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SSD or HDD Hard Drives: Know the Difference Before You Buy One

If you’ve purchased an ultraportable laptop recently, you’ve most likely bought one with a Solid-State drive or an SSD. However, some subset budget computers still favour hard disk drives (HDD). Choosing between SSD or HDD can be challenging, especially if you cannot see any significant difference between these two drives.

You still have to pick one, though, right? How would you choose the drive that fits your needs? Let’s get you into knowing the difference between HDD and SSD before you make up your mind.

What Is an HDD?

HDDs are more traditional drives that have been in existence for around fifty years. They depend on platters or spinning platters to read and write. These types of discs contain one or several magnetic platters, an actuator arm, and a motor. The actuator arm has a read and writes head while the motor spins the platters. They also have 1/0 binary controllers and firmware that instructs the hardware to communicate with the computer system.

Therefore, their “reading and writing” happens by subtle magnetic patterns on the platter’s surface. One magnetic polarity correlates with the “1” while the other correlates with the “0” while writing binary code. This means that HDD can only “read” or “write,” meaning that they have no “erase” or “delete” command.

So, what happens when you “delete” a file? Well, if you delete a file on a computer with an HDD, you’ll be commanding the drive to treat the space as a blank, similar to reformatting a drive. Ideally, you’ll be ignoring that space until the entire drive fills up with new information.  This means that the information is still available for a while until it’s overwritten. That’s why computer users can still recover files from an HDD even after “deleting” them, assuming that the information isn’t overwritten.

What Is an SSD?

Solid State Drives or SSDs, are newer types of drives fundamentally different from HDD in almost every aspect. They differ in the way they save, delete, or move files. SSDs store and retrieve data using electronic circuits without using their mechanical parts. They use a “non-volatile flash memory,” meaning that they can retain data even after turning off your computer.

SSDs still have the read and write functionality and erase data, similar to HDD. However, it doesn’t mean that you will entirely remove your files once you “delete” them. SSDs do not create magnetic patterns but electronically program them into storage cells. These cells are organized into “pages” and “blocks.” Ideally, 64 pages are grouped into a block. These blocks can only be written when full and are entirely erased and rewritten.

One of the disadvantages of SSDs over HDDs is that they experience a small amount of wear to the drive when rewriting these blocks. If a computer user continuously erases and rewrites data on the same block, the drive would wear out faster than its expected lifespan.

That’s why these drives utilize “wear levelling” to ensure that data is evenly written on the drive. The drive will write your new data on a new block rather than on the previous block using this measure. SSDs also tend to “over provision” their data to extend the SSDs lifespan further.

Comparison Between Solid State Drives and Hard Disk Drives

Now that you know how HDDs and SSDs work, you’re probably wondering how these two drives compare. Below is a detailed look at the comparison between SSD and HDD to help you make a better choice.


SSD’s speed is probably one of the factors that makes them popular. Intel claims that SSD is eight times faster than HDD, meaning they have a shorter boot-up time. Therefore, you should expect a less wait time when starting an SSD and further delays when opening apps and handling heavy computer tasks. SSDs also take less time to perform storage-intensive tasks like copying large files.


Since SSDs have no moving parts, they are more reliable than HDDs. The moving parts in HDDs increase the possibility of “head crash.” Head crashes can result from electronic failure, physical shock, sudden power failure, or poorly manufactured platters and heads. Additionally, HDDs are susceptible to data corruption and damage when placed close to powerful magnets due to their use of magnets in their operation.


When it comes to the longevity of HDDs and SSDs, HDDs tend to be better. There are concerns on how SSDs work, especially with the possibility of wearing out when a computer user deletes and rewrites data on the same block. However, SSDs manufacturers have made a lot of effort to create a read/write architecture that reduces wear on these drives. Therefore, you should still expect your SDD to last long.

Head-to-Head Comparison

HDDs’ storage capacity can go anywhere between 250 GB to 20 TB, while SSDs are limited to a maximum of 30.72 GB. Therefore, when measuring the cost per capacity, HDDs are the best. However, when comparing the total cost of ownership (TCO), SSDs come first, since you’ll have more work done per server than HDDs.

If you’re a gamer, SSDs would be your best option. Gaming computers involve fast operations, and the only way to achieve this would be by using an SSD. However, this doesn’t entirely write off the use of HDDs. You can still use an HDD to store data, documents, and photos, which offers ample space and is less expensive.

HDD or SSD, which One Should You Pick?

Both HDD and SSD offer different and unique services to their users. For instance, if you are looking for a cheap way to store your files, HDDs fit your choice; come with sufficient terabytes and at affordable prices. However, if you are an avid programmer or gamer, SSDs should be your choice since they offer dramatically improved speeds.

Whether you’re picking an SSD or an HDD, it would be best if you had professional guidance with your choice. Our experts at Tektonic are ready to help you choose the best drive that fits your business. Contact us today for the best IT solutions in Vaughan, ON, and its surroundings.

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