HDD vs SSD: Comparison of the Storage Drives


Until recently, people opting for a mass storage looked down only for Hard Disk Drives (HDD) with various capacities, speed, the warranty provided, etc. But in the recent days we get to hear about what is called Solid State Drives (SSD).

So what is this SSD? How is it different from our conventional HDD? Before coming to all this let me first tell you a little about HDD. Standard Hard Disk Drives contain a set of disks arranged together called platters, which are coated with magnetic coating (this is where the data is stored). Things called drive heads then touch these platters physically and move around them. Thus changing the magnetic coating and storing data. Thus to read or write data onto the hard disk, the drive head touches the platters which we must say, is a bit mechanical. The HDD comes in 3.5 inch form factor (or 2.5 inch for laptops).

An Internal View of an HDD Credits: Ed

An Internal View of an HDD.
Credits: Ed

                                             But the technology involved in an SSD is quite different. It doesn’t contain things like platters or drive head. All it contains is a simple memory chip (NAND Flash Memory Chip), the same ones used in ipods, memory cards, etc. which can store data even without any power. The SSD usually comes in 2.5 inch form factor or sometimes the chip is even embedded on the motherboard.

An Internal View of SSD. Credits: HP Blade System

An Internal View of SSD.
Credits: HP Blade System


So now you folks might be thinking which is better? A HDD or a SSD! Well this entirely depends on your requirements and your purpose.

Power Consumption

Clearly as the HDD involves a mechanical process of writing the data, the power consumption is quite high. If you own a notebook, then this is where most of your battery is drained. Where as in case of SSD, as there is nothing mechanical involved, the power consumption is quite low. As SSD doesn’t have any moving parts, it doesn’t make any noise. In case of HDD audible clicks and spinning can be heard.

Speed and Performance

In this case SSD beats HDD in a big way. In terms of Copy/Write speed, a SSD does a 200-500 MB/s whereas a HDD just gets near 50-120 MB/s. Comparing the average boot-time (time to get your operating system started), SSD averages at 22 seconds while a HDD does the same in 40 seconds. So if your looking for speed and performance SSD is just right for you.

Storage Capacity and Price

This factor is what disappoints me about SSD. About the storage capacity, the maximum an SSD can currently offer is 512 Gigabytes. Whereas an HDD can offer upto 4 Terabytes of storage.

The SSD is also quite expensive. A Kingston 240 GB SSD costs a whooping Rs.12,500, where as a Seagate 3 TB HDD costs around Rs.9,000.

So a HDD or a SSD entirely depends on your requirements. If you don’t mind shelling out a lot of money for performance, you can go for an SSD. Or if you need great amount of storage capacity, HDD always gets a +1.

That’s not all. To optimize the performance of your PC, you can use both simultaneously. You can use a SSD as your primary drive (Where your Operating System is situated) to optimize boot time, and an HDD to store large amount of data. This method always works economical.





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