HDD vs SSD Comparison – computer storage space dilemmas

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    As long as we can switch our PC’s and laptops on and write, store and retrieve information as and when we require them, the complexities of the process are often of little relevance to us. That is until our computers start to run at a snail’s pace or we are unable to save important data due to limited storage space.

    If you have a computer storage space dilemma and are struggling to choose between an HDD or an SSD, then this guide will explain the advantages and disadvantages of both in terms of speed, capacity, cost and lifespan.

    The decision of whether to invest in an HDD (Hard Disk Drive) or an SSD (Solid State Drive) should ultimately come down to what you use your computer for. In this guide we’ll explain the pros and cons of using each type of storage drive, so that you can find the best device for you.

    HDD vs SSD comparison

    What is an HDD (Hard Disk Drive)?

    If you own a desktop PC, then it is likely to run off a traditional hard disk drive. This mechanical drive stores your operating system, applications, files, folders and any other information that you may have. Inside the hard drive is a circular disc, otherwise known as a platter, which stores all of this information. Upon accessing this, the disc spins, allowing a needle to search for information before reading or writing data as it passes.

    Pros of using an HDD: –

    Up until a few years ago, hard disk drives where the industry standard, increasing in their storage capacity yet efficiently decreasing in physical size. These types of drives continue to work perfectly well today, are cost effective and available to purchase with large amounts of storage space.

    Cons of using an HDD: –

    Unfortunately, an HDD is considerably slower at reading and writing than an SSD drive when operating.

    Plus, they often experience more mechanical problems, especially in laptops where they are likely to be chucked around a lot more. HDDs are also heavier and use more energy in comparison to an SSD.

    What is an SSD (Solid State Drive)?

    If you have a modern laptop, then chances are it is operating using an SSD. This newer storage device has been around for a while now, and as its name suggests, it has no moving parts. Instead it uses NAND flash memory, which functions in a similar way to a USB.

    Pros of using an SSD: –

    The advantage of having an SSD drive is that all your information is stored on a computer chip, and with no moving parts this greatly improves reading and writing speeds. This becomes very noticeable when loading your computers operating system, and vastly improves performance when it comes to gaming and movies.

    Cons of using an SSD: –

    SSD technology is still quite new which means that these hard drives are more expensive to produce, especially when you start looking at the larger storage drives.

    Although they are catching up, SSDs are typically more expensive per gigabyte than traditional hard disk drives. This is because the manufacturing process for HDDs is less complex making them cheaper to produce and making them more affordable for the end user.

    The best of both

    But what if you want to get that balance of price, performance and space all in one PC? Well, when it comes to computer storage, it seems you really can have your cake and eat it.

    In the last few years more and more people are opting to install a smaller SSD drive for just their operating system and main programs and are using high capacity traditional HDD drive for their personal data.

    This gives people the best of both worlds, as they can experience quick boot up times and have access to games, applications, films and programs at high speed, alongside bigger storage capabilities for personal files.

    It should be noted, however, that dual disk drives are mainly only available for desktop pc users, and unless you have a high spec laptop, most everyday laptops will only have room for one device.

    Talk a hard drive expert

    At Lee Harvey Computing in St Austell, we have the hard drive know how and expertise to guide you on what’s best for your requirements. Simply call or complete our website contact form and we’ll get back to you quickly.

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    Lee Harvey

    Lee is an experienced computer repair engineer and operates across Cornwall from his base in St Austell.

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