Storage is one of the most critical components of any computer or server. While most people acknowledge the amount of storage that comes inside a hard drive, many of us don't consider the different types of storage available in the modern technology market.
Two of the most popular drives available in modern computers are SSDs and HDDs.
SSDs and HDDs are also extremely relevant for hosting websites. Many hosting providers claim that upgrading your web server to an SSD can drastically enhance your page's loading speed. But is this true?
Below, I'll explore these two technology products in more detail to help you determine which one is the best investment next time you're in the market for a new drive.
What is SSD?
SSD stands for Solid-State Drive. This type of drive is considered the premium storage choice for many web hosting providers. With an SSD, your data is stored on a series of flash-memory chips. While SSDs don't typically have as much storage capacity as other drives, they're considered a high-performance product that can help increase the speed at which data is accessed.
What is HDD?
HDD stands for Hard Disk Drives. This is a more traditional form of storage that has dominated a lot of the computer industry for a considerable amount of time. With an HDD, you can store a lot of data for a relatively affordable price. An HDD consists of a spinning disk that uses magnetic technology to store and retrieve data. It has been a prominent form of storage since the 1950s.
Data Storage Wars: SSD vs HDD
As it feels the more logical decision to choose SSD disks for your storage, that may not always be the case. Let's take a deeper look into these data storage options, trying to figure out which one is more suitable for you.
Lifespan and Durability: SSDs Better In Theory
While it's always a good idea to be as careful as possible with electronic equipment, durability is a key component in any purchasing decision. In terms of durability from external damage, an SSD tends to be more suitable. Because the internal components don't involve revolving discs or delicate parts, SSDs tend to better handle shock movements. Dropping your computer or drive can prove devastating for an HDD.
But it's not just external damage that needs to be considered when assessing the durability of these drives. You also need to consider the longevity of the product. That said, both SSDs and HDDs have some longevity issues. With HDDs, the fast-moving nature of the components provides plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong.
On the other hand, SSDs are known to lose viability over extended periods of time. They may stop performing to the same standard after a few years. Both drives will eventually need to be replaced if you want to continue benefiting from the same performance standards.
Performance: SSD Wins Handsomely
Performing an SSD vs HDD speed comparison is important if you want to fully understand the benefits of each drive. Modern HDDs have a relatively decent performance standard. Because an HDD uses a random-access-memory method, users won't have to wait for a sequential memory retrieval to occur. This being said, the speed at which data is stored and received will depend on a range of components, including how fast the disc in the HDD is spinning.
With SSDs, the flash memory component of the drive ensures that storing and retrieving data is much, much quicker. For this reason, it's a very popular choice with premium web hosts like Hostinger and Bluehost. It provides better page speed for web users.
Power Usage: A Clear Winner
The winner of power efficiency is pretty clear when you compare SSD vs HDD. The need for a high-speed disc in constant movement means that HDDs use up much more energy than an SSD. Fortunately, SSDs use hardly any energy as accessing data via a compact flash drive doesn't require much power input.
While this may not be a massive deal if you're considering different hosting options, it's certainly something to think about if you're buying a drive for a computer or laptop. Using an SSD will help you cut down your energy bills and improve the battery life of your laptop.
High-Performance Gaming: Benefits Are Very Small
Computer users often turn to video games to test the capacity of a computer or device. After all, gaming puts a computer's components to the test. Unfortunately, the difference between SSD and HDD is negligible. If you're looking to upgrade your computer for better gaming capabilities, you won't receive any noticeable benefits from an SSD.
To improve gaming performance, you should focus more on upgrading graphics cards and other components of the computer. This being said, it doesn't hurt to have an SSD in your computer because of the other obvious benefits, like program loading times.
Footprint: SSDs Are More Compact
While all modern SSDs and HDDs are relatively small, size still matters. If you want a drive that is small, light, and compact, it's essential to consider which one is superior. SSDs are traditionally quite a bit smaller and lighter than HDDs. Keep this in mind if you're looking to upgrade to a smaller drive.
This won't matter as much for people who are comparing SSD and HDD hosting.
Pricing: SSDs Expensive, But They're Catching Up
If you're trying to run a site on a budget, the price is a critical component to consider. SSD is regarded as the gold standard in the hosting world - so it's going to cost more.
But looking at the history, it looks very clear that the pricing gap between SSD and HDD is decreasing.
Here are the prices for a 500GB HDD drive - from August 2017 to March 2019.
Looks like big jumps - but the prices are actually steadily hovering around the $50 mark.
Now, let's look at how an SSD of the same capacity will cost:
A steady decrease. From $400 at launch to only a bit over $100 in 2019.
In recent years, advances in technology have made price points much similar. For those looking to add an SDD to their computer, you won't need to invest too much to seek a significant upgrade.
Verdict: An SSD Upgrade Is Too Hard to Turn Down
While HDD still provides solid performance and plenty of storage space, an SSD upgrade is hard to turn down when you consider all the features. SSDs provide lightning fast storage access, reduced energy use, improved overall computer performance, faster page speeds, and a range of other benefits.
Whether you're looking for a drive for your computer or your hosting provider, an SSD is going to help you improve your current standards. The only reason an HDD makes sense is if you're a computer user that needs a huge amount of storage at an affordable price.