Hard Drives vs SSDs (Space vs Speed)

Hard Drives vs SSDs is one of the very many questions I have to field. Lots of people who want to buy a laptop or a storage drive for general purpose use have had to tackle this question as well.

So since we have been looking at the storage options on offer for smartphones and computers, I feel I should throw in this post as well. The two main options for bulk storage that are generally available are Hard Drives and SSDs. So let’s look Hard Drives vs SSDs.

A hard drive is a mechanical storage that saves data. It has got moving parts; a disk that spins and a read/write head. It works by saving data to the spinning disk and then using the read/write head to read it. HDDs work using the same principle as a VHS player’s play-head. This topic has been covered in detail here.

SSDs are a type of electronic storage instead of a mechanical one. SSDs are very different from Hard Drives. They use flash memory to save data instead of a spinning disk and use memory controllers to retrieve data. For more information, see here.


Hard Drives vs SSDs

So whether you are getting a laptop or just any old storage drive for general use, let us put the pros and cons of Hard Drives vs SSDs side by side so as to help you make a more informed choice.

Price

Pound for pound, megabyte for megabyte, SSDs are far costlier than Hard drives.

Space

Even to the most uninformed person out there, one of the primary things to look out for on any drive is the available space. In terms of overall storage capacity, SSDs can hold far more data than a hard drive, but SSDs also cost a lot more. In fact, a 1TB HDD would cost around ₦ 17,000 (~$41) while a 1TB SSD would cost almost 5 times that amount if not more.

With Hard drives, you get more space for less cost.

Speed and performance

An SSD, any SSD would easily leave even the best hard drives in the dust. Regardless of storage capacity or cost. Hard drives retrieve and save data slowly and this would show in your computers performance. First off, it would take forever to boot up (around 4 mins lol), second, the system will see some sort of lag, games would perform poorly etc.

In my recent review of the MacBook Pro 16″ 2021 with an SSD storage, the system booted up in under 30 secs. Laptops with SSDs are snappy, quick and rarely suffer lag. Games and apps run like a dream on them.

Apple MacBook Pro 16 2021 unboxing and first impressions

Longevity

Although SSDs have wear leveling which helps extend their lifespan, Hard drives are better for long term archival storage. If you plan to save your pictures and videos so that your grandkids can watch them in 50 years time, Hard drives are probably the way to go.

Reliability

SSDs however are much more reliable than Hard drives.

Data speeds

No question here at all, it is SSDs all the way. No need to bore you with the numbers.


Conclusion

So in conclusion, if you need a (laptop with) large storage space on the cheap without caring about performance or speed, get a hard drive. If you are looking to create an archive for future generations, get a hard drive. It is that simple.

If, on the other hand, you care more about performance than space, then a hard drive is going to frustrate you. No, seriously. If you are a gamer or a video creator or a heavy user who requires really snappy performance and data access/transfer speeds, do not compromise or settle. Get an SSD. Just get one.

The end.


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