A huge decision of any PC or Laptop buyer is whether to use an SSD (Solid State Drive) or a HDD (Hard Disk Drive). SSD’s are fairly new on the scene, you may not know what they are. But suffice to say they are quick compared to an HDD, but there are drawbacks. I will attempt to give you the opportunity to understand the difference so you can make an educated choice.
A Hard Disk Drive is where you store all your information, like your pictures, your music, your work or personal files, even the Windows or Mac Operating System. A hard uses magnetic disks spinning at several thousand RPM to store your data, it has a head that moves across, a little like a record player needle to read the data. The head takes to time to move, it may only be fractions of a second but when it must move multiple times to read 1 piece of information, those fractions add up. Hard Drive technology has moved on masses over the years, but it has not moved as fast as other technology inside a computer, and this has created a bottleneck.
An SSD is the next generation of hard drive, they use interconnected flash memory chips to keep your data, even when there is no power. So, with SSD’s you don’t have the wait time of a head moving like on a HDD. The data parts are read much quicker, hence why you will see files opening quicker.
When I first upgraded from an SSD, my computer times went from over a minute to just under 25 seconds. But, we all know once we have put in our password there is still another few minutes to wait for all the programs and services to start – let’s make a brew time – for the computer to start working at a decent speed. With an SSD this had improved too, once putting my password I was astounded that 10 seconds or so the computer ready to use at full speed, all those little applications that I had to usually wait an age for, were suddenly running at lightning speed load times. So, they do make a lot of difference.
Pro’s and con’s
Both do the same thing, they store your data they have your operating system on and your programs, but how do they differ and why would you choose one over the other.
Price: SSD’s cost more for the same amount of storage, for example a 1Tb desktop computer hard drive will cost between £45 and £60 at the bottom end. A 1Tb desktop computer SSD will be more like £270 for the same data amount of storage, that makes your desktop computer quite expensive.
Capacity: HDD’s also have higher capacity’s 10Tb and beyond, an SSD I have seen personally at 4Tb and it was over £1000, so your capacity usage has a great difference over what you choose.
Power: HDD’s use more electricity as they have moving part in them and must drive motors, so there is a larger environmental effect on your pocket, granted we are talking a small amount but every penny helps. Crawling the internet, you will find that generally is said that an SSD uses a third of the electricity a HDD uses, so it’s a saving. When using a laptop, this means you get more time working on battery as there is less power requirements, bonus.
For speed and boot up times SSD’s are the way forward, but for sheer volume of data storage then its HDD’s. If you are lucky enough to be able to put in both in to your computer, which most desktop computers can do and some laptops, then you can install Windows on a small SSD and all your data on the HDD, then you have the best of both worlds. This is what I do and it is not a costly option then. A good combination is a 128Gb SSD and 1Tb HDD, cost for the SSD £50 – £75, the HDD £45 – £60. This will give you a speed machine with loads of storage.