What's the Difference between Hard Drive (HDD) and newer SSD?

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What’s the difference between SSD and Mechanical HDD? 

What’s the difference between SSD and Mechanical HDD? The simple answer is that SSD has no moving parts and functions similarly to USB memory sticks, while the Mechanical HDD has a magnetic tape and a lot of moving parts. SSD is also considerably smaller and takes up less space in a PC case, in some instances even mounted directly to the motherboard. SSD is also way faster – 10 times faster than an HDD.


What is SSD Storage? 

SSD stands for Solid State Drive, and it’s like an oversized, more sophisticated version of a USB memory stick. Like a USB memory drive, there are no moving parts, and the data is stored in microchips. Storing data on a chip is what makes the SSD so much faster. A typical SSD uses what is called NAND-based flash memory, which is a non-volatile type of memory. A non-volatile memory is that it will not forget where the data is store when the disk is off. An SSD does not have any mechanical components to read and write data, instead it relies on an embedded processor called a controller to perform operations related to reading and writing data. The controller is a very important factor in determining the SSD read and write speed. As the controller will make decision to where it will store, retrieve, cache and clean up data that can determine the overall SSD performance. 


What is HDD Storage?

Hard Disk Drives or HDD, was first introduced by IBM in 1956 and uses magnetism to store data on a rotating platter. A read/write head floats above the spinning platter reading and writing the data. The faster the platter spins, the faster an HDD can perform, a typical laptop drives today spin at either 5400 RPM ( revolutions per minute) or 7200 RPM, though some server based models are up to 15,000 RPM. 

When it comes to appearance, the most common size for laptop hard drive is 2.5” form factor while a larger 3.5” form factor is used in desktop computers. The larger size allows for more platters inside and thus creating a larger storage capacity. 


This chart breaks down the major factors of storage between HDD and SSD.


SSD (Solid State Drive)

HDD (Hard Disk Drive)


Power Draw / Battery Life

Less power draw, averages 2 – 3 watts, resulting in 30+ minute battery boost

More power draw, averages 6 – 7 watts and therefore uses more battery

SSD wins this category as it draws less power and result better battery life for mobile devices


Expensive, roughly $0.08 per gigabyte (based on buying a 1TB drive)

Only around $0.03 per gigabyte, very cheap (buying a 4TB model)

HDD wins this category, but HDD will soon lose this category as new QLC NAND technology will be releasing toward end of the year and will release SSD that are about $0.03 per gigabyte


Typically, not larger than 2TB for notebook size drives; 4TB max for desktops

Typically, around 500GB and 2TB maximum for notebook size drives; 10TB max for desktops

HDD wins this category, but HDD will be losing this category toward end of the year when QLC NAND is released and will be matching the same capacity as the HDD 

Operating System Boot Time

Around 10-13 seconds average bootup time

Around 30-40 seconds average bootup time

SSD wins this category as it boots a computer 2x faster and will not slow down, as HDD will slow down when its ages


There are no moving parts and as such no sound

Audible clicks and spinning can be heard

SSD wins this category as there are no moving part and no noise


No vibration as there are no moving parts

The spinning of the platters can sometimes result in vibration

SSD wins this category as HDD can be very fragile and can brick if it was drop

Heat Produced

Lower power draw and no moving parts so little heat is produced

HDD doesn’t produce much heat, but it will have a measurable amount more heat than an SSD due to moving parts and higher power draw

SSD wins this category as SSD does not draw a lot of power and there is very little heat that is produced

Failure Rate

Mean time between failure rate of 2.0 million hours

Mean time between failure rate of 1.5 million hours

SSD wins this category as the failure rate is lower as there are no moving parts

File Copy / Write Speed

Generally, above 200 MB/s and up to 550 MB/s for cutting edge drives

The range can be anywhere from 50 – 120MB / s

SSD wins this category as SSD is 10x faster for transferring and booting the OS


Full Disk Encryption (FDE) Supported on some models

Full Disk Encryption (FDE) Supported on some models

Tie both devices have FPE built in

File Opening Speed

Up to 30% faster than HDD

Slower than SSD

SSD wins this category as the SSD does not need to keep spinning to reach the data

Magnetism Affected?

An SSD is safe from any effects of magnetism

Magnets can erase data

SSD wins this category as there are no magnetic parts that would corrupt any data

Now if we tally up the total, the winning category is SSD with 9. This means that SSD will be the replacement technology for all HDD in the near future. As new technology is being released, lower capacity SSD will be cheaper than a standard HDD and will be at the same price point. By that time, there will be no benefit to choose an SSD over an HDD.  

V7 will be launching a complete line of SSD products in the next few months so stay tuned for more. For more information contact v7bids@ingrammicro.com.