Hard Disk Drives vs. Solid State Drives: Which Is Better?


Solid State drives and Hard Disk Drives have easily distinguishable physical appearances. But beyond how these drives look like, how else are they different? Listed below are four of the key differences of the two.

1. Spin-up Time

Because solid state drives (SSDs) don’t have moving parts, these drives don’t have spin up time too. On the contrary, different hard disk drives (HDDs) may have varying spin-up time, depending on the storage capacity and the mechanical composition of the device. The spin-up time usually takes a few seconds; you will hear your HDD spinning too. You will usually hear the sound when the computer is booting or when you access a drive that you usually use.

2. Data Access Latency

One of the biggest reasons SSDs are gaining support in the market today is their lightning fast speed. It is said the SSDs are about 80 to 100 times faster than traditional HDDs. The process is generally faster because SSDs no longer have to wait for a mechanical spin to access and seek data stored in the drive. SSDs can automatically access files without going through the process of physically looking for the data in the drive.

3. Noise

The absence of mechanical and moving parts makes SSD operation silent unlike traditional HDDs. However, there are HDDs which are relatively quiet too. These HDDs are usually more expensive than the noisy ones. Cheaper HDDs produce clumsy-sounding beetle-click sounds.

4. Reliability

Different hardware manufacturers have their own issues when it comes to the reliability of their products. But setting these issues aside, SSD are generally more reliable than HDDs. Majority of the failures that occur in HDDs are attributed to its actuator arm, that part which moves around to read and write data to the disk. Mechanical failures are normal whenever a device has moving parts. Just imagine you device being used up for thousands of hours; this operation can really wear out the mechanical arm.

However, HDDs take the win when it comes to read/write lifespan. The polarity of a HDD can be changed indefinitely. This means that there is no write-limit to HDDs as compared to SSDs which have read/write limitations. This means that the numbers of write-cycles that can be performed in SDDs are already predetermined.

This limitation has been the root of many complaints against SDDs; but if you’ll really look at it, the ceiling or the limitation of the number of cycles that you can write on SSDs is pretty high already. An average computer user will not be able to reach this limit so it can be safe to say that it is as if SSDs don’t have a limitation after all.

5. Cost

One big difference between SSDs and HDDs is their cost. SSDs are expensive unlike their HDD counterparts. However, SSD cost has already dramatically decreased over the past years. 20 years ago, it would be quite ridiculous for anyone to use SSD for a personal computer, but now, more and more people have already switched to SSDs. But at about $2.00 per GB, SSDs are still relatively expensive compared to HDDs.

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