SSD v HDD - which one is the best?

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Hard Disk Drives verses SDDs

SSDs v Hard Disk Drives. Which would be the best to go for?

Both Solid State Drive (SSD) and Hard Disk Drive (HDD) do the same job, they boot your system and store applications and personal files.  However, each has its own unique feature set. So what’s the difference between the two and which one would be the best to go for?

The traditional spinning Hard Disk Drive is the basic non-volatile storage on a computer.  It is essentially a metal platter with a magnetic coating that stores your data. However, Solid State Drive data is stored on flash memory chips that retain the data even where there is no power present.

In the last few years, the capacity power of SSDs has been increasing at an exponential rate. The multiple stacking methodologies of flash cells has grown capacity by around 256 times, the same growth that took several decades for HDD to achieve.

Looking at costs, SSDs are more expensive than hard drives in terms of pound per gigabyte. A 500GB internal 2.5-inch hard drive costs around £79 + VAT and an SSD of the same capacity is around £220. That translates into 16p per gigabyte for the hard drive and 44p per gigabyte for the SSD. Since hard drives use older, more established technology, they will remain less expensive for the near future.

Some other key points of SSDs include:

  • Ruggedness – they are tough and resilient
  • They are thinner, now at 7 to 9 mm.
  • Power savings on SSD can be in the range of £8-10 per year.
  • SSDs are around 1000X faster than HDDs on random I/O, therefore, the speed can even reduce the number of servers needed, saving on cost in the long term.  Throughput can be anywhere from 5X to 100X better when compared to the fastest HDDs.

What would be the right storage for you?

According to PC Mag ( they break it down to:

Hard Disk Drive

  • Enthusiast multimedia users and heavy downloaders: Video collectors need space, and you can only get to 4TB of space cheaply with hard drives.
  • Budget buyers: Ditto. Plenty of cheap space. SSDs are too expensive for £500 PC buyers.
  • Graphic arts and engineering professionals: Video and photo editors wear out storage by overuse.
  • General users: General users are a toss-up. People who prefer to download their media files locally will still need a hard drive with more capacity. But if you mostly stream your music and videos online, then buying a smaller SSD for the same money will give you a better experience.


  • Road warriors: People who shove their laptops into their bags indiscriminately will want the extra security of an SSD. That laptop may not be fully asleep when you violently shut it to catch your next flight. This also includes folks who work in the field, like utility workers and university researchers.
  • Speed demons: If you need things done now, spend the extra pounds for quick boot-ups and app launches. Supplement with a storage SSD or hard drive if you need extra space (see below).
  • Graphic arts and engineering professionals: Yes, we know we said they need hard drives, but the speed of an SSD may make the difference between completing two proposals for your client and completing five. These users are prime candidates for dual-drive systems (more on that below).
  • Audio engineers and musicians: If you're recording music, you don't want the scratchy sound from a hard drive intruding. Go for quieter SSDs.

In summary, Hard Disk Drive win on price, capacity, and availability. SSDs work best if speed, ruggedness, form factor, noise, or fragmentation (technically part of speed) are important factors to you. We see that the price of SSDs is coming down, but they may still be too expensive to totally replace the terabytes of data that some users have in their PCs and laptops. Apart from the price and capacity issues, SSDs would be the hands-down winner.

To find out more on which would suit your needs the best, speak to us at BCC IT on 01239 710 823.


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