When durable data storage devices first came out, they were the game-changer that helped transform the personal computer (PC) into a cornerstone of the information age. The centerpiece of this revolution was the high amount of storage space made available on both solid-state drives (SSD) and hard disk drives (HDD).

However, despite how hard disk drives were once king of the hill, SSDs showed up with newer flash memory technology and required no moving parts. This key difference enabled SSDs to operate faster and more smoothly than their HDD counterparts, which boosted their popularity.

The Difference Between SSD and HDD

SSD is the acronym for solid-state drives and represents a new-generation computer storage device. It is a more recent technology, replacing the erstwhile HDD with its faster, more efficient flash-based memory. Today, SSDs are the most common storage drives found in modern computers and laptops.

Meanwhile, an HDD is a computer data storage device that uses magnetic material and moving mechanical parts to access data. HDDs were the initial technology, making them more commonly found in older personal computers and digital gadgets. While HDDs are still in use, the advent of SSD has diminished their need.

The core difference between SSDs and HDDs lies in how they access data. SSDs rely on a digital memory chip to quickly access data, while HDDs move a read/write head across mechanical spinning platters.

Consequently, SSDs offer improved reliability, performance, and a faster computing experience. Due to their blazing speeds, SSDs are also ideal for storing files and digital media that require them to be accessed quickly and frequently.

In short, SSDs are best suited for storing files that you need to access quickly and often, while HDDs are ideal for storing large personal files, applications, and boot systems that you don’t necessarily need to access frequently. Their differences lie in SSDs being faster and smaller mainly because of the absence of mechanical moving parts. Conversely, an HDD’s mechanical hard drive makes it larger and slower.

Advantages and Disadvantages of SSD

Most of the advantages of SSDs derive from its architecture, which relies on NAND flash memory technology. This architecture ultimately allows for increased storage density at cheaper costs.

NAND is designed to reduce read and write times much more effectively than HDD. Newer versions and more advanced models, such as 3D NAND, are capable of increasing storage performance and growing capacity while also boosting power efficiency.

As a result, SSDs fill the need for high-speed access to data storage, but they have several other advantages over HDDs as well.

Advantages of SSDs

  • Smaller and lightweight, offering compact options for economies of scale.
  • Faster performance, including execution and loading speeds.
  • It is noiseless as SSDs virtually have no vibration since they lack moving parts.
  • They are durable and can survive accidental drops better than HDDs.
  • Less moving parts also mean fewer technical faults, fewer disruptions, and more reliability.
  • It uses less power and lower energy consumption because of the absence of moving parts that need to be cooled.
  • Since they consume less power, SSDs have longer battery life, which is crucial for portable devices like laptops.

Disadvantages of SSDs

  • Higher costs per gigabyte compared to HDDs.
  • The speed improvement comes at a price, with limited wire cycles available because of degrading performance over time with SSD decay.

Advantages and Disadvantages of HDDs

An HDD uses a magnetic storage medium for the hard drive. Its rotating platters or disks are coated with magnetic material that spins at high speeds to store and receive data.

The HDD still remains one of the most economical technologies for memory use, offering a much cheaper storage per megabyte than SSDs.

However, its high-frequency disk motion results in many downsides. Since its arm has to seek data across the disk area continuously, it results in more significant latencies than SSD. This, in turn, worsens other vital metrics such as file transfer times.

Advantages of HDDs

  • HDD is a proven technology that is widely available because of its longevity.
  • Generally less expensive than SSD for the same amount of storage.
  • They typically have more storage space than SSDs.
  • HDDs have a considerable lifespan, and this makes them ideal candidates for the data security required for long-term backups.

Disadvantages of HDDs

  • Their mechanical parts make them more prone to breakage, failure, faulty behavior, and general data loss compared to the more reliable SSDs.
  • Using mechanical parts to find and retrieve data physically takes longer, making them slower devices.
  • The presence of mechanical moving parts needs cooling, thereby consuming more energy than SSDs.

When To Use SSD vs. HDD

They say necessity is the mother of invention. As personal computers grew in popularity, secondary storage devices became just as important as random access memory (RAM). The “killer” apps for the PC, such as spreadsheets and word processors that hogged a lot of resources, prompted users to turn to reliable secondary storage devices to store the media and files generated by these apps.

The permanent and long-term storage solutions for this problem included CDs, DVDs, and USB drives, however they are most represented by the SSD and HDD.

SSD and HDD addressed the need for external storage devices but in markedly different ways. Initially, computers used HDDs for decades. It was a compelling technology for its time but had severe limitations as PC usage grew and evolved. The mechanical component alone made it prone to break and fail, leaving users desiring a more reliable, less janky option.

Instead of using a mechanical drive, an SSD uses interconnected memory chips on more advanced electronic circuits. In addition to speed and performance advantages, this architecture even allows users to store data without any connection to a power source.

Business cases that encourage the use of SSD

The best use case of SSD is to store typically large file types that you or your system needs to access constantly or frequently with minimal lag time. These include operating system files, utilities, and even video games that need to be accessed with blistering speed.

The underlying theme here is that speed is a premium, which makes SSD ideal for those running web servers or web hosting platforms that offer users quick-response websites.

That said, SSDs can also be a bit of an overkill most of the time, even for modern users. For instance, if you use your computing device primarily for mundane activities like casual web surfing, checking email, or lightweight work, an SSD might not be necessary for you at all.

Business cases that encourage the use of HDD

Simply put, traditional situations where you require large files or vast media repositories that don’t need to be quickly or frequently accessed are ripe for HDD. It got us to this point, and for the most part it can keep us going.

Can Businesses Use Both SSD and HDD?

Both personal users and businesses will always need the non-volatile storage provided by SSD and HDD.

This quest to get the best of both worlds is fairly among avid gamers who want to maximize the benefits of their system. The goal is to optimize their operating system in conjunction with resource-intensive software suites like Microsoft Office and antivirus systems.

Fortunately, the two technologies complement each other quite well. When simultaneously deployed, the combination can exploit the large capacity of an HDD while maintaining the quickness of an SSD.

This is also why some people experiment by installing an SSD on a computer with an existing HDD—to get maximum impact from their system.

Making a hybrid system work effectively is not always so simple, however, so it’s important to know a few rules of thumb.

Choosing the right SSD and HDD device

Selecting an appropriate storage unit is paramount since there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and all SSDs/HDDs aren’t created equal. For instance, different SSD models have varying speeds and consume power in different ways. It’s important to consider the read and write speeds when shopping for an SSD.

Generally, SSDs with read and write speeds in the range of 550 MB/s are suitable for most use cases.

Conversely, when choosing an HDD, you’ll want to prioritize capacity rather than speed. With this in mind, you should look for a drive that’ll offer the largest storage capacity at an affordable price.

Keep in mind that speed shouldn’t be discounted entirely. Hence, look for HDD models with 7200 RPM, which means they spin at 7,200 revolutions per minute. Most standard HDD drives priced for lower budgets typically have speeds of 5,400 RPM, so see if you can snag one that’s a bit faster.

Be strategic with installed programs

Where and how you install your apps matters. Be sure to install your vital apps, operating system files (Windows system files), and utilities on an SSD—because that’s best for boot speed. Meanwhile, you’ll want to install large files, productivity apps, and media you access infrequently on the less expensive HDD.

This approach ensures you’ll reap the advantages of faster boot times for your operating system and access to your most important files with minimal delay.

Take advantage of dual installation

If you are using a PC, you can install the SSD and HDD on the same machine.

However, you’ll need to learn a couple of technical details to combine an SSD and HDD first. This includes connecting your SSD to the host’s motherboard’s SATA port interface. Likewise, you’ll have to connect your HDD to one of the machine’s SATA ports as well.

On the other hand, a laptop might require replacing its existing HDD with an SSD, so you’ll have to see what’s possible for your hardware.

Store data files and personal data on HDD

An SSD deprived of enough space will degrade performance due to repeated writing. Additionally, this risks damaging the data blocks that are actively in use. A good way to free up space on your SSD is by storing personal and infrequently used files on your HDD.

Enable the SSD TRIM feature

TRIM is a vital aspect of SSDs that makes them capable of working faster than HDDs. TRIM is simply an operating system command, technically known as the Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) command.

When TRIM is enabled, it allows the computer’s operating system to inform the SSD about which blocks of data it can erase because they are no longer in use. As a result of consolidating data areas, TRIM writes data faster, thereby improving SSD longevity and performance.


The concept of merging both worlds already exists, and these hybrid drives are called SSHDs. This device uses a combination of SSD and HDD technology to deliver a two-for-one experience. SSHDs are designed with built-in solid-state storage (NAND technology) while also incorporating an HDD to provide additional storage space.

SSHDs aim to provide customers with an optimal solution with a hybrid device that offers premium data storage and performance at a cost-effective price point. In practice, most are less ambitious, adapting a traditional spinning hard drive supported by a small amount of fast solid-state cache memory.

Businesses involved in film production and video editing are likely to explore the benefits of SSD and HDD storage. These companies typically need to store large volumes of video, film, and media files, including very large JPEG images.

A hybrid approach allows production companies to leverage the HDD’s enormous storage capacity at a low price—with the faster access speed of the SSD.

The gaming industry is a big market for SSHDs as well, especially those dealing in immersive, multiplayer environments that hinge on users having a faster experience. Gamers tend to nitpick on this because low latencies and slow response times can spoil the gaming experience.