HDD vs SSD: Know The Difference

If you have a PC then you must be aware of the fact that your PC has a drive where your operating system is installed and your files are stored. Before the 2000s, there was only one kind of storage device you could have got with your PC, and that was the good old Hard Disk Drive. But nowadays, you have two major choices when it comes to storage devices - The Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and the Solid State Drive (SSD).

So what is the difference between these two types of storage media? Well, let us find out!

hard disk drives and solid state drives

What are HDDs and SSDs?

SSDs are considered a huge improvement over conventional HDDs. An HDD is a mechanical drive that consists of physical disks and a data reader/writer to read the data from the disks. The disks are constantly spinning when the drive is running and data is physically written on the spinning disks. This means that HDDs have physically moving components inside them.

On the other hand, SSDs do not have any physically moving components inside them. SSDs have something known as 'flash memory', which consists of semiconductor chips. Data is stored on these flash memory chips, that retain the data even when the machine is powered off.

solid state drive

Major differences between HDDs and SSDs

Here are some of the major differences between HDDs and SSDs -

  • HDDs consist of physically moving parts while SSDs consist of flash-memory chips. None of the components of an SSD are physically moving.

  • As HDDs read and write data on spinning disks, the read/write speed on them is limited. This is because there is only so much speed with which a disk can spin. Now there are some Hard Drives with disks that spin at a very high speed, but none are as good as SSDs in terms of read/write speeds. SSDs do not have this problem as data is stored in SSD in flash cells, which constantly communicate with the controller through semiconductor circuits. Replacing your conventional Hard Drive with a SATA SSD can lead to at least an 8 to 10 times jump in performance. The performance jump is even greater when an NVME SSD is used instead of a normal SATA SSD.

  • SSDs consume very low power than HDDs. This again comes down to the fact that SDDs have no physically moving components. This is especially beneficial in the case of laptops as it greatly improves the battery life.

  • HDDs are generally very less shock-resistant and tend to corrupt easily if they receive a certain amount of shock either due to a fall or any other reason, which could lead to data loss. On the other hand, SSDs are very much shock-resistant and more reliable than HDDs.

  • The lifespan of SSDs used to be an issue in the early days of SSDs. But it is not a concern anymore as the technology behind SSDs has greatly progressed. For example, even if you constantly keep writing data to your SSD 24 hours a day every day, it would still not fail for almost a decade! Now that is something which can be called reliable!

Generally, HDDs are found in low-end laptops and desktops. The modern mid-range and flagship PCs always come with an SSD inside them. Now we are beginning to see SSDs even in many budget-friendly laptops! Some laptops also come as hybrids, which means that these laptops have both an SSD and an HDD, with the operating system installed on the former for faster performance.

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