Last storage device standing: SSD vs. HDD

ByGB Blog Official 2017-01-17 3643

With the rapid development and uptake of SSD technology in recent years, customers are increasingly gravitating toward SSD as their preferred storage medium of choice. The main reason: the blazing fast speed compared to traditional HDD options.

What exactly are HDD and SSD?

HDD (hard disk drive) is a data storage device that uses magnetic storage to record and retrieve digitally stored information using one or more rigid rapidly rotating disks (platters) coated with magnetic material.

HDD and SSD data storage

SSD (solid state drive) is a more recent storage option that utilizes integrated circuit assemblies as memory to store data persistently. Unlike HDD hardware, there are no moving parts inside.

Characteristics HDD SSD
Read Speed (SATA III) About 100MB/s Max. 500MB/s
Write Speed 50 - 70MB/s Max. 500MB/s
Compatible Temperature 5 - 55 centigrade degree 0 - 70 centigrade degree
Power Consumption Average 5 - 10W Average 3W
Capacity 500GB - 4TB 1GB - 2TB
Vibration and Noise Relatively High Low to Zero
Data Security Low High
Shock-resist and Anti-drop Ability Low High
Price Low High
Lifespan Long Short
Data Recovery Easy Difficult

If we get start to delve deeper, we can find that SSD possesses many advantages over the traditional HDD. Let’s take a closer look at the fine details.

Advantages of SSD

1. Overwhelming performance edge

The superior performance of SSD can be shown in several aspects. Firstly, the fast access speed and super-fast writing speeds are due to DRAM. To quantify this, the transfer speed is up to 500MB/s with a read speed up to 400-600MB/s and write speeds up to 400-500MB/s. Different SSD brands can still yield some major differences in speed performance. Generally, it takes only a few seconds to transfer a single 1GB file. SSD is therefore a great choice for users who usually handle large files. But with traditional IDE hard disks, the read speeds will be unable to exceed 200MB/s, with write speeds faring even worse at 100MB/s.

overwhelming performance of SSD

For consistently fast speed, my personal recommendation is the KingDian S280-120GB Solid State Drive 2.5 inch.

The sequential data read and write performance are up to 559.7MB/s and 380.5MB/s respectively. It’s fully compliant with SATA revision 3.1, and compatible with the SATA 1.5 / 3.0 interface. It support the SATA-8 command set and PIO, DMA, UDMA (up to 6, host-dependent) – as well as asynchronous signal recovery technology. In short, it’s an excellent SSD choice for almost every user.

read and write performance of SSD

2. Fast boot times

SSDs are synonymous with fast random read and extremely low read delays. We performed our own in-house testing with two laptops with the same configuration but equipped with either an SSD or an HDD. The SSD takes just 18 seconds from power-on to the Windows desktop appearing, this compares with the HDD that required 31 seconds.

What’s more, SSD has relatively stable read times; address times are not affected by the data storage location so fragmentation has no impact. In fact, unlike HDD devices, an SSD does not need to be defragmented.

SSD fast boot time

3. Lower power consumption

The maximum power draw for an HDD is generally is 5-10W, which is up to 3X as much as an SSD that requires just 3W.

4. Greater temperature tolerance

Most HDD are designed to operate between 5-55°C (4-131°F) while most SSD can work within a broader temperature range of 0-70°C (32-158°F), and some top industrial SSD can even work from -40° to -85°C (-40 to -121°F). On the other hand, the operation temperature of SSD is lower than HDD which is about 40-50°C (104 to 122°F).

5. Noiseless and vibration-free

With only a circuit board inside and no mechanical motor or fan, the working noise of an SSD is effectively 0dB. This compares to the spinning platters found in an HDD, which cause noise, heat and vibration. Depending on the acoustic design of your computer case, the noise can become noticeable and even annoying.

noiseless and vibration-free

(Original Samsung 750 EVO 250GB Solid State Drive)

6. Lower risk of physical damage

A standard HDD is executes read/write using a disk reading head. This is more likely to cause data loss due to the increased sensitivity of vibration and shock during high-speed rotation. Similarly, the HDD is more prone to damage during transport. However, without any platters or moving parts, an SSD is a safer repository for data.

Due to susceptibility to magnetic damage, HDD data is easier to corrupt but has relatively no effect on an SSD device.

7. High cost-efficiency

SSD drives have benefit immensely from technology developments, and started as being expensive, niche products. However, by entering the mainstream, and due to economies of scale, the price of SSD devices has steadily decreased. With increasing NAND flash chip density increasing, the storage capacities have similar progressed upward. The expectation is that SSD will eventually replace traditional HDD devices altogether, ensuring that SSD devices become effectively future-proof.

high cost-efficiency of SSD

(Netac N530S 240GB Solid State Drive)

8. Shock-resistance and drop resistance

Traditional HDD are based on internal platters with the data stored on disk sectors. This compares with SSD solid state drives that use NAND flash, removing the need for any mechanical parts. So even high speed motion and tilting will not impede normal use; similarly collisions and shock have minimal effect. This allows broader applications for SSD devices: including on ships and aircraft, robots, outdoor use, military defense, etc.

9. Volume and weight

With equivalent capacities, the SSD is smaller and lighter to carry than the HDD. Each SSD unit is also simple, compact and portable.

Current Disadvantages of SSD

1. Price of larger capacities is very high

The cost per MB for any SSD is always higher than that for a traditional HDD, this prohibitive cost means that only smaller storage capacities, e.g. 120GB, 240GB, etc, become the most common sizes. Generally speaking, a nice balance is a 240GB SSD: KingDian S280-240GB Solid State Drive.

2. Relatively short lifespan

While NAND memory is robust, it is still affected by longer term durability, specifically in terms of the limited number of times that write events occur. When the magnetic materials of an HDD lose their efficacy, the internal management will mark ineffective regions and avoid the files being written to these areas.

3. Data recovery is difficult

When data corruption happens on SSD, data recovery is comparatively difficult to achieve. If the NAND memory is damaged, then it becomes almost impossible to recover the files by current data recovery technology. On the contrary, the current technology can ensures part data recovery in HDD.

Conclusion and Suggestion

For now, the HDD is still the dominant storage device in the mainstream market, however the SSD clearly enjoys many more advantages and is geared toward broader market segments. So, will HDD be totally replaced by SSD? For now, I will say yes.

I will offer you a simple suggestion: If your budget isn't an issue, then the SSD is your best choice. For most users, the combination of SSD and HDD is better, you can install your OS on your SSD which will make your PC run much faster while leaving the HDD for main file storage.