SSDs and HDDs basically do the same thing: store applications and personal files and boot systems. If you’re looking to add speed to an old desktop PC or laptop or if you’re choosing a drive for new PC builds, servers, or system builds, how do you know which to choose? Should it be an SSD (solid-state drive) or an HDD (hard disk drive)?
To start, the two are engineered in totally different ways. SSDs are built using a non-volatile storage technology called NAND flash and it doesn’t need power to retain data.
Since the mid-1950s, computers have used HDDs which are based on magnetic spinning platters. They use moving heads that read and write data to the spinning platters or disks. HDDs are mechanical devices with many moving parts and are more prone to mechanical failures and failures due to environmental conditions such as heat, cold, shock, and vibration.
SSDs are not impacted by the size and shape limitations of hard drives. HDD platters are circular which means that data stored at the outer edge is accessed faster than data stored at the center. With an SSD drive, it doesn’t matter where the data is stored on the drive as areas of the drive are accessed at the same speed. HDD performance also suffers from data fragmentation. Over time, your operating system will rearrange data on your HDD, and this will ‘fragment’ file data so that it is no longer contiguous. When files are fragmented, there is a performance penalty when attempting to access this data. An SSD is not significantly impacted by this.