PC buyers are used to having this choice made for them; if you bought an Ultrabook or Ultraportable, you were most likely equipped with a solid-state drive (SSD) as your primary drive. Every other desktop or laptop form factor had a hard disk drive (HDD).
Now, it’s up to you. You can configure your system with HDD, SSD, or even both in some cases. Why choose one over the other? Here ‘s a comparison to help you figure out which drive best fits your lifestyle.
Hard Disk Drives
Hard drives are direct descendents of the granddaddy of file storage. The first hard drive was created in 1956 and was about the size of two commercial refrigerators, but only stored 3.75 MB. Nowadays hard drives can store up to multiple terabytes and be thrown into a backpack. On a basic level, they are composed of metal platters with a magnetic coating. Your data is stored within this coating. The hard drive spins within the hard drive enclosure while a read/write head on an arm accesses the data in the magnetic coating. The hard drive is connected to your PC’s motherboard so that your PC can process your data.
SSD’s are a much more recent phenomenon. They began to be developed in the late 2000’s with the intention of creating a device that could store your data without requiring constant power to retain that data. SSD’s so this by storing your data on interconnected flash memory chips. These chips can either be permanently installed on your system’s motherboard, on a PCI/PICe card, or in a box that’s engineered to slot in for a laptop or desktop’s hard drive. SSD’s are faster and more reliable than USB thumb drives and consequently more expensive.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The two devices basically perform the same functions; they’ll boot your system and store your applications and personal files, but each type of storage has its own unique features. The question is, what are their differences and why prefer one over the other? Let’s break it down:
Given that you have an SSD and an HDD with the same storage capacity, odds are the SSD is going to be more expensive. HDD is an older and more established technology, so its wider spread and you’re more likely to find an option within your budget.
The SSD has the HDD clearly beat in this regard. An SSD-equipped PC will boot in seconds (or at least under a minute), while a hard drive requires time to even reach operating speed. Even when the HDD has finally hit operating specs, it will function more slowly than an SSD during normal use. In terms of booting, launching apps, and overall performance, the SSD is a clear winner.
Because an SSD has no moving parts, its more likely to protect your data given physical damage to your computer or system. Hard drives are prone to destroying data in these circumstances because their read/write heads have the potential to come into direct contact with the drive platter, which can be totally destructive to your information.
Again, this one comes down to moving parts. Because HDD’s rely on spinning platters to function, they can only be made so small. SSD’s can be made smaller and smaller and fit into smaller and smaller devices, a key reason why people expect SSD’s to slowly replace HDD’s as time goes on.
All in all, your choice is going to depend on the kind of device you are looking to use, how rough you generally are on your equipment, and your pocketbook. Best of luck to you in your decision!