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Hard Drives vs. Solid State Drives

The hard drive type is an important thing to consider when buying a new PC or upgrading, if not the most important thing. After all, it’s going to house your operating system, your personal files, your movies, music, pictures and games…you’re going to want a good one at a decent price. What serves as “good”, though…well, it depends on the user.

Some people may even have multiple drives in one machine. For convenience’s sake, we’re going to assume that you’re picking just one hard drive — but we’ll be going over the benefits of both types.

There’s two kinds of drives: an HDD (Hard Disk Drive), the cheaper, more common one, and the SDD (Solid State Drive), which is more expensive and less common.

Hard Drives vs. Solid State Drives
The inside of an HDD.

An HDD comes in at varying speeds measured in rpm (rotations per minute), with the best being 10,000 rpm. Those drives are fairly expensive, though, so people tend to veer towards 7200 rpm for their hard drives. Hard drives, while fast, are nothing in comparison to the speed of an SSD — however, HDDs are much cheaper and provide much more storage. Most people shopping for drives won’t mind the compromise in speed in favor of storage space.

Hard Drives vs. Solid State Drives
The inside of an SSD.

An SDD’s speed isn’t so easily measured, because it has no moving parts. That’s why it’s called a Solid-State Drive. SSD’s typically have extremely small storage space — a 180 GB SSD can cost just as much as a 700 GB HDD — but the speed difference can be over fifty times faster than a 7200 rpm HDD. Many laptops use an SSD in exchange for a more compact form factor — which is why laptops with high prices and low storage space have become so commonplace. The speed boost does have a tangible difference, though — OS boot-up time and program opening time can be reduced to mere miliseconds. Provided your processor can keep up, you’ll have an extremely snappy computing experience.

If you’re a laptop buyer, decide what you need more — storage or performance.

If you’re a prebuilt buyer or a builder, though, shell out for a small SSD and a large HDD, if you can afford it. The small SSD can be used for your operating system and program files, while your HDD can be used for storage of all your favorite content. If you can afford them, there’s no need to compromise — have the best of both worlds.

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