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CPU vs. Hard Drive | What’s The Difference?

CPU vs. Hard Drive | What’s The Difference?

Is it better to have a fast computer that can’t hold much data or a slow computer with plenty of storage space? Read on to find out the difference between a central processing unit (CPU) and a hard drive and how they affect computer performance.

What’s The Difference Between A CPU And Hard Drive?

The main difference between a CPU and a hard drive is that a CPU is responsible for processing instructions, while a hard drive stores the processed data. The tasks of the components differ, as the CPU functions as the brain of your computer while the hard drive is a storage device. 

Let me explain:

The CPU is the brain of the computer. It executes instructions and handles all the data that flows through the rig. For example, if you click on the Chrome browser, the CPU will find the files in the hard drive and run them for you in the background. So, the faster the CPU, the more instructions it can execute per second.

Apple’s M2 chip is an excellent example of a fast CPU. It can reach up to 3.49 GHz, which is incredibly fast. This speed allows the computer to handle complex tasks like video rendering quickly.

A hard drive, on the other hand, is simply a storage device. It holds all the data you have on your computer, including the operating system, applications, and files. Hard drives are measured in gigabytes (GB), ranging in size from 500 GB to 4 TB.

The most important thing to remember is that you need a combination of a fast CPU and hard drive to have a well-performing computer. A fast CPU can’t do much if it is unable to retrieve stored data quickly, and a large hard drive is useless if the CPU can’t read and write data quickly.

That’s why you want a Solid State Drive (SSD) for your computer. SSDs are much faster than traditional hard drives (HDDs) and are available in sizes up to 4 TB. With an SSD, you’ll get the best of both worlds: a fast hard disk that will keep up with your processor and plenty of storage.

Which Is More Important For Gaming: CPU Or Hard Drive?

The CPU is more important than a hard drive, particularly for gaming. Games are very demanding on a computer and require a lot of processing power. So, a fast CPU makes the difference between a smooth gaming experience and a choppy one.

That said, hard drives also play an important role in gaming. Games are usually large files, and they need to be stored somewhere. A hard drive with a lot of storage space will allow you to have more games on your computer.

If your hard drive is too slow, you will probably notice that levels load very slowly while you are gaming. If the hard drive is too small, you may run out of space and find that you don’t have enough space to fit all your favorite games.

This problem is why you need a combination of a fast CPU and hard drive for the best gaming experience.

Which Should You Upgrade First: CPU Or Hard Drive?

You should upgrade the CPU first before your hard drive, especially for gaming. The CPU upgrade will give you the most significant performance boost. A faster processor can handle more instructions per second, so games will run smoother and have fewer loading issues.

You also want to add more RAM to your system. RAM is a memory used by the CPU to store data temporarily. The more RAM you have, the faster your CPU can access data, a situation that will speed up game loading times.

While the CPU is important for game performance, it should be noted that the most crucial component for gaming is your graphics card. For your money, upgrading your graphics card is likely to get you a better performance boost than you will get by upgrading your CPU.

In short, you should start by upgrading the CPU if your CPU is slow or outdated. However, if you already have a fast CPU, you should look into upgrading your GPU.

Upgrading your hard drive makes sense only when your hard drive is too small to fit all your games, or it is outdated and loads games very slowly.

Is The CPU Connected To The Hard Drive?

The CPU is not connected to the hard drive. Instead, it’s connected to the motherboard, where the hard drive is also attached. The CPU only accesses data stored in memory (RAM), and does not directly manipulate the data on your hard disks.

In modern computers, the CPU does not interface directly with data stored on your PC’s hard drives. Rather, data from the hard drive is transferred into memory (RAM) in chunks. From memory, the CPU can access the data and store it in cache while performing calculations.

Will A CPU Work Without A Hard Drive?

A CPU will not work without a hard drive. The hard drive is responsible for storing the operating system and any programs and files installed on the computer. Without a hard drive, the CPU would have nothing to do.

Best CPU

The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D is the best-performing CPU on the market, as measured by gaming benchmarks.

Ryzen processors have a tremendous reputation for gaming, and they are known for providing more computing power than Intel CPUs at more affordable prices.

You should keep in mind, however, that when it comes to gaming, you only need a CPU as performant as your GPU. If you have a wicked-powerful GPU, like an RTX 3090, then it makes sense to go all out on your CPU, so that it doesn’t hinder the performance of your GPU.

If, however, you have a mid-range GPU, such as a GTX 1660 Ti, then it really doesn’t make sense to spend so much money on upgrading your CPU. Instead, that money would be better spent on upgrading your GPU first.

Best Hard Drive

The Seagate Barracuda 2TB Hard Drive is a solid choice for a gaming PC. It has a high capacity so that you can store all your games on it. And the 7200 RPM spin speed ensures that you will access your data reasonably fast.

This SATA hard drive also has a cache of 64MB, which further improves data access speeds. But you can also get it in an SSD form factor, improving game loading times even further.

If you are looking for a second hard drive for the purpose of storing games, music, and movies, then an HDD is a great choice. HDDs are speedy, but also affordable, and you’ll be able to get a lot more storage space dollar-for-dollar.

If you’re looking for a hard drive to install your operating system on, however, then I would recommend choosing an SSD over an HDD.


👋 Hey There, I'm Eric!

Since 2018, I've been making streams come true.

I like gaming, streaming and watching other people stream. I created this website to help streamers and viewers of streams answer some of the questions they may have regarding live streaming. I am a Twitch affiliate and currently stream on Twitch 3 days a week. I hope you find my content helpful. Feel free to stop by one of my streams to say hi.