In the middle of the last century, the world saw the first device - IBM 350 with a capacity of 3.5 MB and weighing 1.5 kg. At that time, one such gadget could replace 63,000 punched cards, and users gained access to the data in a split second. Modern hard disk drives - HDDs, hard drives, HDDs - are much smaller in size and their capacity has increased a million times. But the physics have not changed: they still have the same set of disk plates with a ferromagnetic layer and an electromechanical drive with a block of reading heads. The solid state drive invaded the mass consumer market in 2009. It has a fundamentally new organization, and it looks like a set of flash memory chips under the control of a built-in controller. NAND flash memory, due to its characteristics, has already supplanted other types of media. Floppy disks, CDs, disk drives remained in the past. So which device and for which tasks is better to choose? Let's understand together.
Which is faster: HDD or SSD
The hard drive, when running, resembles a gramophone. Its plates spin at 5400 (or 7200) revolutions per minute, and the head that reads the data floats above the surface.
SSD - actually, a three-dimensional flash drive with a huge speed of file read / write and random access.
If the system loads on the hard disk for 2-3 minutes, then on the SSD - less than 30 seconds. The system, programs and games load faster from flash memory.
The secret of the speed of the drive in the principle of its device and operation. For example, the hard drive physically moves the heads during loading and spends some time searching for the right sectors.
And SSD-memory instantly reads information from a certain block, where it is located.
Advantages and disadvantages of HDD
Hard drives appeared much earlier than solid drives, but still do not surrender. They have many advantages. Here are just the main ones:
- Value for money: HDD is much cheaper than SSD of similar volume.
- Recovering lost data on the hard drive is easier than on the SSD.
- Due to the technical features of HDDs last almost twice as long at heavier loads.
- The service life does not depend on how many times the disk reads and overwrites the files.
- In the event of a sudden power outage, the probability of data loss is very small compared to solid state drives.
Unfortunately, there are also disadvantages:
- The power consumption compared to solid state drives in the HDD is higher. This means that when working with a laptop from the battery, the autonomy of the latter will be lower. HDDs also heat up more.
- The presence of mechanical parts leads to extraneous noise.
- Hard drives are slower than SSDs. This is noticeable both when reading and writing information, and when running resource-intensive software system and the operating system itself.
- The sensitivity of the HDD to external influences is extremely high. Vibrations, falls, or shocks can cause malfunctions. Do not forget about the susceptibility of hard drives to magnetic fields, which can also damage the drive.
- Dimensions and weight: in terms of weight and compactness, the hard drive loses to the SSD. This is important when installing in a laptop as well as for portable media.
Advantages and disadvantages of SSD
As with hard drives, solid state drives also have pros and cons. The positive features include:
- Lack of mechanics - adds SSD endurance. Deliberate crash testing is not recommended, but in most cases, falling from the table and other similar "cataclysms" will not affect the operation of the SSD. Whereas at the slightest shock the HDD often starts to work unstable.
- The absence of mechanical parts has a positive effect on the volume. When the solid state media is running - there is no noise, what can you say about the HDD.
- Emit little heat. SSDs do not heat up like hard drives, even under heavy loads. When installed in a PC, there is no need for additional cooling.
- High speed - compared to HDD, SSD is 2-3 times faster. The sensitivity of programs is also increasing. Even "heavy", resource-intensive software begins to respond to commands almost instantly. Files are written and read faster, which is also a plus.
- If the SSD is in a magnetized area, nothing will happen to it, unlike the HDD.
Of course, solid-state media are not without drawbacks:
- The service life is shorter than that of hard disks: the SSD has a limited rewritable life. However, if you use them to install the OS and the main software, the owner is unlikely to notice the difference.
- It is possible to lose most, and sometimes all, data due to unscheduled power outages.
- In terms of value for money, the HDD wins, but this can not be attributed to significant disadvantages, especially when you consider all the benefits. In addition, if you consider the SSD as a disk for the system, and the hard drive - as the main, then chase after terabytes is not necessary.
What is the fundamental difference between an SSD drive and a regular HDD
The main advantage of SSDs is the static nature of their elements. Due to this, they are not so afraid of shocks, falls and vibrations.
A laptop or external SSD can be safely transported without fear of losing information.
In contrast, hard disk drives (HDDs) are easily broken by falls or shocks, and then have to restore the data recorded on them.
But in data recovery wins HDD, all its files remain on the magnetized plates. Information from flash memory, for example, in the event of a voltage drop, is irretrievably lost.
Other differences between solid carrier and HDD
SSDs have a usage limit - the number of overwrite cycles. If you regularly handle large amounts of files (copying and deleting), their resource may run out prematurely.
Therefore, you should wisely use an SSD as storage for video files, music tracks and memorable photos. It is better to place them on classic hard drives.
Do not forget about backups. This is still the best way to preserve valuable data.
For these purposes, both cloud storage and your own network drive NAS are suitable. In this case, you do not need to worry about saving the information and, in the event of an unforeseen failure, will simply restore the saved copy from the backup.
It is also worth noting other possible versions of SSD drives and the lack of binding exclusively to the SATA bus.
SSDs in the M.2 form factor are becoming increasingly popular in compact laptops and desktops. They can be connected both by the usual SATA, and by means of the PCI-E NVMe protocol.
Among the advantages of such a solution should be clearly identified:
- small dimensions, no need to use additional cables for connection;
- when connected via PCI-E line, the speed of the drive is not limited by the bandwidth of the SATA protocol. Such SSDs develop speeds up to 3200 Mbps per read and this is not the limit.
SSDs - a non-mass consumer product in terms of storing large amounts of data. For the price of a 256 GB solid state device, you can now buy an HDD drive for 1000 GB of space.
And the capacity of 10 TB is still an unattainable bar for consumer SSDs.
What is a hybrid HDD + SSD
The hybrid version is used if the laptop has only one slot for the drive.
SSHD is also suitable for users who need to run system files, working documents, and two or three frequently used programs quickly. But it is also important and a large amount of data storage.
Visually, hybrid media are similar to conventional hard drives. They use 2.5 and 3.5 "-form factor, connected via SATA port.
Inside the SSHD are plates that rotate and are controlled by a special controller, and NAND memory.
The firmware (controller firmware) itself determines which information to place on flash memory and which on slower magnetic media.
Over time, those files that are involved more often are memorized and automatically moved to flash.
The versatility of SSHD has some limitations:
- during the first starts, the speed of the hybrid will not be very different from the speed of the magnetic HDD;
- the user will not be able to decide for themselves what should be in the flash memory.
Therefore, those who need quick access to many programs, we recommend buying full-fledged media.
It would also be a good idea to buy a small SSD (at least 120 GB) for the system and programs and a regular HDD for data that is not so sensitive to read/write speeds. Given that the prices of solid state drives are declining, this option will not be more expensive than buying an SSHD hard drive.
The SSD is better than the HDD
The undeniable advantages of an SSD drive:
- access to files at high speed;
- exceptional performance when working with small files;
- system sensitivity;
- reliability (without abusing the number of rewrite cycles);
- resistance to damage;
- silent operation;
- small size and weight;
- economic energy supply;
- immunity to electromagnetic fields.
What to choose: HDD or SSD
Hard disks are chosen to store archives of photo and video files. For surfing on social networks and communication, a small SSD of at least 120/250 GB is enough.
But what if the computer can no longer cope with video editing and photo processing, annoying the constant noise of the hard drive or want to try new technologies in action?
Solid state drives increase their capacity every year, and their prices are gradually falling. Now they can be found even in budget PCs.
The average service life of solid state drives is more than 7 years. Of course, it all depends on the usage scenario and the expected loads. So far, SSDs have not completely supplanted the usual storage devices from gaming computers, but the situation is evolving towards a similar scenario.
The 120 GB device already fully provides high-speed system operation with a standard set of programs. The capacity of 256 GB is easily enough to install heavy-duty programs such as graphics packages or programs for working with video.
A 480GB or 1TB drive with a large SLC cache will already be appreciated by 4K video editors or users who need a decent amount of fast memory.
Experts say that soon the most popular will be SSDs with a capacity of terabytes. And given the development of technology, this statement can hardly be considered fantastic.