Advantages of SSD over HDD

Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

SSDThe standard hard drive (HDD) has been the predominant storage device for computers, both desktops and laptops, for a long time. The main draw is the storage size and low cost. Computer manufacturers can include large hard drives at a small cost, so they've continued to use HDDs in their computers.

The solid state drive (SSD) is available and can replace an HDD relatively easily. As you'll find by reading the below pros and cons, the SSD is a clear winner, but because of the price, it still doesn't make sense to use SSDs for all uses. For most computer users, we suggest using SSD as the primary drive for your operating system and most important programs. We then recommend using one or more HDD inside the same computer, or an external HDD, to store documents, pictures and music, which don't need the fast access times of SSD.

Access time An SSD has access speeds of 35 to 100 micro-seconds, which is nearly 100 times faster. This faster access speed means programs can run more quickly, which is very significant, especially for programs that access large amounts of data often like your operating system. A typical HDD takes about 5,000 to 10,000 micro-seconds to access data.
Price The price of a solid state drive is higher than an HDD, which is why most computers with an SSD only have a few hundred gigabytes of storage. Desktop computers with an SSD may also have one or more HDDs for additional storage. HDD is considerably cheaper than SSD, especially for drives over 500 GB.
Reliability The SSD drive has no moving parts. It uses flash memory to store data, which provides better performance and reliability over an HDD. The HDD has moving parts and magnetic platters, meaning the more use they get, the faster they wear down and fail.
Capacity Although there are large SSDs, realistically for most people's budgets, anything over 512 GB SSD is outside their price range. Several terabyte hard disk drives are available for very reasonable prices.
Power The SSD uses less power than a standard HDD, which means a lower energy bill over time and for laptops an increase of battery life. With all the parts and requirements to spin the platters, the HDD uses more power than an SSD.
Noise With no moving parts, SSD generates little to no noise. With the spinning platters and moving read/write heads, an HDD can sometimes be one of the loudest components in your computer.
Size SSD is available in 2.5", 1.8", and 1.0", increasing the available space available in a computer, especially a desktop or server. HDDs are usually 3.5" and 2.5" in size for desktop and laptops respectively, with no options for anything smaller.
Heat Because there are no moving parts and due to the nature of flash memory, the SSD generates less heat, helping to increase its lifespan and reliability. With moving parts comes added heat, which is why the HDD generates more heat. Heat can slowly damage electronics over time, so the higher the heat, the greater the potential of damage being done.
Magnetism SSD is not affected by magnetism. Because a hard drive relies off magnetism to write information to the platter, information could be erased from an HDD using strong magnets.

Additional information

  • See our HDD and SSD definitions for further information and related pages.