SSD or HDD: Which is better? For storage, for backup

SSD or HDD: Which is better? For storage, for backup

When choosing storage for a computer, one of the most frequently asked questions is which of the following is better: HDD or SSD? The truth is that there are several differences between both and the choice of one of the other ultimately depends on what your intended use is and what your storage needs are. In this article we will explain the characteristics of each one, which one is faster, and how to choose yours.

What is a HDD?

A HDD (Hard Disk Drive) is the hardware element that permanently stores your data on the computer. Unlike RAM, the data stored on the hard drive does not disappear when you turn off your PC.

HDDs contain a rotating platter with a magnetic coating. To write 0’s and 1’s, a head moves over the platter and to magnetize (storing a 1) and demagnetize (storing a 0). The quality and speed of recording depend on how thin the discs are and how fast they spin (the higher the spin speed, the faster the reading and writing speed). Of course, as the head has to move to the required position, this requires considerable time.

What is a SSD?

Unlike HDDs, SDDs (Solid-State Drive) store data on microchips with flash memory connected to each other, in a similar way to USB memory sticks. They work with a integrated processor to perform operations related to reading and writing data.

What are the differences between HDD and SSD?

These two types of disks present a number of differences, among which is the speed of reading and writing, but there are also other aspects to take into account.

  • Boot time : Solid Slate Drives take less than half the boot time of hard drives (7s for SSD, 16s for HDD).
  • Data transfer : on average, between 200 and 550 MB per second in the case of SSDs, while HDDs usually transfer between 50 and 150 MB in the same amount of time
  • Capacity : The maximum capacity of a HDD (as of 2020) is 18TB, whereas a 100TB SSD has been built by Nimbus for $40,000.
  • Resource Consumption : SSDs generally consume less than HDDs
  • Writing: SSDs allow a limited number of writing to their cells, something that does not happen with HDDs
  • Noise: due to their mechanical operation, HDDs generally make more noise than SSDs, which are quieter and vibrate less.
  • Failure & Longevity: HDDs and SSDs can both fail over time, however the way in which they fail differs. A HDD is more prone to impact damage (from being dropped) as it contains moving parts which can be damaged. A SSD is less affected by impacts, however they can still fail. Each time a SSD’s storage cell is written onto, the cell is degraded. The more they are used, the more they will degrade to the point when it is no longer possible to write. However a HDD would most likely start showing signs of wear before a SSD gets to this stage.
  • Price : HDD disks can offer a higher storage amount per cost. Typically you can find a 4TB HDD for less than $100, whereas a similar SSD costs around $600. However the prices of SSDs are reducing, making them more affordable.

As you can see, there are notable differences between each type of disk, especially in terms of storage, price and speed.

If you want a quick response to which one is faster, then the answer is a SSD. SSDs take less than half the time to start the operating system and can double or triple the speed with which they read and record data.

Which one should you choose?

Whether you select a SSD or a HDD ultimately depends on what your intended use is for your PC. If you usually store a large amount of content on your PC, such as movies, series, etc., or if you have a tight budget, the most appropriate thing is that you keep a HDD.

Comparatively, if you have a larger budget and are more interested in speed , for example if you play a lot of video games or use your PC for activities that require reaction speed like video editing , graphic design, etc., then a SDD is the obvious choice.

An alternative solution would be to purchase a smaller 256GB SDD for your PC, that you install all of your necessary systems (so it runs fast), and then add an external HDD for additional storage. 

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