HDD vs SSD Performance Comparison
The truth is that they are so different that they are hard to compare side by side.
When it comes to raw speed, SSD’s are faster.
People may compare the sequential speed of an SSD to the sequential speed of a hard drive and say they’re similar, but the reality of it is unless you copy large files back and forth all day, this specification is pretty much meaningless.
It has nothing to do with the way that they will do that you will perceive the performance in the real world. SSD’s are all about little data transactions that happen all the time all over the place when you’re running something like an operating system such as Windows or IOS.
An example of little data transactions that are applicable to measurable performance:
- Receiving instant messages or notifications
- When a program such as Photoshop or Premiere launches and needs access to many files that exist all over the place
The above examples are the times when not having to physically move ahead across the disk allows an SSD to utterly destroy a hard drive in terms of performance in system responsiveness.
Any modern SSD will easily be several times faster than any hard drive and sometimes much more than that.
What is Sequential Speed?
Sequential speed is the measurement of how fast large contiguous blocks of data are read from adjacent locations on the surface of a device. In other words, it is the speed of reading and writing big files such as videos, music, and images. Often times when manufacturers quote speeds for devices such as hard drives and SSDs, they’re usually referring to the sequential speed.
What if you have lots of data to store?
It’s not like playing back video or music files or looking at your archive of pictures requires blazing fast performance. This is why hard drives are useful.
For the amount of money and storage that you get, a hard drive drives a hard bargain. Not all storage uses require high-speed performance.
Which is more affordable, an HDD or SSD?
I did a price comparison for external drives in 2020 to see how much storage you can get for less than $100.
You can get a 512GB external solid-state drive for $89.00 on Amazon.
Alternatively, you can get a 4TB external hard drive on Amazon for $94.00.
My conclusion is that external hard drives are approximately 8 times more affordable than external solid-state drives.
For mass storage of data, we are a long way from hard drives being replaced by SSD’s.
Are Hard Drives or SSD’s more reliable?
Hard drives are pretty reliable these days but as devices with moving parts, they will die eventually.
The good news is they usually give warning signs. If your hard drive is making clicking noises then it’s a good idea to replace it.
The bad news is that any kind of use will wear hard drives out eventually.
For SSDs reading from them a lot won’t really wear them out very much, especially if you keep them running cool, but if you right to them heavily, you can kill a consumer-grade model relatively quickly.
In an environment where a shock is an everyday occurrence, such as in a notebook or tablet, I would choose SSD, every time. In an environment where there is no shock or movement, then reliability is a secondary factor after performance and storage needs.
Deciding on which type is right for you
Data storage such as the hard disk drive has been around for the last half-century and is still being used in many mainstream systems. The solid-state drive was widely introduced in the last decade and has quickly transformed the performance and capabilities of modern systems.
A hard drive uses small moving parts to mechanically seek out data on a spinning platter. In contrast, an SSD uses flash memory to store and access data. As a result, SSDs are able to access your files and programs almost instantly.
This translates to nearly non-existent load and boot times, better multitasking, quieter operation, and better system cooling. Since SSDs don’t have small moving parts, they’re also much harder to break and there is less risk of a drive failure.
However, this performance increase comes with a slightly higher price and isn’t yet available in capacities greater than a terabyte. If you’d rather have more storage space, choose a hard drive or if you would like to experience nearly instant access to data, choose an SSD.