Hard Drive vs SSD (the showdown)


‘What is an SSD?’  is a very common question in our show room, the short answer is “the future” – The long answer needs a bit of explaining, so we think it deserves it’s own post. Here it is!


The answer.


Everyone has experienced the frustration of turning their computer on and going to make a cup of tea, read the post, walk the dog and run a marathon before it’s actually ready to be used.  Well not any more!


What is a HDD?

Firstly lets begin by explaining what a Hard drive is. A Hard Disk Drive (or HDD) is a storage device used for storing the Data on your PC. They vary in size and speed, but all do the same job. They consist of a series of platters or discs and a head unit. The platters spin up to speed (usually at 7200RPM) and the data is then read off of the discs by the head, similar to a needle on a record player. Most PCs and laptops still have these as standard as they are cheap and easy to manufacture. The limiting factor of a HDD is the speed it can read and write data, in turn this is limited by the moving parts maximum operating speed. As Hard Drives have moving parts inside, they can be particularly delicate and easy to break if knocked or dropped and will eventually ware out with age.


What is an SSD?

An SSD is a newer type of storage drive and stands for Solid State Drive. Instead of discs inside, it consists of flash memory (similar to the storage in smart phones & USB memory sticks). The benefit of this is that the data can be located and loaded from the drive much faster than it can from a HDD which is limited by it’s moving parts. This allows the PC to perform tasks such as booting up & loading software much faster. For example, let’s say we have a PC with a Hard Drive that boots into Windows in 1 minute, if we replaced the Hard Drive with an SSD, it would boot up in around 20 seconds.

SSD’s are a great upgrade for existing machines and especially for laptops. This is because they are often carried about from place to place (even if it’s just one side of your house to another). Moving a laptop with a conventional hard drive back and forth has the potential to damage the drive from knocks and drops however as Solid State Drives have no moving components, they are far less likely to be damaged from a drop or bump. (This doesn’t mean you can drop a laptop and expect it to be fine, but your data is certainly safer on an SSD!)


Should I buy one?

A notable difference between Hard Disk Drives and Solid State Drives is the price. For example, a 1TB HDD costs about £55.00 and a 1TB SSD costs around £400. (prices accurate to November 2015). One thing to remember though is that most users will not need a 1TB SSD – they can fit their data onto a smaller drive such as a 240GB SSD which are considerably cheaper at approximately £100.00. Here’s some good news – SSD prices keep dropping! A year ago a 240Gb drive would have cost just over £200.00!

The key thing to remember is what you’re actually paying for. You are not only increasing the overall speed of your drive, but you are also future-proofing your computer. If you have a computer or laptop that is 5 years old and it’s running a bit slow and perhaps you’re considering a new one, there’s a second option. You could fit an SSD to the laptop or PC and potentially use it for another year or two; simply put, an SSD can give an old computer a new lease of life. When the time comes and you choose to move on and purchase a new machine you can transfer the SSD into a new computer too!


In summary if you’re asking yourself “should I get an SSD for my computer?”

The answer is “Yes”.


If you have any questions please feel free to drop us an email on workshop@ecscomputers.co.uk

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Thanks for reading

About Brodie

IT Engineer Apprentice.