Need for speed: HDD vs SSD, is speed always best?

Need for speed: HDD vs SSD, is speed always best?

When you buy a new laptop or computer, the decision has to be made between choosing an SSD or HDD as your storage component. If you were to go to Google to try and find the answer, you’d be met with a considerable number of websites and reviews comparing the two. Price per GB, performance and user requirement present a dizzying array of facts and figures that you can easily become lost in. With all of these considerations, should speed be the biggest deciding factor?

So, why do we need speed? Four out of five adults in the UK own a smartphone and two-thirds have access to a tablet (Deloitte, 2016), both of which provide us with lots of content, really quickly. This is because smartphones are built with flash memory, the same as SSD, as opposed to a mechanically driven HDD. The speed in which smart phones and tablets work has had an impact on our need for speed, so that when we click on something, we expect it to open immediately.

When you look at the pros and cons you’ll see that, in terms of speed, SSDs far outstrip the performance of HDD in random performance, which is particularly beneficial for operating system boots. SSDs are more durable as they have no moving parts, removing mechanical failure risks altogether, and they are much less prone to physical damage during transport or operation.

On the flipside, HDDs have much larger capacity options than SSD, up to 10TB, so they’re particularly useful for large capacity archive storage. HDD also tends to be cheaper than SSD, especially with the current shortage of NAND flash pushing up the prices of SSD.

If you take a look at the gaming market, for example, there used to be a point where it was a definite advantage to be able to load a game quicker. But nowadays when a game is built, the designers adjust them to make exceptions for people who are gaming from a device without an SSD, or with slower broadband speeds. Many games now wait until everyone has loaded in, or there will be short pauses to ensure the next part or ‘level’ of the game has loaded to the same point for everyone.

So what it really comes down to is the individual’s needs, is the focus cost, speed, capacity or durability? These are just a few of many considerations for storage components with many applications.

With more and more people choosing to upgrade instead of buying a new laptop or PC, and with the increasing popularity of gaming, the demand for memory will only increase, bringing a boost to the channel in years to come. We should support our retailers to improve the consumer’s knowledge of memory and how both HDD and SSD can work in their favour.

View our HDD and SSD vendors.