SSD or HDD? What's the difference? Which is right for you?

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So you have landed on this page you are in the position many find themselves. You are wondering what the difference is and which one you should use. Well let us help you out and try explain this to you in the best way possible step by step.

First lets start with what SSD and HDD actually stand for, SSD is an abbreviation for Solid-state drive, and HDD stands for hard disk drive. These are the two main choices when it comes to selecting the memory for your PC build. So lets get into the differences and which one is best suited to you.

HDDs 

Hard drives are the older style of storage and have been around for a while they employ spinning magnetic discs to store data. 

A lot of people predicted the demise of the HDD when the SSDs arrived on the market but despite this manufacturers have continued to develop them pushing memory capacity up to 14tb whilst bringing the prices down making it a good cheap memory option. 

 

Although the larger capacity drives can be expensive, the price per gigabyte is rather low. Despite the moving mechanical parts the reliability isn't necessarily worse than SSDs.

The main drawback for HDDs is in fact its performance and when we talk about performance we are referring to how fast the drive can transfer data, known as read and write speeds. The HDDs at the top end can only read and write at around 200mb/sec which in comparison to the SSDs is very slow as we will show you further in this blog. 

So to summarise a HDD here are some pros and cons

PROS

  • Very large capacities available up to 14tb
  • Great value for price per gigabyte
  • Good reliability 

CONS

  • Slow read and write speeds 
  • Can be noisy when in use
  • if dropped you can lose data 

SSDs

The price of SSDs are always coming down which is great for the consumers however they are more expensive than a HDD and we are going to explain a little bit as to why. Some of these are there are no moving parts, SSDs run silently and are a lot less susceptible to damage compared to there mechanical predecessors HDDs.

The biggest improvement you will see from a SSD V's a HDD is its performance. The SSD connects over SATA this is the same connection the HDD uses however the SSD maximises the data transfer of the SATA connection. The SSD can read and write at up to 550mb/sec which is the real-world limit of the SATA connection, This is also a big improvement on the HDDs 200mb/sec speeds.

So lets try put those speeds into a little context for you if your windows was installed on the SSD you can expect windows to launch in as little as 15 seconds, however if you had windows installed on your HDD you would see something like 30-40 seconds to boot windows. 

SSD's have now taken another step forward and have introduced the next generation of SSD known as NVMe SSDs. These hard drives have bypassed the limitations of the SATA connection and now connect via the PCI express bus on your mother board. Due to this NVMe SSDs have read and write speeds that blow the previous generation out the park. They can read at almost 3500mb/sec and can write at 3000mb/sec which is clearly a massive improvement verses the SATA-connected SSDs and HDDs

 

 

The downside to SSDs currently is the size capacities manufacturers like Samsung have teased us with 30tb SSDs and we are confident we will see these in the future but be prepaid to pay a premium for these larger sized SSDs. so lets look at the pros and cons of SSDs.

PROS

  • Far superior performance
  • More reliable than HDDs
  • Silent operation
  • Use less power than HDDs

CONS

  • Currently limited on capacity
  • Price

So to summarise which we think is better it all depends on your budget and the use of your rig. If you are looking for superior performance then we would always recommend the NVMe SSD as nothing compared to its speeds. If price and budget is a key factor in your build and performance isn't necessarily the driving factor behind the build then a HDD would be perfect. If your a working within a budget but your still want some performance than a SSD would be the go to. 

This is something to take into consideration when planning your build if you need support deciding we are always on hand to help you decide upon your memory choice for your build. Here is a handy graphic which puts the differences into a nice visual context of what you can expect from the three different memory options. 

We hope this has been a helpful insight into the memory options available to you when building your PC. 

 

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