Ask & Share

Post New Topic

Comparing Solid State Drives (SSDs) With Hard Disk Drives (HDDs)

2 1
Comparing Solid State Drives (SSDs) With Hard Disk Drives (HDDs)

Erick R Williams (2012)

A lot of folks post deals for Solid State Drives on but may not know how they differ from conventional, mechanical drives (HDDs).  Cconventional drives have little platters that spin pretty fast (typical speeds are 5400 and 7200 rpm) and a little arm with a read/write head travels across the platter to find and read data or to write data.  Lots of mechanical parts and lots that could go wrong.  They also consume a fair of amount of power due to the mechanical parts and the requirements to move or spin them.

A Conventional Hard Disk Drive

Solid State Drives however, have no moving parts.  Instead of spinning platters,  SSDs use flash memory (NAND-flash) to store data.  Speed, reliability, and mortality are strong points of the SSD because it has no moving parts. SSDs are about twice as fast as mechanical drives (YMMV), do need to be defragmented, are unaffected by magnets, and are more likely to survive a fall or hard bump than a mechanical drive. In theory, SSDs should have a lifespan at least 50% longer than HDDs.  Finally, SSDs produce less heat & noise than HDDs. In practice we need several years of lots of SSDs out there to see how some of these specs really pan out.

A Solid State Disk Drive

SSDs are not yet available in very large storage capacities.  You can buy 256GB SSDs at a price per GB that is not outrageous but you are not going to find 2TB SSDs yet (if you do they will cost as much as your car).  SSDs up to 128GB are now available for a dollar a GB or so.  I've read some 1TB SSDs are supposedly ready to come to the market but with prices starting at $800. SSDs will continue to cost more than conventional drives until manufacturing scales up to very large numbers.   Over time SSDs will be available in larger sizes and at prices that are more affordable.

Some netbooks and notebooks are starting to ship with SSDs as their standard drive.  The drives come in the same 2.5" and 3.5" form factor as conventional drives and use the same drive interface so they are fairly easy to substitute for a mechanical drive.

Finally, SSDs consume less power than conventional hard drives which would extend the battery life of most netbooks and notebooks.

Note: Sources for this Page article included PC Magazine, WikiPedia,  Canon, eHow, and several tech blogs as well.  I and my son have some practical experience with SSD drives and that was what prompted me to write the article. -Erick

Eurocoms's Notebooks Are Now Available With SSDs

erick99 posted Mar 01, 2012

Nice article! My son just built his own computer and is using both kind of drives. I can see where a solid state drive would be more trustworthy, but my daughter had a dell laptop with a SSD and it took a crap after less than a year, hopefully they have improved the quality of the SSD's since that happened about 2 years ago.

krmills1 (rep: 14.4k) posted Mar 03, 2012


Your daughter's experience is why we really have to have these drives out in the real world for five years or more to start to gather good stats on their longevity. I'm glad you liked the article :)

erick99 (rep: 432k) posted Mar 03, 2012