Difference Between SSD and HDD


Sure, your system boasts a beasty CPU, high-frequency RAMs, best-in-class GPU, and even those fancy RGB fans, but without efficient storage, it’s all for nothing. While the CPU handles and executes programs, it’s your system’s storage device where they will be stored. From initializing your operating system to loading and running your programs, storage is the backbone of your computer. However, as technology has progressed, especially in Melbourne, storage technology too has dramatically improved. Bringing you ultimately in both performance and reliability, today’s SSDs are the epitome of speed and power – while HDD (hard disk drives) have been improving over the years and have become even more affordable. So, what’s the difference between the two? Let’s compare the two and see which one is more beneficial for you.

Understanding HDDs

HDDs have a long and interesting past, going back to the late 1950s when it was first used in mainframe computers. It was a breakthrough because magnetic storage was much faster than punch cards and electromechanical drums.  Melbourne businesses used to store such drums in basements and other storage areas. The development of the HDD led to the so-called second generation of computing, where computers became known as general-purpose machines that could be programmed for multiple functions. In other words, your computer probably won’t crash if you push the wrong button, unlike with punch cards.

The functioning of HDDs is based on the concept of the rotating disk. The disk contains a number of magnetic disks arranged like the layers of an onion, which are then read by a spinning metal head that rotates at incredibly high speeds. The hard disk drive isn’t some singular device; rather, it’s a collection of tiny moving parts working together to give you the best experience possible.


Understanding SSDs

SSDs or Solid-State Drives are far more advanced than HDDs, but their history dates back to the late 1970s.  Intel introduced the first commercial SSD, which was about the size of a postage stamp. But it was not until recently that homes and businesses in Melbourne adopted them.  Because the SSD was tiny, it was able to fit into PCMCIA slots, which is what made it useful for laptops. The development of NAND flash enabled faster and smaller SSDs. Currently, SSDs are designed to store data on Flash memory chips, which could be either NAND or NOR. The NOR flash is non-volatile in nature and comes with an internal controller. The NAND flash, on the other hand, is volatile and is thus used as a buffer for the volatile memory. It doesn’t matter whether your SSD uses NAND or NOR, as both perform almost similarly.

So what is the difference between SSD and HDD?

1. Speed

The primary difference between HDDs and SSDs is that while the former uses a rotating disk to read and write data, the latter stores information in Flash memory chips. Instead of using a mechanical head to access data, the SSD employs flash memory technology and has no moving parts. This is precisely why SSDs are much faster than HDDs. Even though the read/write speeds of both vary, SSDs are generally much faster. In fact, it’s enough for a user to not care about the speed of the mechanical disk but rather to appreciate and get excited about a machine that boots up in less than 10 seconds.  However, that doesn’t mean that HDDs are out of the picture; in fact, some of the top HDDs have incredible speeds and often greater storage capacities than SSDs.

2. Interface

Hard drives are connected to your computer by SATA or SAS interface cables and can be used in both desktop and laptop computers. These cables allow the user to exchange data with the computer at a speed of about 6 Gbps (SATA 3) and 1.5 Gbps (SAS). On the other hand, if you are looking for the fastest SSDs, your choices are limited to PCIe and SATA. PCIe is the fastest interface and offers the best performance, but its availability is limited to high-end desktops and laptops. Most modern motherboards support PCIe 3.0, which offers up to 32 GB/s of bandwidth, and some really high-end supports PCIe 4.0 lanes that can reach a maximum of 64 GB/s. So it’s clear that PCIe is the way to go if performance is your primary concern.


3. Price

Hard drives have been around for a while; they are slow and less reliable, which is why they are much cheaper than SSDs. In fact, even high-end hard drives can be purchased for as little as $50 (1TB), and the price difference between 1TB and 2TB hard drives is not huge. On the other hand, SSDs are expensive and can reach $120 for 1 TB. This high price is due to the high cost of NAND flash memory.

Some of the most reliable SSDs we’ve tested and recommend are:

  1. Samsung
  2. Western Digital


Compared to HDDs, SSDs are more expensive and more efficient in data storage, but you should consider the entire system rather than just the storage device. If your computer is bogged down by slow boot-up and application loading times, you’re better off investing in a new SSD. However, if you’re not worried about boot-up times and just want a fast, reliable drive, HDDs are still a great solution.

So if you’re looking for such upgrades or computer repairs for Melbourne, give us a call today!

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...