Difference Between SSD and HDD

So you’re building your own PC, and you’re wondering whether to use the traditional hard drive or this new and improved solution: a solid-state drive (SSD). There’s some major differences between the two types of drives, but what you’re probably immediately noticing in your search for hardware parts is the price difference. Large mechanical drives (HDDs) are significantly less expensive than large SSDs, and there’s a pretty big reason for that.

ProductBrandNamePrice
SeagateSeagate BarraCuda Internal Hard Drive 2TB SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch (ST2000DM006)Check Price on Amazon
Samsung ElectronicsSamsung 860 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E1T0B/AM)Check Price on Amazon

* If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.


If you’re not sure which one you’re going to pick up yet, or even what the differences between the two drives are — they are all storage devices, after all — be sure to follow along below. We’ve constructed a guide to show you all of the differences that you need to know about. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

HDD

First up, we’re looking at the traditional hard drive. The traditional hard drive, or the mechanical hard drive (referred to as an HDD) is the go-to drive that has been in use for years. It’s a pretty slow solution, but the HDD is capable of holding ridiculous amounts of storage at little cost to the consumer.

If you were to pick up a faster solution with similar storage sizes — we’ll use a terabyte as a baseline — you’d be looking at a significantly increased price point. For example, a fast 2.5-inch Samsung SSD with 1TB of storage space will cost you around $150, or more, all depending on the specs inside of it. A 1TB HDD from Seagate, on the other hand, will cost you significantly less at just $50.

The price difference gets even worse as you start looking at larger and larger storage sizes. For example, a 2TB SSD doubles right up to $300, whereas a 2TB still sits at around $55. The price disparity gets even more significant the higher you go.

That said, HDDs are slow. They’re great for storing a significant amount of storage on the cheap, but they’ll never be as quick as an SSD.

Buy it now: Amazon

SSDs

Traditional hard drives use a mechanical system for accessing storage, whereas an SSD is all flash storage. There are a lot of moving parts in your traditional HDD, which makes them more susceptible to damage. As you can imagine, HDDs don’t last nearly as long as an SSD because of that.

Since SSD uses flash storage, there are no moving parts. That said, they will generally last a ridiculous amount of time — unless there’s a major problem, you shouldn’t ever need to replace an SSD because “it just went bad.” There are extreme situations where an SSD will stop working, but as a general rule, they’re capable of lasting hundreds of years under normal conditions.

That said, SSDs are also significantly quicker than your traditional mechanical hard drive. If you load up your main operating system on your SSD, it’s able to boot up to the GUI in just a couple of seconds, whereas it can take up to a whole minute on a HDD. As you can imagine, it’ll make other applications a whole lot speedier in terms of accessibility as well — load up a large game, and it should open almost instantaneously.

Buy it now: Amazon

What should you do?

So, because SSDs are so expensive, it’s generally a good idea to get both an SSD and your traditional hard drive. Get a small SSD, install it in your PC or laptop, and then move your operating system and important applications or games over to it. That’ll make your overall user experience a whole lot quicker than just using the traditional hard drive. Then, grab a traditional HDD for all of your usual storage — photos, documents, games you use occasionally, etc — stuff that you don’t mind taking longer to load.

This enables you to take advantage of the speed that SSDs bring to the table, without forking out a ridiculous amount of money to outfit your machine with a ridiculous amount of SSD space.

Verdict

As you can see, there are some pretty significant differences between the traditional hard drive and the SSD. One has moving parts, and the other is completely based on flash storage. That said, if you want speed and a great user experience, then the SSD is definitely the way to go. But, if you don’t have the cash, HDDs are a cheap way to get into a lot of storage without breaking the bank.

ProductBrandNamePrice
SeagateSeagate BarraCuda Internal Hard Drive 2TB SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch (ST2000DM006)Check Price on Amazon
Samsung ElectronicsSamsung 860 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E1T0B/AM)Check Price on Amazon

* If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.