Recently, the market for Hard Disk Drives has been stagnating. Year by year their market share has been captured by Solid State Drives which offer much higher speeds but are also costlier per TB.
Therefore, a lot of the people who are new to computer hardware and are looking to buy or build a PC or buy a laptop or even buy a storage device for their mobile storage are usually confused between an HDD or an SSD. And even though SSDs are all rage these days, HDDs can still be useful in some circumstances based on the requirements of the user.
Some points to consider an HDD are:
1. Low Cost per TB :
When the storage requirement is huge then HDDs are the better option as they are cheaper and still very practical although they are around 10- 15 times slower.
In 2015, the CFO of Seagate Technology said
“I believe HDDs will be along around for at least 15 years to 20 years.”
According to them, even though SSDs offer higher performance, HDDs are far more economical due to their Low Cost per TB (which is still the case). Due to this HDDs remain the most popular storage technology and will continue to be so as HDDs adopt new technologies to remain relevant in this competitive market.
2. To store Data files (like videos, music, pictures) :
HDDs have higher access times that an SSD, so when programs are stored on it then opening them take longer and this degrades and slows the experience of the user.
Therefore HDDs are preferred to store your data files like videos, music, pictures etc. and SSDs are preferred to store Operating System and your applications. The applications are loaded quickly from the SSD whereas the data files which are large in size and/or don’t need to be loaded as quickly as applications can be loaded from the HDD.
Even though SSDs offer faster load times for Games, they are not feasible for storing game files as their size is huge. AAA games are games with the highest development budgets and level of promotion, nowadays they have an average size of around 30GB. This means that on a 120GB SSD you can only store 3 to 4 games, therefore it is more suitable to store use an HDD for this as a much more economical 1TB Harddisk can store more than 20 games.
On the matter of Frame rates in games, benchmarks show that HDDs and SSDs offer identical FPS(Frames Per Second) considering the system has adequate RAM. So while gaming they both provide the same experience to the user.
4. Constant power available :
A laptop has a battery so to elongate its battery life an SSD is preferred as they consume about 3 times less energy than an HDD. But many systems like a Personal Computer are not moved around so they always have access to electricity and don’t necessarily need to invest in SSDs to save power consumption of the system.
5. System boot time is irrelevant :
HDDs have 3 to 4 times slower boot up time as compared to an SSD but many people don’t shut down their computer frequently so to them the improvement an SSD causes to boot time is not worth the high price. So in these kinds of systems HDDs are the smarter option as they are considerably economical.
6. Temperature and Sound of System :
If the sound and heat produced by a storage system are not required to be low as in some server rooms, then HDDs are a valid and economical option.
Best of both worlds
In most real-world scenarios, it is not always necessary to choose an HDD or an SSD. We can use both of them on the same computer i.e. a Dual Drive configuration.
We can have an SSD for the Operating System and frequently used Software Applications which is often preferred for faster access, and a decent performance HDD to store large files such as video, raw image, audio or game files. This hybrid approach allows us to take advantage of features of both an SSD and an HDD which are the following-
- OS boot-up time and application load-up time are very close to a system that uses just an SSD.
- Capability to store larger files such as video, raw image, audio or game files.
What if I can’t use both?
Sometimes there is space for only one storage drive in the system(generally laptops), even in this case we can use an SSHD(Solid State Hybrid Drive) to take advantage of both the technologies, it contains components of SSD and HDD. An SSHD calculates what data is being used often from the hard disk portion and moves it to the faster solid state portion. This process is adaptive so over time the performance becomes close to an SDD with the benefit of higher storage capacity.
Hope you now understand the relevance of HDDs and feel more informed to make a decision for your storage requirement.
To learn more about SSDs, its features and types go to-