SSD vs HDD – In-depth Comparison

The debate of SSD VS HDD is always up. So why not find out what they are and how they are different?

Solid State Drive (SSD) has become widely popular and has taken spot light from the Hard Disk Drive (HDD). Although SSD drive has numerous advantages, HDD is still being used in devices. When buying a computer or laptop, you need to know whether you even need an SSD on your device or not. Many people blindly buy devices having SSD only because it is trending and new. To Intelligently select a hard disk type, you must have knowledge as to how both hard disks operate. Here is our in-depth SSD vs HDD comparison:

SSD vs HDD Working

The HDD uses a mechanical arm mounted upon a magnetic disk. To search or store information, the mechanical arm moves from location to location to find the required destination. However, the SSD has a much faster searching and storing process, it is also referred to as the disk which has no moving parts. It is a microchip which stores and retrieves data without having to move through the locations physically. An SSD can be thought of as a larger version of a USB memory stick. The SSD consists of two main parts, a flash controller and a NAND flash memory, therefore SSDs are also called flash drives.

SSD vs HDD Speed

Because the SSD only has to jump to the desired location, it is much faster than the HDD. The SSD has a boot time of about 10-13 seconds whereas the HDD has a boot time of around 30 to 40 seconds. From the boot time, it is evident that the SSD is faster by a big margin. Also, the average reading and writing speed of the SSD ranges from 200 MB/s to 500 MB/s whereas the HDD has speed ranging from 50 to 120 MB/s only.

SSD vs HDD Cost

The SSD costs around $0.3 per GB as the 1 TB drive costs around $300 to $400 whereas the HDD costs around $0.04 per GB as the 1 TB drive costs around $40 to $50. Of course, the per GB price of both the SSD and HDD reduces as the total memory increases. The SSD is available is sizes ranging from 256 GB to 1 TB (for laptops) and max out at 4 TB for desktops. However, 2 TB to 10 TB HDD have become common.

SSD vs HDD Performance

The SSD has the upper hand over the HDD since it is better in many aspects. First of all, the SSD has no vibrations and noise since it has no moving parts. It also produces little or no heat as it draws less power. The HDD draws more power than the SSD, however it also does not produce much heat. The SSD has a file opening speed 30% faster than the HDD. It also has the advantage having less failures than the HDD and is not affected by magnets, which is a major concern in HDDs (data can be erased when magnets come close to an HDD). Both disk drives allow Full disk encryption (FDE).

SSD Controller

The speed of the SSD not only depends on the fact that it has to do less work in reading/writing data but also depends on the controller being used in the SSD. The controller is an embedded processor also called the brain of the SSD. It is responsible for carrying out all the operations related to the reading and writing process. The controller makes decisions related to storing, retrieving, deleting and cache which determines the speed of the SSD. The controller also performs various tasks like error correction and encryption but that is a whole other story. What needs to be focused upon is that a good controller means a better SSD with a faster speed.

Some popular controllers with optimum performance are the Samsung Phoenix NVMe, Intel Custom and Silicon Motion SM2258. Different companies use different controller and they are being updated on a daily basis for better performance.

Hybrid Hard Drive (HHD)

A Hybrid Hard Drive (HHD) combines both the SSD and HDD and is also known as SSHD (Solid-state Hybrid Drive). The HHD has become widely popular since it combines the advantages of SSD and HDD and is dominant in performance. The HHD inherits the capacity, cost and performance of the HDD and the high performance of SSD.

An HHD has a small amount of flash memory mounted upon a typical hard disk drive. The flash memory contains applications and data that are required frequently. This way, the HHD gives accelerated performance with larger capacity and reduced cost. HHD’s cost only a fraction of what an SSD is worth.

SSD vs HDD Gaming

Of course, the SSD dominates HDD in terms of gaming performance. The SSD is highly reliable, has faster access and loading time and consumes less power. That’s all that gaming is about isn’t it? Well, one more factor is that gaming PCs usually require large amount of storage space especially if you also prefer to keep your personal data in the same computer. The best trick is to use both SSD and HDD. Gaming PCs are often equipped with 500 GB SSDs which consist of games and the 1 TB HDD is used to store data. This is indeed a cost-effective solution.

Access time of SSD is around 0.1 ms whereas the HDD has an access time of 5.5 to 8 ms. An SSD has virtually no access time.

An SSD takes 6 hours to backup data whereas an HDD takes 20 to 24 hours to backup data. This makes SSD almost 3 to 4 times faster than the HDD.

SSDs consume 2 to 5 watts of power whereas HDD used 6 to 15 watts of power.

SSD consumes 1% of CPU power whereas HDD consumes 7%.

Performance Analysis