SSD Vs HDD - Evaluating premises of most popular storage solutions

The demand for storage has grown in the past few decades, and this demand has led to enhancement of storage capacity, performance, and resilience. We have moved from primitive Punch Cards to new cloud-based storage solutions. Among the most used & popular storage devices are the Solid State Drives (SSD's) & Hard Disk Drives (HDD's).

The SSD drives find its use in enterprise-level storage devices, laptops, desktops etc. They provide the necessary boost in systems performance. While hard disks drives are smarter, quicker and more consistent today than ever before, SSDs have several characteristics that make them workable substitutes. But they are far from perfect to be the replacement of a traditional rotating hard drive.

The SSD drive has no moving parts. It uses flash memory to store data, which provides better performance and reliability over an HDD. The HDD has moving parts and magnetic platters, meaning the more use they get, the faster they wear down and fail.

The HDD's are standard for desktop and laptop, where we don't need to worry about running out of space. SSD's are robust & they offer performance over capacity.

Hard drives have been around since 1953, IBM engineers created it, and it was commercially available in the year 1957. The first HDD produced was" IBM 305 RAMAC computer", and its capacity was 3.75 megabytes, and now we have manufacturers churning out 14-TB HDD (helium-filled HDD).

SSD's have been around 1976 and the first SSD produced was "The Bulk Core" it came with the controller board and 256 KB storage. SSD technology like HDD technology has gone a sea change, and companies are now on the verge of creating 16 TB SSD.

Our growing demand for data storage has led to this rapid surge enhancement of Storage spaces in these drives. However, the main apprehension for a user should be to question the longevity of these devices, we are aware these devices do not have a prolonged lifespan. What happens if these storage devices do not work all of sudden? What if data is inaccessible? Before choosing between SSD and HDD as your preferred choice of storage; let's diverge into fundamental difference between the two.

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What is SSD?

A SSD stores data on flash memory chips that can retain information without the presence of power supply. The SSD does not have a moving part making it more durable.

Advantages of SSD

  • Uses less power as compared to HDD.
  • The boot time is meagre approx. 10 sec.
  • Fragmentation of drive is not necessary to store data.
  • Since it does not have moving parts; it does not make noise or vibration.
  • The Solid state drive supports Disk encryption.
  • It's fast, and the files open much faster in SSD than in HDD.
  • SSD has overcome the physical limitation of HDD.

Disadvantages of SSD

  • SSD is expensive.
  • High-speed transistors cause the heat in SSD.
  • SSD's are not readily available in the market.
  • For SSD's data recovery is costly & complex.
  • The top available storage unit for SSD is lesser than an average HDD drive.

What is HDD?

HDD is still the most popular storage devices for the majority of users, they offer enormous storage capacity & are inexpensive. They have a longer lifespan and higher volume storage at a lower price.

Advantages of HDD

  • It's readily available in market.
  • HDD is an economical option for users.
  • It Supports Disk encryption.
  • HDD technology has been around for more than five decades, a lot of advance tool & techniques are available today in the market. Data recovery is less complicated and retrieval of data is possible from a complex data loss cases. Also, in case of data loss, the pointer to data is removed, and the data remains intact on the drive unless overwritten.
  • HDD offers enormous storage capacity; the largest one is 10 TB.

Disadvantages of HDD

  • Because of read/write mechanical arms, it takes time to access the data.
  • The hard drives consume more power to function than SSD drive.
  • HDD uses fragmentation technique to store data, i.e. data is stored in pieces of files that are not put together. To access any file, the HDD scans all the files to get the necessary information. Thus using more seek time.
  • Makes noises & vibrates when in use, whereas SSD's are quite as a mouse.
  • File opening & boot time speed is more as compared to SSD.
Hard Drive Internal Parts
SSD Internal Parts

SSD vs HDD Comparison - Which one to choose?

A user can choose to go for SSD or HDD according to his/her preferences, those who are looking for top performance can go for SSD & those who want higher storage can opt for HDD. Both the storage media devices have their own merits & demerits.

Key Parameters HDD SSD
Access Time Has access time of 5.5 ~8.0 ms Has Access time of 0.1ms
Random I/O Performance Reach up to 400 io/s Delivers 6000 io/s
Reliability Failure Rate 2~5 % Failure Rate 0.5%
Energy Savings Consumes between 6 & 15 watts Consumes between 2 & 5 Watts
CPU Power Average I/O wait is 7% Has average wait time of 1 %
Input / Output Request Times Average time is 400 ~ 500 ms Average Service time 20 ms
Backup Rates 20~24 hours SSD backups 6 hours

SSD vs HDD Storage Capacity

The Hard disk drives have an advantage of offering massive terabyte worth of storage. In comparison, SSD is expensive, and the cost increases with the increase of per GB/TB. Any base model of HDD is 500 GB capacity whereas for SSD base model is 128 GB. To Hard drive offers infinite possibility magnetic storage on drive. Storage capacity is an essential criterion to consider when opting to buy HDD. However, not to overlook the other factors like speed, durability etc. of the drive.

When talking about storage size, the hard drives have an advantage and will have so for a long time. If you want to save/store data for a longer period or have huge files/folder, HDD is the way forward. It is one area where the hard drives still hold sway.

SSD vs HDD Speed

The speed at which the HDD spins or the platter spins to determine the read/write times. The hard drive consists of round plate coated with a layer of magnetic material. The data is stored in this magnetic thin film. The disk spins and a magnetic head is used to read & write data. The information is stored/sorted sequentially; the data will be read must faster by the Hard Drive. When the data piles on, HDD writes the data across multiple sections. This process is referred to as "fragmenting" making read time little longer than required.

SSD's have no such fragmentation, files are written sporadically across the cells. Making simultaneous access to every cell which means data are read at faster speeds. This speed has its demerits as it can cause SSD drive wear out with time. SSD's are prone to failure, although they are more durable than the hard drives. The moving mechanisms of an HDD make it susceptible to wear & tear and any powerful impact will jeopardise the accessibility of HDD data. The solid-state drives have no moving parts, making them potential storage solution for a more extended period. These storage media drives can survive the torment that we impose upon our portable storage devices.

SSD Vs HDD Comparision
Various SSD shapes in comparison with constant HDD shape

SSD vs HDD Form Factor

The hard drives due to its working mechanism are available is 2.5 or 3.5-inch disk, whereas the SSDs are available in different shapes & sizes. A Hard drive can be shrunk to limited size, for SSD which necessarily is a collection of memory chips and the constraints are less stringent regarding size.

SSD vs HDD Cost

The solid-state drives are expensive, which we have mentioned time again and again. An SSD user would be shelling out more money for 2 TB capacity drive as compared to a hard drive user. If you are building a system for speed or portability in mind and overlook the storage needs, then SSD is the best solution for you.

SSD vs HDD Reliability

It's essential for users to make note that for SSD's proper temperature range is far smaller than hard drives. To maintain longevity, the SSD needs to be operated in a controlled environment.

SSD vs HDD Lifespan

HDD have moving parts that make them susceptible to physical damage. The modern drives incorporate shock-proofing technology "drop" sensors that are used to protect the head & media. The SSD do not have moving parts, the use of flash media drives in a host of potential issues.

People assume data stored in these drives will last forever, which is untrue. Data stored on a hard drive will degrade and so will the data on SSD drive, but at a faster speed. As in SSD the NAND flash stores data as electrical charges, this charges leaks away. Factors such as temperature & humidity have an impact on these drives. Humidity leads to oxidisation of metals inside the drives. Laptop & desktop users don't need to worry about the life span on the drive, the mobile drives need to be taken care off. In case you are store data for a long team, HDD has an edge over SSD.

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Data Loss & Data Recovery

The usage of magnetic recording to store data is what makes HDD different from SSD. For hard drives more or less the make is similar and recovery is not a complicated process, but for SSD it's complicated. Although they are more durable and less prone to mechanical failure, they are still susceptible to firmware corruption, electrical damage or controller failure. Hard drives on the other exhibit signs of failure, like the constant crashing of the system, clicking sound or taking time to access file & folders.

Hard drive recovery is less intricate. HDD was the primary storage device for users for many years, and many types of research & advancements have done to improve the quality, failure rates etc.

SSDs don't provide indications, such as abnormal noises, that they are close to failure. It just doesn't boot. Flash also fails in a cascading manner. Both hard drives and SSDs can have bad sectors that lead to data loss, but for the latter, it takes an only small percentage to make the drive inaccessible. SSD recovery is expensive as compared to hard drive recovery. What makes SSD data recovery complicated is the fact, it uses complex controller technology to extend the reliability and speed of storage.

The architecture inside a high-performance SSD is more complicated than that in most RAID systems. The algorithms mapping the logical addresses to physical media locations vary from the make & model of SSD. There is no shortage of recovery options available in the market today. We suggest user first to evaluate your need for data recovery and then select the right data recovery provider.

Our recovery specialist can perform SSD recovery from all SSD make & models like

Samsung 960 Evo| Interface PCIe
Samsung 960 Evo| Interface PCIe
Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB
Samsung 960 Pro| Interface: PCIe
Samsung 960 Pro| Interface: PCIe
Capacity: 512GB/1TB/2TB
Samsung 860 Pro| Interface: SATA
Samsung 860 Pro| Interface: SATA
Capacity: 250GB/512GB/1TB/2TB/4TB
Intel 750 Series | Interface: PCIe
Intel 750 Series | Interface: PCIe
Capacity: 400GB/800GB/1.2TB

The Future for SSD & HDD

The world of data storage is continually changing it has diversified as well as complex workloads (CRM, Databases, Data Mining). The range of workloads & infrastructure options has set off the need for storage devices with a spectrum of performance, capacity, device features, form factors and prices.

Today, the length of choice we get for storage solutions is further that HDD vs SSD battle. Improvements like helium & Shingled Magnetic Recording HDD's have enhanced the capacity, reliability & lower power consumption of the HDD. The SSD's show innovation is new form factors, performance capabilities. Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) standard is a comparatively recent addition to the enterprise SSD landscape and a crucial breakthrough in the evolution of SSDs.

Both HDD's & SSD's are here to stay and will continue to play an essential role in both big data & fast data settings. We may see prices of SSD going down, and innovations open new possibilities for improved data storage solutions.

With the help of advanced storage devices, we will see new system architectures that will allow organisations to maximise returns on infrastructure. As storage devices evolve, the assessment and consideration will not be about HDD vs SSD but finding the most appropriate solution to support the business needs.

FINAL DECISION: Before opting for SSD or HDD, consider the following factors:

  • What purpose do you want to use the drive for?
  • The amount of money you are willing to shell?
  • The working conditions of the storage drive?

You can settle for any option but always remember to have regular back up of data.