SSD vs HDD: Which is best?

Are you looking to build your own PC but aren’t sure which parts to get? It can be confusing if you have limited prior knowledge. CPU, GPU, PSU, RAM, SSD, HDD; the acronyms can feel endless at times. However, when it comes to storage you have two choices: HDD or SSD. Which is the best one for you? Let’s take a look.

 

HDD

HDD stands for Hard Disc Drive. It has been around for years and years now and is the usual go to for any pc builder (even if they buy SSD as well). The first ever (official) HDD was the IBM 350 RAMAC which was created in 1956 and it had roughly 3.75 Mb of memory. Meaning that you could store 1 average length song on it today. However, the technology has progressed a lot since those days and now a 4 Tb HDD is considered quite normal. That is more than 1,000,000 times bigger than the 350 RAMAC. For those wondering, the largest HDD at the time of writing this is 60Tb which is 15,000,000 times larger than the world’s first HDD.

Today, HDD’s come in two sizes; 3.5″ (mainly used in desktops) and 2.5″ (mainly used in laptops and compact desktops). As you may imagine, as the 3.5″ is larger, it is capable of storing more data. They work by using magnetism on a rotating disc. A specially designed read/write head is capable of reading and writing any data to that disc. The technology is very similar to CD’s and DVD’s but a lot more precise. One of the downsides to having a HDD (especially in a laptop) is that because they work with moving parts, they are a lot easier to damage than SSDs are. As the discs inside can be spinning at several thousand revolutions per minute it can only take a slight knock to scratch the surface, labeling them completely useless after this happens (think of when you used to scratch a CD and the song would start skipping).

 

SSD

SSD stands for Solid-State Drive. Compared with HDDs it is a much younger technology. Along with being younger, it is also improved. Data can be transferred much quicker than it can on an HDD. It also is completely electronic as there are no moving parts. This makes it more reliable than its older counterpart and much less likely to become damaged. So in terms of computing an SSD is better. You can load your files quicker, you can write new data quicker, you’re less likely to damage it and it will be technology that will go from strength to strength as time goes on where as the HDD will probably be fazed out sooner than SSD.

However, all of this comes at a cost; SSDs are usually quite expensive. If we compare the most popular SSD (Samsung 850 EVO) on Amazon with the most popular selling HDD (WD Blue) we find this:

The 250GB SSD costs £90 compared to the 1TB HDD which costs £42. This means that you pay twice as much for a quarter of the storage space. For a 1 TB SSD you will have to pay out almost £300,

 

Why not both?

In an ideal world people would buy both and if you have a larger budget than most, I would recommend that you do buy both. All of your day-to-day work should be saved to your SSD (this includes your operating system and any games). Everything else such as photos, videos and other things of sentimental value that you don’t use on a daily basis but still enjoy having, save those to your HDD to keep your SSD as free as possible. If you have even more money than sense, I would recommend getting a SSD which mounts straight to your motherboard using a PCI-E slot rather than using a SATA cable for even faster data transfer.

 

The decision

If you are working to a smaller budget, HDD is still the way to go. Aim to get one as large as possible with as high rpm as you can get. However it the question is just; which is better SSD or HDD? Then SSD is clearly the winner. If money is no object it’s SSD all the way.


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