HDD VS SSD - Which Is Right For Me?

Updated: Mar 13, 2019


Over the last few years, there has been a movement away from the traditional HDD's (Hard Disk Drives) to SSD's (Solid State Drives) and this is for a variety of reasons, of which I will go into shortly. But the question still remains, which is better for me and which one should I be looking for in a new PC or Laptop? Hopefully, this article will clear the mystery up a small amount and help you when looking to make your next purchase!

HDD - Hard Disk Drive

The HDD is the traditional and now older model of hard drives that you still find in machines today but would almost always have found a few years ago. Hard disk drives have a mechanical arm as you can see from the header image that spins to read/write the data to and from the drive. The speed of the drive and the speed of which data can be accessed is entirely dependent upon the speed of which this mechanical arm can spin. This speed relates to the fact that Windows will take longer to boot up, applications will take longer to load, files will take longer to open and save. There is a benefit to HDD's in terms of storage levels vs cost. Typically, a 1TB HDD will cost anywhere between £40-£70 dependent on speed making large storage capacities financially viable. So if you were wanting to store all of your files locally, this would be a suitable option. However, you would need to take into account that this is an older technology and the speeds of saving & accessing data as well as booting up Windows will not be as high as they potentially would be with a different type of hard drive.

SSD - Solid State Drive


Solid state drives are nothing new in the IT world, having been around for 40 or so years. They have however, only become more commercially viable and common within the last few years. SSD's do away with the mechanical arm that reads data within a HDD in favour of storage within microchips - this meaning that the data can be accessed more quickly and efficiently leading the reduced waiting times when reading or writing data. With removing the need for a mechanical arm, there are less parts that are able to malfunction, there are no moving parts so there is no sound or vibration emitted from the hard drive when in use. The downside to solid state drives is the cost. Typically, for a 1TB hard drive as compared above, you would be looking at £180+ which is a dramatic increase in cost from the traditional HDD.


The answer to this question is not clear cut as both hard drives have pro's & con's. Solid state drives are much better performance wise in terms of operating system boot up time, no noise or vibration as well as file read/write speed with speeds generally being over 200MB/s whereas HDD's are in the range of 50-120MB/s. HDD's come into their own in terms of storage size versus cost. As mentioned above, a 1TB HDD is considerably less costly than a 1TB SSD and this is the same scenario as you increase the capacity of storage required. With the movement towards more cloud based storage, a large hard drive is no longer as essential as less data is stored locally and more in the cloud, it is more so just the operating system and a handful of files that are stored. However, should you not have a cloud based storage system such as Onedrive through Office 365, then a hybrid solution may be the best option. A traditional HDD for general files, whether these be work documents, photos or videos. And then a SSD for your operating system, allowing it to boot up at a much quicker pace.

If you have any queries, regarding hard drives or PC's/Laptops in general, get in touch today to discuss! Mike Philpott - 01684 882774 / mike.philpott@quintech.co.uk

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