SSD vs HDD: Which should I have in my PC

by | Aug 4, 2020 | Computing

All your movies, music, games and software are stored in your computer in devices no bigger than a phone. Running anonymously in the background, the only time you notice them is when you can’t store anymore. Yes, we are talking about the Hard Disk Drive(HDD) and Solid State Drive(SDD); the crucial storage units in any PC.

Both, the HDD and SSD come with their own set of benefits. While an SSD can offer better performance, it’s slightly more expensive than HDD, which is affordable but lacks speed. Some people can prefer having both HDD and SSD, but for an average individual, this can be expensive and excessive.

hdd vs ssd

So, then what should you have as a storage system in your PC? A beefy but cheap HDD, or a sleek yet pocket burning SSD, or both of them, or something in between? Here, in this article you will get a broader view of both of these devices, assisting you to get the most suitable for your system.

History of storage systems (HDD & SSD)

A few decades ago, the only storage system humans could rely on was themselves, their senses, their brains, body, etc. As we advanced, we started transferring data on to other things like stone, tablets, wood, and paper. But in the current age, the surge in information and data has made ancient storage methods obsolete. We had to turn towards technology to aid us.

Luckily or unluckily for us, IBM came up with a computer in 1956 that had a hard disk to go with it. It had a storage unit named IBM 650 RAMAC that was equally sized and was the first hard disk. This system was advertised to scientists, engineers, and business, due to its immense computing power for the time and era.

Hard disks, later on, started to improve with its storage capacity and even sizes. Even though the sizes started to shrink, the storage capacity was rising. Hard disks were fitted with mechanical components as this was the technology that was tested and proven for quite some time. Hard disk was designed to not to incorporate any type of data loss during transfer. However, even with the introduction of hard disks, the need for better and efficient storage systems didn’t stop. Hard disks started to show many defects and caused data losses more frequently.

This led to the invention of SSDs, a much more sophisticated and reliable storage device.

In 2007, the first 1GB SSD was introduced in the OLPC XO-1 personal computer.

Soon after, the technology started to pick up and more and more SSDs were being manufactured and today we can see SSDs in almost every laptop or PC.

Why are solid-state drives better and faster than hard disk drives?

Both these storage devices function differently. While HDD uses mechanical platters and a moving head for data access, SSD stores data on memory chips.


If you have ever noticed a hard disk, you will observe that it is considerably larger than most other components in a PC. This large size is to encompass the many parts that make it operate; it includes a large disk, motors, an arm, and the arm head to form the rudimentary version.

An HDD takes on a magnetic recording to read and write data present on the PC.

The disks present have magnetized metal particles engrained on them. The data on them is stored as magnetic patterns or more commonly known as 1s and 0s, these bits are arranged in one or two states. When data is to be written on to the disk, an electromagnet with a strong enough field will convert the metal grains to either a 1 or a 0 based on the data written.

A magnetic reader present within the drive can pick up the state of the magnetic metal grain and convert it into useful readable data. All of this process takes place at the point of contact between the disk and the arm and happens at a very fast pace.


These devices are likely the better versions of an HDD. They use flash chips to improve to store the data. The majority of the world has now shifted towards them due to their durability, faster processing time, and lesser risks involved.

So, a typical SSD has multiple NAND flash memory and a NAND controller fixed on a printed circuit board. These components draw very little power and therefore protect data during a power disruption. The transistors present in these boards assist in the transfer of data by voltage manipulation. The electric signals generated can be converted into binary numbers and then they can be further converted to readable data. Since there are no moving parts, the speed in performing tasks is drastically higher.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an SSD and HDD?



The absence of moving parts ensures higher durability. 

  • Higher durability of up to 10 years.
  • A prominent feature of SSDs is the speed at which it performs. Access speed of 35-100 microseconds improves overall performance.
  • SSDs are usually smaller in size and hence will not take a lot of physical space in the CPU cabin.
  • The noise generated from an SSD is negligible as compared to an HDD.
  • Draws minimal power from the system and protects the data during power outages.


  • The biggest one is the price factor. These devices can be quite expensive and you could be paying twice the amount for half the storage space.
  • Limited storage size is also a factor. 14TB SSDs aren’t available but HDDs are.
  • SSDs are not available in every part of the world; even if they are it would be the most basic version. Manufacturing and distribution are currently not happening worldwide.



  • You can buy a 1TB HDD for an economical price but a similar SSD will burn a hole in your wallet.
  • HDDs have been used as a storage device for many years and therefore it is widely available throughout the world.
  • An HDD has wider options for storage capacity from 250GB to 14TB and everything in between.
  • The longevity in terms of reading and writing functionality favors HDDs as SSDs have a finite limit to this.


Speed is the biggest letdown when comparing HDD and SSD. Mechanical parts can only have fixed speed limits and can’t function beyond that.

  • Due to constant wear and tear, internal damage is imminent, eventually causing breakdowns.
  • External forces or magnetic field manipulation can hinder the data present in the disks.
  • It is generally bigger and takes up more physical space.
  • The power consumption is also higher than an SSD.

Is there any storage capacity difference between SSD and HDD?

The primary function of these devices is to store data and information, therefore selection depends on the buyers need. You can find similar storage options in both SSD and HDD up to a certain limit, after which the HDD provides better capacities. Both, SSD and HDD with capacities ranging from 128GB to approximately 500GB are available in many places. But above this, the SSD falls short on availability and accessibility. You won’t be able to find a 2TB SSD with ease but 2TB HDD is easily available

Is there any price difference between SSD and HDD?

This is the biggest deciding factor for most people when choosing between an SSD and a HDD and the SSD takes a beating in this aspect. SSDs are quite expensive, to say the least, prices of SSD vary based on the technology used, the manufacturing company, and general demand in an area.

The reason for this higher price is because of the NAND flash technology that is used to accomplish exponent transfer speeds. Besides this, even the assembly line set up for an SSD is more complex and stringent, making it an expensive device.

HDDs are available for a lower cost than SSDs. However, in the early days of its technology, it was still a costly device but with the years of development and demand, the prices started to recede.

HDD or SSD! Which has a greater lifespan?

HDD and SSD, in the end, are both electronic devices and with any electronic device degradation and failure comes with the package.

If the storage devices are working in ideal conditions, both can last for years. SSDs use NAND flash memory and with electric charges as data storage units they can easily leak out. The cells of an SSD can only handle finite data writings before it wears out but improvements like spreading the data and spare cells have uplifted its span. Even then this degradation process occurs after many years.

HDDs display data loss from the change in polarity in its magnetic inscribed particles. These particles are the bits that contain the data. This process is slower than the degradation process in an SSD and can outlive it.

When it comes to data loss due to physical damage, HDDs are at higher risks but even SSDs can incur a loss from physical damages.

If maintained properly, these devices can last up to 10 years.

Which types of drive are best for gaming?

If you’re a gamer, you’ll probably need a PC with larger storage capacity. SO HDD or SDD what should be the ideal storage device for a gaming computer?

Let’s lay out the advantages that both of them bring.


  • Generally faster in executing load times due to the presence of NAND flash memories.
  • Smaller in size and will not take up a lot of physical space.
  • Stored files are much more secured in an SDD.
  • With the noise generated from an already amped up gaming PC, the SDD will not add on to it.
  • Use up a lot less energy and power from the system.


  • Storage space is large, enabling the installation of many games files.
  • The ratio of cost to storage capacity is low.
  • Has a longer life before degradation.

Considering these aspects, the scales seem to tip towards the SSD. But it is not possible to show a blind eye to the large game file sizes that nowadays modern games have. So do you want to own many games or do you want the games to run faster? It is your pick.

The working, reading, and writing of these drives:

An HDD almost behaves like a vinyl record player, here the disks are replaced with magnetic disks and the arms polarize the magnetic particle on the disk according to the data to be written. A reader can pick up on the state of the particle and will convert it into usable data.

In an SDD, you have NAND flash memory that uses transistors to transfer data, voltage fluctuations control the writing and reading aspect in an SSD.


Storage systems have transformed to extraordinary levels, from simple beginnings to technological marvels. Cloud storage is now being showcased as the next best thing as virtual storage units and hybrid drives settling as a balance between SSDs and HDDs. Will this mean the HDD will completely vanish from systems or will SSDs continue rising in price? The future for these storage devices is still very unpredictable. The next revolutionary breakthrough could dominate this field. But for now, our only viable options are SSD or HDD.

Which is a better SSD or HDD?

This question cannot be simply answered by favoring one side. It all boils down to the need and requirement from these devices to the user. What are the devices used for, what is read from them, and what is written on them, the other components present in the system, budget, all these factors need to be considered before advocating the better device. An SSD might offer better performance than HDD, but are you ready to spend huge amounts of money on them? An HDD can store huge amounts of data at an economical price than an SSD, but are you ready to completely rely on its integrity?

The better device is completely based on perspective, for some, the SSD can seem beneficial whereas for some others the HDD is their game.

Is a 256GB SSD better than a 1TB hard drive?

No, for someone who has large amounts of data and media; Yes, for someone who needs quick transfers of important smaller data chunks. It is a question of do you prefer speed over storage space or storage space over speed. A 256GB SSD will perform faster and will also take up less physical space and might even last longer. However, remember that you are only getting 256GB of space and in these modern times just a blink of an eye can fill it up.

On the other hand, a 1TB hard drive might cost as much as the 256GB SSD but will provide twice the storage in HDD. But with an HDD, you will have to compromise on reliability and longevity.

Why is an SSD faster than an HDD?

In a hard disk, many moving physical parts help in accomplishing operations and with any mechanical device, there is only limited speed it can achieve.

In a solid-state drive, the magnetic disk, the arm, etc. are completely absent and are replaced with chips and processors. This provides the SSD the benefit of using electrical signals and code to execute tasks faster. What would take 6 hours on an HDD, will take half or even lesser time on an SSD!

Do I need an HDD if I have an SSD?

Having an HDD as well as an SSD in a system is completely fine and is being incorporated by many these days. Having both these devices can help in eliminating most of the problems when only one of the devices was present. By adding an HDD, you now can increase storage space of the PC without spending too much.

Movies, music, games, software can be stored on the hard disk and quick access data like the operating system or certain files can be stored on the SSD. If you can manage your data with just an SSD then you can skip out on adding an HDD. Just make sure there is enough space within the CPU to include both these devices.

What is the advantage of SSD over HDD?

SSDs have been reigning supreme over the HDD in the past few years. The features and functions that an SSD brings to the table have gradually improved its effectiveness in most PCs. Here are some of the advantages of an SSD

  •   The SSD can run tasks faster and this, in turn, results in seamless performance in the system.
  •   An SSD doesn’t have any moving parts in it and therefore will not succumb to wear and tear and eventual degradation.
  •   Power consumption by an SSD is less compared to an HDD.
  •   Since an SSD doesn’t have any magnetic disk, magnetic fields won’t disrupt data on it.

  Even damage to the retrieval of data from an SSD is easier than an HDD.

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