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A long time argument - which is better?

Nicole Billitz

Have you ever been about to buy a new laptop and heard the term SSD or HDD, and wondered what the difference was? And which one was the better device?

The difference

SSD stands for Solid State Drive. It is quite similar to a USB memory stick, but much more oversized and sophisticated. There are no moving parts, and all the information is stored in microchips. It uses NAND-based flash memory, which is non-volatile, which means even when you turn off the disk, it will restore the data when it is turned back on. The controller, or an embedded processor, performs all the operations necessary at the same time, and determines the speed of the device.

HDD stands for Hard Disk Drives. It uses magnets to store data on a rotating part, and the faster it spins, the faster the HDD can perform. It uses a mechanical arm that moves and reads the information to the rotating part, which requires a large amount of mechanical movement. However, the HDD can store a lot of data cheaply. HDD can easily store 1 TeraByte of storage, and it costs much less than the same amount on an SSD.

The comparison

1. The SSD requires only about 2-3 watts of power, which means it has more battery life than the HDD which can average 6-7 watts.

2. The HDD is much cheaper than the SSD, costing somewhere around $0.15 per gigabyte, whereas the SSD costs $0.50 per gigabyte.

3. The HDD has the capacity to harbor much more storage, anywhere from 500GB to 2TB on a laptop, and up to 4TB on a desktop. The SSD, however, will almost never be larger than 512GB for a laptop, and has a 1TB maximum for a desktop.

4. The SSD has no noise, vibration and produces much less heat, because there is no mechanical movement and it draws much less power. In contrast, the HDD has audible noises that can sometimes result in vibration from the spinning part. It also draws more heat due to the power required.

5. The SSD is much faster than the HDD. Most SSD range above 200MB per second, and up to even 550MB/s for the most cutting edge SSD, whereas the HDD range is somewhere from 50MB/s to 120MB/s. Additionally, it takes only 22 seconds to boot up the operating system, whereas it takes about 40 seconds to boot up on the HDD. In terms of file opening speed, the SSD is 30% faster.

6. It has long been believed that the failure rate of SSD was around 2.0 million hours, where the HDD failure rate is only 1.5 million hours.

However, data is currently being contested, according to an article by TechRadar, which uses a survey that reports a third of global respondents experience some sort of technological malfunction from an SSD, and that 61% of that population report data loss as a result. It is not disputed, however, that SSD data recovery is much more difficult than HHD recovery.


If you’re looking for a cost-efficient computer that has tons of storage capacity and don’t mind a slower drive, the HDD might just be the drive for you.

However, if you don’t mind paying a bit more for faster speeds, the SSD is the current preferred choice. However, it's important to take the current report into consideration, should you suffer from data loss. 

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