SSD v. HDD Disk Drives

Hard disk drives (HDDs) and Solid State Drives (SSDs) are the two major storage options to compare when shopping for new storage options.

SSD vs. HDD: Which is Better for Your Business?

Choosing the proper data storage for your business is not as simple as comparing costs and capacity. Your business’s computer storage technology goes a long way to determine performance – particularly reliability, speed, and power consumption. What passes for a hard drive has changed a lot over the past decade as technology evolves and demand for better, faster, and more storage increases.

Hard disk drives (HDDs) and Solid State Drives (SSDs) are the two major storage options to compare when shopping for new storage options. If you are unsure which option to go for, this guide is for you. Read on to learn about each and how to compare them to find the right kind of storage for your business.

What is an SSD?

As the name hints, Solid State drives are computer storage components that store information in microchips, much like thumb drives and USB memory sticks. These drives have no moveable components inside them, hence the name solid state.

SSD drives use NAND technology, also called flash memory. Inside the microchips are floating gate transistors organized into patterns and blocks of different sizes and blocks arranged into grids called pages. The transistor gates work by recording and reading electric charge or its absence to store data.

What is an HDD?

Hard disk drives are the more traditional forms of computer storage. While they have been in use for over sixty years, they have evolved to become better, faster, and more reliable. Hard disk work by storing information on rotating magnetic platters read and written by a head with an actuator arm.

Each platter in a hard disk is divided into concentric circles or ‘tracks.’ Tracks are further divided into sectors. The disk software references information location stored in the disk by referencing the unique sector and track address.

The speed and capacity of a hard disk drive are determined by the rate at which the platter rotates. The higher the platter rotation speed, the higher the speed at which information will be written and read from the disk. For instance, an HDD with 15,000 rotations per minute (RPM) speed is faster than another with a 7,200rpm.

SSD vs. HDD: Speed

The greatest difference between SSD and HDD drives is speed. The development of solid-state drives was mainly driven by the need for computer storage that can write information and read and load data faster.

Whereas the most basic HDD can read and write data at speeds of 5400rpm or about 100MB per second, SSDs are faster because there are no moving parts inside them. The most advanced hard disks work at speeds of up to 15,000 rpm.

Even then, solid-state drives work as much as 30% to 50% faster. The average read and write speed of solid-state drives is 500 to 600 MB per second, but newer drives can read and write at speeds as high as 2.2GB per second.

SSD vs. HDD: Capacity

You can find solid-state and hard disk drives in all the common capacities you would need for a business computer – be it a laptop, desktop computer, or even a server. Since most computers do not need more than 1 or 2 TB of storage, it is easy to equip them with storage of the right size regardless of the type of disk you choose to go with.

If you are looking for storage drives for servers or backup devices, you may have to choose HDDs because SSDs with 2TB or more storage capacity are virtually non-existent. There are plenty of HDDs with as much as 6TB and 8TB storage capacity. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, if your business needs more storage, go for an HDD. If you need faster storage, go for an SSD.

SSD vs. HDD: Reliability and Lifespan

Solid-state drives store data by measuring electrons in a transistor. Because they have no moveable parts – no spinning platters and no arm with a magnetic head to read them – SSDs are more durable and less prone to mechanical failures. Solid State Drives can withstand shock and jumps more effectively than Hard Disk Drives.

There is another consideration, though, as far as reliability and lifespan go. Solid State Drives can only be written into and read from a definite number of times. This means that as much as they do not wear out with age, reading, and writing on them too frequently may cause them to fail. Note, however, that SSD technology has evolved fast over the past couple of years, and operating systems have gotten better at managing them.

The bottom line is that SSDs are more reliable than HDDs; however, their lifespan depends mainly on the frequency of reading and writing and how smart your business’ operating system is in managing the drive.

SSD vs. HDD: Power Consumption and Performance

The amount of power a disk requires to write and read information is a crucial factor to consider when shopping for computer storage for your business. In this regard, Solid State Drives are more efficient than Hard Disk Drives. Whereas a hard disk needs between 6 and 7 watts of power to spin up and move the magnetic head, a solid-state drive needs only 2 or 3 watts of power. If power conservation is critical to your business, then it is recommended you go for Solid State Drives.

The performance difference will not be immediately noticeable when you switch from Hard Disks to Solid State drives. However, if you wish to see the difference in performance between the two, observe how fast your computer boots up with each drive type. For example, a Windows computer takes several minutes to boot up from an HDD while another with an SSD will take mere seconds.

Solid State Drives are faster than Hard Disk Drives, hence better performing. They read and write files faster and take less time to load apps to the random access memory. The best part is that SSDs do not slow down over time or due to use; an almost full SSD will work as fast as an empty drive. The same cannot be said of an HDD which slows down as it gets fuller.

SSD vs. HDD: Price Comparison

The most notable difference between SSDs and HDDs is their prices. Solid State Drives are more expensive, with each drive costing about $0.20 per gigabyte. Hard Disk Drives, on the other hand, cost as little as $0.03 per gigabyte. A 1TB SSD presently goes for between $100 and $200, while an HDD of the same size may cost between $40 and $50.

Conclusion: Why Not Both?

The decision of whether to buy HDD or SSD for your business will depend largely on budget and the intended use for the drives. Overall, HDDs have the upper hand – not only because they are cheaper but also because they can handle heavy download capacities.

It is highly recommended that a business uses both HDDs and SSDs in work computers. Modern motherboards are built to offer many options for users wishing to have both types of drives on board. There are also hybrid drives that offer the benefits of both HDDs and SSDs in the same physical drive.

Are you unsure which type of drive to buy for your business? Visit Parkway Tech to talk to a computer expert and get professional advice based on your specific needs.

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