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SSD vs HDD: What’s The Difference?

SSD vs HDD: What’s The Difference?

When looking for storage for your PC, you’ll have to decide between an SSD and an HDD, which can be confusing. Here’s what you need to know about these two storage types. 

What’s The Difference Between SSD And HDD?

The difference between SSD and HDD is how they store data. SSDs, or solid-state drives, store data digitally using flash memory. HDDs, or hard disk drives, use a physical disk that looks like a CD or DVD to store data. SSDs are faster, more reliable, and smaller than HDDs.  

To understand the differences between these storage options, let’s take a look at their pros and cons. 

Pros And Cons Of An HDD

An HDD works by creating and accessing magnetic charges on a rotating disk. Inside your HDD, this disc spins on a plate and an arm moves back and forth to read and write data to the disc.

Here are the pros and cons of an HDD:

Pros

  • Cheaper than an SSD. 
  • The storage capacity on the lowest-level HDDs is higher than on baseline SSDs. 
  • HDDs may last longer than SSDs since flash memory has limited read/write cycles. 

Cons

  • Larger than an SSD of the same storage capacity. 
  • Significantly slower than SSDs. 
  • Louder than SSDs.
  • Prone to damage from dropping, shifting, and moisture. 

Pros And Cons Of An SDD

SSDs work much like USB flash drives. They consist of computer chips with transistors that hold charges representing your data.

Unlike HDDs, everything in an SSD is electronic, and there are no magnetic or mechanical parts. There are no moving parts in an SSD, everything is solid.

Here are the pros and cons of an SSD: 

Pros

  • Significantly faster than HDDs. 
  • Resists wear from dropping, humidity, and shaking better than HDDs. 
  • Consumes less power than HDDs. 
  • Quieter than HDDs. 
  • Smaller than HDDs and come in many form factors. 

Cons

  • More expensive than HDDs. 
  • You can only read/write flash files so many times before the SSD loses its capacity to store data. 

Overall, the pros and cons for each storage option are pretty balanced. However, when building a gaming computer, one option is the clear winner. 

Which Is Better For Gaming: SSD Or HDD?

SSDs are better for gaming since they are significantly faster than HDDs. Load times may be slower using an HDD since it takes more time for the mechanical parts of these devices to save and recover your data. 

William Harris over at HowStuffWorks tested the difference between an SSD and an HDD on the same computer. 

In his experiment, he found that his boot time was twice as fast when using an SSD, and the data read/write speed was five times faster when using an SSD.

In addition, opening an excel file took 14 seconds with the HDD, while it only took 4 seconds with the SSD. 

This speed boost makes the SSD a clear winner in gaming since you will likely be saving large files and requiring fast load times from your computer. 

However, you may have to deal with higher costs and decreased longevity when you opt for an SSD, which begs the question – can you include both an SSD and HDD in your computer? 

Can You Have An SSD And HDD Together? 

You can have an SSD and HDD together. Using an SSD and HDD offers the best of both storage options, allowing you to access the fast boot and load times of the SSD while taking advantage of the reliability and affordability of the HDD.

HDDs and SSDs each have unique features, but using both devices together can give you the best of both worlds.

You can use an HDD to store permanent data, such as photographs and essential documents. Then, you can save files and applications on the SSD to take advantage of the speedy load times. 

Having both on your computer also gives you a fail-safe way to save your data in case one of your storage devices fails or breaks.

When I built my gaming PC, I decided to use a 5TB HDD for storing games, and a 1TB SSD for storing my computer’s operating system.

This provides you with the best of both worlds. By storing your operating system on your SSD, your computer will boot up super quickly, and a large HDD will provide you with tons of storage at an affordable price.

So, let’s talk about how long you can expect an HDD or SSD to last.  

Which Has A Longer Lifespan: SSDs Or HDDs? 

SSDs have longer lifespans than HDDs. Although HDDs don’t have limited read-write cycles like SSDs do, they are prone to mechanical damage from dust, moisture, and motion. Although they are limited to an approximate number of read/write cycles, it would take many years of use to wear out an SSD.

SSDs wear out the more you use them since the storage method (flash memory) can only save and delete data so many times before it loses its capacity to hold anything.

However, since HDDs have intricate mechanical parts, they are much more prone to breaking than SSDs. Due to their intricacy, HDDs usually only last around five years

However, it takes a general computer user ten years to wear out an SSD. So, SSDs clearly win when it comes to lifespan. 

Let’s talk about the best SSD and HDD you can get. 

Best SSD?

The best SSD is the WD_BLACK 1TB SN750 SE M.2 NVMe SSD. This SSD has an incredible read speed of 3,600 MB/s, a write speed of 2,900 MB/s, and one terabyte of storage. It’s incredibly reliable, maintains a low temperature well, and delivers on all its promises.

This SSD isn’t budget-friendly, but it is well worth the investment. It works remarkably quickly, and it will last you for many years. 

However, note that this SSD will not work with every computer. You will need a motherboard and CPU that support a Gen4 M.2 PCIe hard drives and have a free slot for it on your motherboard.

M.2 drives are the latest and greatest when it comes to SSDs. These drives are incredibly fast, and are super tiny. They are the size of a stick of gum.

I recently built a PC with an M.2 drive, and I was blown away with the low-profile of the hard drive and the super easy installation process.

So, now that we’ve covered the best SSD, let’s look at the best HDD you can get. 

Best HDD?

The best HDD is the Seagate BarraCuda 2TB Internal Hard Drive HDD. This hard drive offers two terabytes of storage at an affordable price. It has rotation speeds of 7200 rpm for fast storage and is much quieter than most HDDs.

This HDD is ideal if you already have an SSD, and I’d recommend it for any dual-storage build.

It can also work as a stand-alone hard drive, but the small 3.5-inch (8.89 cm) form factor and SATA connector make it perfect for combining with an M.2 PCIe.

It’s also an excellent add-on for laptops due to its power and size. 

It’s an unbelievably cheap option compared to an SSD with the same capacity and reliability, so it’s perfect if you are on a budget.

I use a BarraCuda in one of my gaming rigs, and I’ve had no problems with it. It’s reliable and quiet, and loads my games quickly.

👋 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, viewers, and gamers answer questions they have regarding live streaming, gaming, and PCs. I am a Twitch affiliate and currently stream on Twitch 3 days a week. I also have a Youtube channel where I make videos about streaming. I hope you find my content helpful. Feel free to stop by one of my streams to say hi.