HDD vs SSD: differences and advantages of both types of hard drives

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Judit Llordés
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What is the difference between SSD and HDD? HDD or SSD hard drive, the big question when buying a storage drive. We tell you what the differences and benefits of each are and which one you should buy according to your needs. When choosing a computer or assembling a computer from scratch, one of the big questions that is presented to the user is to choose the storage system that one needs, HDD o SSD?

What is the difference between SSD and HDD?

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Although a few years ago there were not many alternatives for memory drives, nowadays we have many combinations and storage options: from a laptop with a solid state drive ( SSD ) to a desktop computer with a standard hard drive ( HDD ), also going through a combination of both: an SSD used as the primary disk where the operating system runs, and an HDD for everything else.

For this reason, if you are planning to buy a new computer or build your computer from scratch, it is no surprise that you are wondering how to choose the type of storage HDD or SSD or the one that best suits your needs. We will resolve these doubts by explaining the differences between the two and will guide you to help you choose.

What is a hard drive and solid state drive?

L'hard disc o HDD (Hard Drive Disk) is the hardware used to persistently store (do not cease to exist once the drive is turned off), the data of a computer. A hard drive is a metal plate that uses a magnetic recording system to store all kinds of files, from a Word document to a multi-million dollar project on new virtual reality glasses.

By writing to several rotating discs the information is recorded and the thinner the discs, the better the recording will be. For this reason, disks of the same size can have different storage capacities. These units have evolved since their creation in 1960, normally doubling their capacity every year and a half.

Drives that typically use HDDs or hard drives are desktop or desktop computers, laptops, and business servers.

A solid state drive or SSD it works exactly like a HDD with one difference, the files are stored on a chip with flash memory interconnected with each other. These chips can be included in the terminal motherboard (such as in some small laptops), in a PCIe card, or in a box similar to a permanent hard drive. One of the features of these chips is that they are capable of retaining data even when there is no power flowing through the system.

Laptops, tablets and smartphones are the most used devices, by default, SSD. We must not forget that some devices such as digital cameras use this type of memory to offer a shorter response time and to store more images in external storage systems such as SD cards.

Advantages and disadvantages of HDD and SSD hard drives

Before analyzing what are the differences between these filing systems we must establish a basis: theHDD andSDDs have the same function, they store your files. There are several features and uses for which it will be more beneficial to use one or the other, this is what we are about to explain right now:


One of the key factors in choosing which storage system to choose is the budget we have, after all, money is what will limit our options.

  • HDD: For efficiency and productivity during hard drives, they are much cheaper for what they can offer.
  • SSD: due to their “early” creation and the components that make them up, they are usually much more expensive dell’HDD.

To put it in a more practical way, a 1 TB hard drive costs less than 50 euros and an SSD of the same capacity costs more than 150 euros.


The second factor that determines which system to choose is the amount of data storage capacity that our storage devices can cover. Archives are getting bigger nowadays, at the same time files need to be accessed more quickly and efficiently. Introduced the problem… What are the options?

  • HDD: today we can find hard drives up to 10 TB, a real barbarism for a personal computer, even today.
  • SSD: for now, we can find solid state drives up to 4TB.

Once again we will have to consider the price of each unit.

Speed ​​and performance

For everyday use, the speed with which we can access the files on our computers, move them, modify them or delete them is very important, both from the point of view of a home user and a professional user. Therefore, it is another variable to consider.

There isn't much to explain here: SSD or solid state drives are superior in speed and performance to hard drives. A computer with an SSD will run faster, with a reboot in just five seconds.

A computer that has the operating system installed on a HDD can take much longer. With an SSD, you will have better performance, so if you want to have a fast computer you will choose an SSD without much doubt.


Each storage system is built differently and will be more prone to breakage or damage.

  • HDD: A hard drive is built from several moving parts that are more susceptible to being damaged with any kind of movement, so you need to be very careful when carrying it. In addition, the moving parts wear out. 
  • SSD: it has no moving parts, so it is less likely to be damaged by a fall. It must be emphasized that each cell can be written and erased a limited number of times, but there are several tools to monitor and optimize the process in order to extend the useful life of the device.

A hard drive is much more likely to malfunction than an SSD under the same conditions.


Fragmentation is the process by which (the word itself says it) files are scattered across the storage drive. Only hard drives suffer from this feature

  • HDD: Thanks to its rotating recording surfaces, hard disk surfaces work best with larger files recorded on solid blocks. When these blocks are filled with use, the files tend to be divided by free spaces dell’HDD, which reduces the speed of reading and writing data. While it is true that reading and writing of files have improved and thus the effect has been minimized, hard drives are still prone to fragmentation.
  • SSD: Due to its construction, solid state drives do not have this problem, as there is no physical location of the files in the drive nor a physical read head. For this reason, SSDs are much faster than HDD.

Unit size

Another factor to consider when choosing a storage system is the size of the drive. There are some obvious physical limits depending on the terminal we are about to choose or mount.

  • HDD: Hard drives depend on turntables and therefore limit the size of the drive. On the one hand, we have the size of oriented desktops and notebooks. 1.8 "2.5" and 3.5 "On the other hand, we have those that were used for smaller units like smartphones and the like, but they are not common: 1" and 0.85 ". Major hard drive manufacturers have suspended development of new products for less than 1,8 ”due to the drop in the price of SSD memory.
  • SSD: They have no physical limitation, so they will continue to develop smaller units over time. There are SSDs of different sizes that fit the terminal on which they will be mounted.


Although a priori it may seem that noise is not important when using a computer, it is a factor that must be taken into account and that can make the difference between choosing one storage system or another. A music producer who does not have the means to record in a room outside the computer needs a terminal that is as quiet as possible.

  • HDD: Even the quietest hard drive makes some kind of noise when the computer is running, there are many parts on the drive that can make noise. This type of noise can be aggravated if the system has suffered some kind of damage, has been installed incorrectly, or part of the drive is worn out. Faster hard drives will make more noise.
  • SSD: L'SSD, without mechanical parts, it does not produce any type of noise.

Conclusion on what is the difference between SSD and HDD?

At this point, you should already be able to know which storage system you should be using. But if you still have doubts, let's make a small summary by adapting the needs in different profiles.

Buy an HDD hard drive if ...

You will be interested in acquiring a hard drive if you are among these users:

  • Tight budget: hard drives are cheaper than SSD. For those who have to sacrifice space or speed due to lack of money, hard drives are the best option.
  • Average User: A user who uses the computer for the most basic tasks, such as office automation, surfing the internet, listening to music stored locally on the computer, etc. It will be convenient to have a HDD as it is possible to allocate that money to acquire other benefits.
  • Media Download Server: Hard drives have a much higher capacity than SSDs and is the obvious choice.

Buy a solid state drive or SDD if ...

You will be interested in acquiring a solid state drive if you are among these groups:

  • Audio Engineers and Music Producers: As we said earlier, the less noise disturbs the rooms, the better. Therefore, using an SSD is the appropriate option.
  • Traveler: If you are a person who uses laptops or is inclined to move your terminal, you will need an SSD. We don't want the files to be lost on the first bump.
  • You need a fast computer - SSDs have higher performance and speeds than hard drives, so we recommend one of these.

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Further Reading:

  • How to clone hard drive to SSD
  • The best external hard drives
  • How to Backup Your PC to External Hard Drive
  • Tips and advice for buying SSD
  • What is data corruption? How to fix a damaged hard drive

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