority of Hard Disk Drives will serve their owners for like 3 to 5 years before starting to have any hitches.

This does not mean that the data in it cannot be recovered. However, it all depends on the magnitude of the damage caused.

The 3 to 5 years’ lifespan cuts across to both the internal and external HDDs.

Some of the things that always tend to decrease the lifespan of HDDs are physical damages caused by the owners’ Eg: dropping it down or knocking it on the wall, virus, removing the HDD without ejecting it properly, and overheating among other things.

If you want to increase the lifetime of your HDD, you can always do defragmentation though it’s not encouraged.

SSD Advantages and Disadvantages

Solid State Drive (SSD) have their own good and bad side, which are pointed out below:

Advantages of SSD

  1. Speed

It is without a doubt that speed is one area in that SSD has overtaken HDD. This is something that no one can dispute. The most surprising bit is that the speed of an SSD, which does not have any mechanical parts, is between 25 to 100 times faster than that of a traditional HDD.

With this kind of speed, the amount of time your PC or laptop will take to boot is less, transferring of files is now faster than before, and lastly, more bandwidth has been allocated.

  1. Durability

Since an SSD does not contain any moving parts, this means that it can safeguard data. Unlike HDD, an SSD has the capability of holding off a shock when someone drops their bag with the laptop inside.

  1. Minimal Power Consumption

SSDs normally use very minimal power when put into comparison with HDDs which are the opposite. The reason behind this is because SSDs come without moving parts Eg: motor.

  1. Permanent Removal of Data

This particular feature will come in handy for people and circumstances where the security of data is extremely cardinal.

It is easy to recover data on an HDD whether it has been erased completely or overwritten whereas, on an SSD, this is next to impossible.

  1. Minimal Noise

SSDs don’t make any noise because they function through the aid of computer chips and not parts that move.

  1. Booting is fast and the computing performance is finer

When it comes to booting a PC or laptop, SSDs enhance the speed of this process no spin-up takes place in the drive thereby boosting the performance of a computer or laptop.

  1. Less Heat

Since SSDs don’t have motors in them, the amount of heat being produced is minimal, unlike HDDs.

Disadvantages of SSDs

  1. Cost

The reason why a huge population of people still opt for HDDs is that SSDs are too pricey. The cost of acquiring a decent HDD is pocket-friendly though it depends on what one is aiming for when it comes to the storage size.

  1. Retrieval of Lost Data

The biggest drawback of an SSD is the incapacity of being able to retrieve a lost data. Once data has been erased then kiss it goodbye. This however if looked at from the positive, can act as an advantage because if you were to dispose or sell your SSD, none of your vital information or data will ever be retrieved.

  1. Storage Capacity

This is a major setback because despite them being pricey, the storage size can be quite devastating. The storage space of SSDs in most computers or laptops ranges from 128GB to 512 GB though if you want one with a higher storage capacity then you will have to dig deep into your pocket.

  1. Power

SSDs that function using the DRAM technology consume a lot of power contrary to conventional Hard Disk Drives.

  1. Write Speed

Even though SSDs can access data very fast, they usually spend a lot of time storing any type of data. What this simply implies is that they first need to do away with the old data before writing a fresh one.

HDD Advantages and Disadvantages

Hard Disk Drives have their own good and bad side, which are pointed out below:

Advantages of HDD

  1. Cost

One of the most outstanding reasons why a lot of people are still attached to HDDs in this era is that their costs are way too low when put in comparison with SSDs.

An SSD whose space size is the same as that of an HDD has an exorbitant price.

  1. Availability

HDDs are easy to get hold of because they are obtainable. Both internal and external have overflown the market.

  1. Storage Size

The massive storage size of HDDs still continues to be a key attraction. The starting capacities of HDDs are 250GB whereas for SSD is 128GB.

Disadvantages of HDD

  1. Speed

Speed is one area that has given a lot of HDD users nightmares and SSDs manufacturers have really thrived on it.

HDD manufacturers should also aim on increasing the read and write speed if they want this product to stand out even more.

  1. Noise

HDDs generate a noise that is very irritating to the ears. This can be attributed to the mechanical parts while in use. On the other hand, you will never hear SSDs generate any noise at all because they don’t contain any moving parts in them.

  1. Form Factor

A critical drawback of a Hard Disk Drive is the enormous form factor that it comes with. Let no one fill your mind with any lies that you can decrease the size of an HDD to an extend that is close to SSD.

This is simply because of the moving parts in it.

  1. Mechanical Failure

HDDs are bound to mechanical glitches since they cost moving parts. Since the platter disks are so close to the read/write head, when an HDD falls in the ground, a scrape occurs, therefore, resulting in damage.

When using an HDD, please try as much as you can to be cautious when handling it, otherwise, you may end up regretting it.

These small and simple mistakes can always be avoided.

Which SSD is Best for Laptops?

Below is a list detailing the best SSDs for laptops:

Best SSDs for Laptops

Do I Need an HDD if I Have an SSD?

No, because most computers or laptops can operate on SSD alone. The reason why most laptop or computer users don’t go for large SSDs of the same size as HDD is because they are too costly.

In fact, it is ideal to do away with HDD and remain only with SSD for better performance.

Their power consumption level is also quite low. This simply means that you can use your laptop for a long without having to plug it on the charger, unlike before where you were forced to charge it after every 30 minutes.

You also need to know that an SSD with massive storage will last for a long. The more storage capacity, the longer the lifespan.

Can an SSD Fail?

Yes, SSDs can have a malfunction though theirs is quite different compared to HDDs.

The only way one can know an SSD is failing is:

  1. The amount of time your computer or laptop will take to save files will be longer.
  2. When a laptop or computer restart time and again.
  3. When a laptop or computer keeps on crashing during the boot process.
  4. When a read-only error keeps on popping on the screen.

Can a Laptop Use Both SSD and HDD?

Yes, it can. This will not in any way hinder the performance of a laptop. But I will highly encourage any person wanting to try this out to purchase a laptop that comes with two drive bays.

This way, one bay will carry the SSD and the other one HDD. I also want to let you know that if you use an SSD to boot the Operating System that you are using on your laptop or PC and HDD to carry softwares, programs, or even games with large sizes, you will never experience any performance decrease in your entire life.

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