If the RAM is the short-term memory of the computer, then the hard drive is the long term memory. This where you put things like the Operating System software, your movies, music, video games. Everything. It used to be that the hard drives would have to be swapped out because they could only hold a couple KB’s of data. Yea you read that right, kilobytes. Not even MB’s. Back in the “glory” days.
Thankfully technology has advanced to the point where we are talking about Gigabytes and Terabytes. Hard drives are pretty easy to explain. The higher the number the better the hard drive. One of the things to remember is that the maker of the hard drive matters. You do not want a hard drive to fail. Many people have horror stories of losing all their work or games when a hard drive fails.
It used to be that the hard drives would have to be swapped out because they could only hold a couple KB’s of data. Yea you read that right, kilobytes. Not even MB’s. Back in the “glory” days. Thankfully technology has advanced to the point where we are talking about Gigabytes and Terabytes. Hard drives are pretty easy to explain. The higher the number the better the hard drive. One of the things to remember is that the maker of the hard drive matters. You do not want a hard drive to fail. Many people have horror stories of losing all their work or games when a hard drive fails.
What is the difference between HDD and SSD?
A hard drive has spinning parts that write and unwrite onto the drive so that you can get your information and off the drive. So a standard hard drive has spinning parts within it. It is basically a disk with a magnetic coating that stores the information. Then an arm is used to read and write the data on the drive. So that metal disc is constantly spinning. One way to make a hard drive faster was to speed up how fast that disc spun, it would allow the arm to access all the information faster. But now we have SSD
SSD (Solid State Drives) are much like what the name suggests. They are solids, they have no moving parts. They accomplish the same thing as HDD but with chemicals and flash memory chips. These are faster, safer and tend to last longer (due to no moving parts).
So why would anyone get HDD instead of SSD? The difference between the 2 is price and size. Since HDD has been around for longer it is a more mastered technology meaning it is cheaper and can store larger amounts of data. A 1 TB 2.5 inch HDD costs about $50 whereas the same SSD costs about 4x as much, about $200. In the near future, you can expect SSD prices to drop as their storage size increases.
Let’s go over the advantages and disadvantages of an HDD and SSD.
We already went over this. HDD’s are much cheaper and more accessible while SSD’s are more expensive and more likely to be out of stock.
Most HDD’s now are at a minimum of 500 GB but most commonly 1 TB or more. You can even get 8 TB hard drives. Which is a ridiculous amount of storage? Those cost around
You can get a 4 TB for about $200 whereas a 1 TB SSD costs about $400 right now. So obviously there is a huge price gap.
So why spend all that extra money?
How quickly you can access your data plays a large part in how fast your computer actually is. Yea you can have a fast CPU and a killer GPU but if you can’t boot up quickly then everything feels a little sluggish.
An SSD is much faster than an HDD because of the way it is built. There are no moving parts which mean it boots faster, runs apps faster, transfers files faster. Does just about everything faster.
Since there are no moving parts in an SSD it will last much longer. But more importantly, it is less likely to suffer a catastrophic failure. This is especially important in laptops as they tend to get jostled more often than a desktop PC would. Since a hard drive consists of spinning parts it can have those parts damaged when you move it. Say you drop your laptop, you could have your spinning hard drive arm dislodged which could permanently destroy your hard drive as well as cause you lose information.
Because of the spinning parts, there is no way that a hard drive can be completely silent. But since an SSD is not a mechanical device, but rather a chemical one, it emits virtually no noise. This isn’t a big deal considering that the other parts in your system are more likely to emit more noise. But if you are looking for a stealthy machine then an SSD is the card to get.
we are in the midst of a change. As SSD’s continue to obey Moore’s law they will only get better and cheaper.
For those that don’t know Moore’s law, it states that technology (specifically chip tech) will double every year. And SSD’s will continue to go up in storage capacity while dramatically dropping in price. At the end of the day, most people are going for a hybrid. Which is what I would suggest. It is what I currently have on my computer as well.
You can get a hybrid by either purchasing one. Or by setting it up yourself. I set mine up by myself as it is cheaper. In order to get a hybrid system you have to buy SSD and then HDD. In my machine, I have the 128 Samsung SSD and a 2 TB HDD. I set up my Operating System on my SSD and I have Overwatch and some of my favorite games on that SSD. All of my movies, music, documents and other games are on my HDD. My HDD isn’t all the full actually, considering how much room there actually is. I also backed my entire system onto the HDD. Instead of buying an internal hard drive I opted for an external drive so that I could easily work on my laptop and transfer files. It works just as well as an internal drive but costs a bit more money.
The convenience is well worth the extra price.