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What is an SSHD? A Guide to Hybrid Drives

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A solid-state hybrid drive, SSHD for short, is a conventional spinning hard drive enhanced with a small amount of quick solid-state cache memory and additional firmware to control the caching processor, all in one closure. Simply put, by combining the capacity of a hard drive with the reduced boot and access times ensured by an SSD, a hybrid device can offer an optimal solution for both data storage and performance within a budget. 

SD High Speed + HD High Storage Capacity = SSHD

what is an SSHD

SSHD has a lot to offer for businesses and, especially, individuals. You may have to check your needs and get to know SSHD specifications and usability better before deciding to use it. But you are about to discover that it has a significant cost benefit that matches most home users’ needs.

Top Summary: SSHD is an alternative for data storage that goes with most of the user’s needs. It has a good storage capacity and response time. SSHD is better at processing and faster than HD. And it costs less than an SSD. Learn more about SSHD before buying a data storage device.

Is SSHD for you?

SSHD is a compromise between a hard disk drive and solid-state technology. While it will never deliver the same performance as a speedy and dexterous SSD, in many ways, a hybrid drive is simply immeasurably faster than a conventional HDD. 

In terms of write and read speed, it makes practically no difference between SSD and SSHD. The major advantage of SSHD here is that it writes the most frequently used data — that is, the operating system and everything associated with it — to an integrated cache based on high-speed NAND memory rather than on a magnetic hard drive. This allows these files to be loaded much faster. 

While it takes about 40-60 seconds to boot the system on a regular HDD, an SSHD can effectively reduce this time to 20-25 seconds, depending on cache capabilities. Given this, the first thing to look for when buying a hard drive is the amount of cache, so it fits your needs.

Summary: The best way to decide if it is the right choice for you is by learning more about its specifications and relating them to what you’re looking for. You have to look for information like cache, load time, capacity, size, and cost.


Now, both SSHDs and SSDs can provide much faster processing by using NAND technology. So, which are their differences?

Speed ☆☆ ☆☆☆
Capacity ☆☆☆ ☆☆☆
Price $$ $$$ $
Reliability ☆☆☆ ☆☆☆ ☆☆☆
Form factor ☆☆ ☆☆ ☆☆☆
Durability ☆☆ ☆☆ ☆☆☆


Since SSHDs are essentially traditional hard disks, hybrid models offer about the same capacity as their magnetic siblings, meaning they can go anywhere from 250 GB to 14 TB — against SSDs for computers being available in 120 GB to 4 TB capacities.


SSDs come in two basic types these days: SATA and NVMe. SATA SSDs are physically similar to laptop hard drives and are connected to the SATA port on your PC or notebook. NVMe‌ is crammed into a much smaller size, which is comparable to a stick of chewing gum. It goes into an M.2 slot on your computer or laptop and ensures much faster speeds.

Meanwhile, SSHDs are only in SATA format and tend to be laptop size, commonly referred to as 2.5″.


A hybrid drive costs slightly more than a magnetic HDD, mainly because of the addition of a more expensive solid-state cache and extra firmware. Prices are ranging from 10% to 20% more than a regular hard drive.

Compared to SSDs requiring more expensive NAND memory chips, investing in a hybrid device can actually save a ton of money. Based on capacity specifications, the price of a solid-state model is currently five to twenty times higher than that of an SSHD, which will often be the deciding factor when choosing between the two options.

Summary: Since SSD and SSHD are very similar at the major points, your decision has to consider your budget and which specs are more important for your goal with the hard drive purchase.

Who Should Consider an SSHD?

Laptop users are great candidates for hybrid data storage. Due to the limited space in these systems, typically preventing more than one drive from being installed is easy to see why one can migrate from SSD to SSHD. 

Not only do solid-state drives have confined storage options, but they are also expensive in your pocket compared to discussed hard disk alternatives, such as HDD. An SSHD makes a smart choice as it would cost you just a quarter of the 1TB SSD while offering a balance between performance and space.

As for desktop computer users, it wouldn’t make much sense for them to acquire an SSHD since most PCs can accommodate multiple drives. In addition, a lot of newer computers come with both a traditional hard drive and a solid-state one — with the operating system installed on the smaller capacity SSD, and user’s data mostly stored on the hard drive — which in fact represents an ideal solution for most needs and purposes. 

In addition, SSHD doesn’t lack the disadvantages of a hard drive (in particular, its susceptibility to mechanical failures). Although it can still become an excellent option for those who would like to upgrade their machine without wasting all their savings.

Summary: SSHD has cache, speed, and storage capacity – as well as being more budget-friendly. But, it’s an intermediary solution for those looking for efficiency and fast processing. The best hard drive for you is the one that fits your needs. If you want speed over storage will be a different choice if you’re looking for a device that can read and write data accessible for more systems and formats.

Regardless of your choice of SSD or SSHD, you will need to back up your data to avoid loss. And keeping a recovery plan is not a bad idea either. If you need help with your SSD or SSHD device, contact our specialists. They will promptly answer you.