HDD vs SSD: Which One is Better for Data Storage

The great debate continues to rage on! HDD versus SSD – Which one is best?

Well, when it comes to data storage, the HDD is the best choice. However, several advantages accompany the SSD that are noteworthy.

Hard disk drive vs. solid state drive

Hello everyone! My name is Lavelle and I am a professional photographer, videographer, and filmmaker. For the past couple of years, I have been heavily involved in filmmaking and as such I’ve used both the SSD and the HDD for storage needs.

In this article, I will explain exactly what HDDs and SSDs are and discuss some of the pros and cons of each kind of drive. Additionally, I will give you my professional opinion about which drive is best for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Consider the SSD as your best option, if upload/download speed is important to you.
  • If you need more storage capacity and you want to get more for your money, go with HDD.
  • If you need to keep data for a long time, an SSD with a lifespan of around 10 years is a better choice.

What is HDD?

Firstly, the HDD is a hard disk drive and is the traditional drive storage unit on most computers. HDDs store data on spinning magnetic platters. They also have a read/write head (designed much like the needle on a turntable) which reads/writes the data to and from the magnetic platters.

Because of the moving mechanical parts inside the HDDs, they are bulkier than the SSDs. They are also slower, however, these drives store more data than the SSDs and are much more economical.

HDD Specs

HDDs are less expensive than their SSD counterparts. You can find a good HDD for as little as $30 for an external HDD and the price goes up from there depending on capacity, brand, etc.

Typically, the maximum capacity of an HDD is approximately 20 terabytes, which is considerably large. The normal lifespan of an HDD is about 5 years, with 3 years being the minimum and 10 years being a remote possibility.

When it comes to read/write speed, in most cases the HDD reads/writes at a rate of approximately 80 to 160 mb/s. Also, HDDs tend to be somewhat noisier than SSDs because of the mechanical components inside the drive.

HDD Pros

The two biggest advantages of the HDD are price and capacity. You can purchase HDDs much cheaper than you can get SSDs and as I’ve previously mentioned, they tend to hold more data.

HDD Cons

The main disadvantage of the HDD is its lack of speed. Aside from the lack of speed, another disadvantage of the HDD is that they are rapidly being replaced by the faster, smaller, more efficient SSDs.

What is SSD?

SSDs are solid-state drives, unlike HDDs, containing no moving parts, thus the “solid-state” name. The SSDs store data on small stacks of Flash memory cells. They are designed similar to a USB drive but with much higher quality and faster memory.

SSDs come in three sizes. There is the 2.5-inch SSD, the M.2, and the mSATA. The M.2 is the smallest version, while the mSATA is the middle ground and the 2.5 inch is the largest of the drive types. Most newer model computers come equipped with either a port for the SSD or with M.2 or mSATA interface connections.

SSD Specs

SSDs are more expensive than HDDs. For instance, a 1TB SSD drive will cost approximately $100 while its HDD counterpart will cost about $50. The lifespan of a typical SSD is about 10 years, while it’s only 3-5 years for an HDD. 

Now, when it comes to read/write speed, the SSD is hands down the better choice. While HDDs read/write at a rate of about 80-160 mb/s, the SSDs read/write at a speed of about 500 mb/s. So, there is no real competition in this category. 

SSDs are also usually much quieter since they have no moving parts. SSDs have an average capacity of about 18TBs due to their small, more compact size.

SSD Pros

The advantages of the SSD are speed and size. These drives are lightning-fast and are smaller than the HDDs.

SSD Cons

The disadvantages of the SSD are cost and capacity. The SSDs are about twice as costly as the HDDs and are limited in storage capacity as compared to the HDDs.

Which is Better, an HDD or an SSD?

The obvious question is “Which one is better for you?” Well, I’m glad you asked! The answer lies in this statement: You should consider cost, capacity, and performance when considering what is best for you.

If you are a film editor, then speed may be your most important factor. If you are a data researcher, then capacity may be crucial. However, if you are an average user, speed is probably more important to you than capacity. 

If you can afford the SSD, I suggest you choose that option, as most systems are being developed for compatibility with the SSDs.


Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions.

Is a 256GB SSD Better than a 1TB Hard Drive?

It depends on your needs. If speed is your most important factor, then yes, the 256GB SSD is better. However, if you have more data to store and speed is not important, then the 1TB HDD is the best choice.

Is HDD Safe for Long-term Storage?

It depends on your definition of long-term. If 3-5 years is long-term in your mind, then yes, the HDD is a safe option. However, if you need to store data for longer periods than this, then the SSD with its approximately 10 years lifespan, is the better choice.

Is a 512GB SSD Good Enough?

It depends on your needs. In most cases, a 512GB SSD is plenty of storage space for normal use.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to data storage, HDDs are the best choice, however, they do have some disadvantages that you should consider. But if speed and size are important factors to you, then think twice about the HDD option.

Consider your needs carefully when determining which drive is best for you as HDD and SSD both have pluses and minuses.

Which type of drive works best for you? Share your experiences in the comets section below.

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