HDDs are still a popular choice for the majority of average consumers, usually choosing an HDD as the storage option in their new computer simply due to the much cheaper cost. However, more and more consumers desire top computing performance and are hence opting for an SSD (Solid State Drive) inside their new machines or as an upgrade to their current one rather than the older HDDs. As such, SSDs are well on their way to becoming the mainstream, standard bearers of storage options, especially for laptops given the advantages they present for a mobile device due to their compact design and overall efficiency (they are currently the default storage device in the Ultrabook category). That said, there will always be a market for both HDDs and SSDs based on user demand and buying capability.
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Most people now buying laptops and PC’s for their computing needs have to make the decision between getting either a Solid-State Drive (SSD) or Hard Disk Drive (HDD) as the storage component. So which of the two is the better choice, an SSD or HDD? There’s no concrete answer to this question; each buyer has different needs and you have to evaluate the decision based on those specifications, needs, wants, preferences, and of course budget. Even though prices of SSDs has seen gradual deterioration, the price per gigabyte advantage is still strongly with the Hard Disk Drives. Yet, if performance and fast bootup is your primary consideration and money is secondary, then SSD is the way to go.
What is an SSD?
We’ll make no assumptions here and keep this article on a beginner level of understanding for the most novice of users. You might be shopping for a computer and simply wondering what the heck does SSD actually mean? To begin with, SSD stands for Solid State Drive. You’re probably familiar with USB memory sticks which are a portable storage device very common nowadays – SSD can be thought of as an oversized and more sophisticated version of the humble USB memory stick. Like a memory stick, there are no moving parts to an SSD and is a unibody design which is getting more compact as years go by storing information in microchips. Conversely, a hard disk drive uses a mechanical arm with a read/write head to move around and read information from the right location on a storage platter with its transfer speed dependent upon the spindle spin speed. This difference is what makes SSD so much faster. As an analogy, what’s quicker? Having to walk across the room to retrieve a book and flipping through the pages to get information or to simply magically having that book open in front of you when you need it? That’s how an HDD compares to an SSD; it simply requires more physical labor (mechanical movement) to get information rather than relying on microchip digital transfer capability.
What is an HDD?
HDDs were first introduced by IBM in 1956 – yes folks this is nearly a six-decade old piece of technology. An HDD uses magnetism to store data on a rotating platter rather than relying on digital energy packets like in the SSDs. A read/write head floats above the spinning platter reading and writing data. The faster the platter spins (spindle spin speed), the faster an HDD performs. Typical laptop drives today spin at either 5400 RPM (Revolutions per Minute) or 7200RPM, though some server-based platters spin up to 15,000 RPM which is the most HDDs have clocked.
An HDD might be the right choice if:
If you need lots of storage capacity, which can go up to 10TB and are looking for a comparatively cheaper option without caring much about how fast a computer boots up or opens programs – then get a hard drive (HDD).
An SSD might be the right choice if:
You are willing to pay for faster performance
If you don’t mind limited storage capacity or can work around that (though consumer SSD now go up to 4TB and enterprise run as high as 6TB) then for a smoother and hassle-free module, the SSD should be your go-to option.