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Hard Disk Drive vs. Solid State Drive: Which Is Your Better Choice

HDD vs SSD, storage device, best data storage choice

The rule when deciding between Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and Solid State Drive (SSD) is to determine what are your needs for these devices. SSD versus HDD requires you to define exactly what your goal is so you can see which one fits it. If you’re looking for faster processing or reliability, perhaps an SSD would be the best choice. But if you prefer more space for fewer dollars invested, then you’re probably looking for HDD.

Once you add all the factors that are important for your purpose, you can reach the closer configuration you need and match it to the SSD or HD specifications.

Top Summary: With the right budget, you can have them both installed on your machine for massive storage and fast load times. Since that is not everyone’s case, the succinct overview of the pros and cons of these devices should help you to figure out how they work and determine which one is the best for you.

What is HDD?

HDD is a hardware device designed for storing and retrieving computer data. It consists of moving elements, comprising a head actuator, read-and-write actuator arm, and platters that are responsible for storing your information. The drive accesses data by reading itself using an actuator arm with reading/write heads that hover above the platter, instead of actually touching its surface. This type of storage is magnetic and requires moving parts.

HDD facts:

  • Storage capacity up to 20 TB
  • Up to 160 MB per second read/write speed
  • Mean time between failures (MTBF) rate of 1.5 million hours
  • Average US$ 0.06 cost per gigabyte

Summary: Moving parts and accessible prices are the main characteristics of HDD. It’s the best choice if you have a limited budget, and are looking for long-term storage as if you’re saving the backup data on it and leaving it still. It is also a good choice if you need a lot of storage space.

What is SSD?

SSD is a type of storage device most commonly found in tablets and laptops. Instead of magnets or moving components, SSDs rely on a flash memory controller and memory chip to store data. 

This technology provides significantly faster computing speeds and is the reason why this type of media increasingly gains popularity among individuals and business owners alike. Its design also uses metal-oxide semiconductors known as floating-gate transistors, which essentially hold an electrical charge even when the device is not plugged in.

SSD facts:

  • Storage capacity up to 2 TB for smaller devices and up to 100 TB for bigger ones
  • Up to 1000 MB per second read/write speed
  • MTBF rate of 1.5 million hours
  • Average US$ 0.10 cost per gigabyte

Summary: With no moving parts, SSD is a better choice for those who need to transport their device frequently. Also, it is the perfect match if you want high performance over storage space.

HDD vs SSD

Performance

Whereas hard drives may be better at handling large files, SSDs are all about little data transactions that happen all the time as your operating system is running. 

When a background task is performed, an instant message comes through, or a program launch, it requires access to a ton of small files located all over the place. Free from the need to physically fidget across disc surfaces, SSDs can reach desired pieces of information instantly, offering exceptional performance for computing that requires enhanced multitasking capabilities. As a result, a machine with a solid-state drive will be much snappier in launching apps and programs, and also faster when booting.

What SalvageData experts say

Unless you frequently copy large files, a modern SSD will provide several times better performance than any hard drive. Thus, utterly outperform HDDs in terms of system responsiveness.

Capacity

Since there are no significant differences in storage capacity, you can get HDDs and SSDs in similar sizes. You mostly find on the market the storage range between 128 GB to 2 TB. 

Reliability

HDDs are considered to be quite reliable these days. Yet, due to their fragile design and moving parts, they are highly susceptible to many external factors. Physical damage (caused by knocks, drops, vibration or so), water and fire damage, excessive humidity, overheating, etc. Damage to the platter, in turn, poses the most dangerous case of hard drive breakage, as just a couple of scratches may result in data being impossible to restore.

Meanwhile, solid-state drives do not have moving parts which implies they can withstand life’s small accidents much better compared to their hard disk counterparts. Overheating and power surges, though, are still a risk that can lead not only to the degradation of the drive but also to its complete failure.

Along with that, SSD cells have a limited lifespan (write cycles). While reading from solid-state drives a lot won’t really wear them out, writing contributes to wear and tear and can kill a consumer-grade model relatively quickly. Finally, if left without power, worn-out SSDs typically start to lose data after about one to two years in storage, depending on temperature.

What SalvageData experts say 

In an environment where impact and shock are more or less an everyday occurrence, such as in laptops or tablets, investing in an SSD would be the smarter decision; in an environment where it’s not the case, the reliability of an HDD should be more than enough.

Pricing

When it comes to storing vast amounts of data, hard disk drives still excel. Even though the price of SSDs has dropped dramatically over time, the cheapest 1 TB internal 2.5-inch solid state device will cost about $100. A hard drive of the same capacity and form factor can be bought for $40. 

What SalvageData experts say 

SSDs are much more expensive than hard drives in terms of dollars per gigabyte. With this in mind, hard drives are the best solution for long-term backup storage. But, if you’re looking for a data safety backup plan, you can build two hard-drive-based storage boxes and have one of them set up as an off-site backup with the money that you saved by not investing in an SSD-based backup solution.

Summary: Even though today solid-state drives surpass hard drives by a significant margin in many criteria, the latter is definitely in the lead when it comes to pricing. With this in mind, we recommend that you approach the purchase of a suitable device with proper prioritization, as it can not only help you save money, but also ensure that important data is adequately secure.

When you can benefit from SSD

The fact remains that SSDs can be of far greater benefit to individual and professional users than they can be to enterprises. Here are some ‌professions that most likely can benefit from machines with solid-state technology:

Photographers using high-end editing software

Videographers and filmmakers working with high bandwidth editing software

Musicians using high-end recording and producing programs

Remote workers performing a high volume of data transfers

In-the-field workers depend on reliable performance and shock-resistant technology

Gamers need high-performance equipment because of games graphics and memory requirements

Summary: SSDs are the best choice for any professional that needs high performance and fast processing. As for the cost per gigabyte, we can advise using an HDD for backup, meaning you can do your work with high quality, and still have enough space to save all data.

Even with backups and careful usage, your device can present failure that leads to data loss. Having a data recovery plan can help you. Contact one of our experts that will help you to recover all the important data you have.

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