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SSD vs. HDD: which should you buy and use?

When purchasing a computer, people look out for various specs like the RAM size, processor, screen size, and the internal storage space. While these are all vital factors considerations, an often-overlooked spec is the type of internal storage on the PC. The ultimate decision that seems to confuse even tech-savvy users is the choice between a computer with an SSD (Solid-state Drive) and one with an HDD (Hard Disk Drive) storage.

It is up to the buyer to decide what he or she needs, depending on their specific computing needs, budgets, and preferences. HDDs have the advantage of being more affordable than the SSDs, but SSDs offer better speeds and performance. This short guide will compare SSD and HDD computer storage and help you make a more informed purchasing decision if you are down to this dilemma.

What is a HDD?

As the name suggests, these drives contain a disk (called a platter) which spins on a mechanical arm with a read-write head, to allow users to save data and access it on the spin. The spinning speed determines how quickly data can be accessed or written to the HDD.

HDDs connected to the computer motherboard using an IDE port in the past, but recent models now use SATA (Serial AT Attachment) cables, which deliver higher transfer speeds on HDDs. The speeds are still mostly not on par with equivalent SSD models.

What is an SSD?

SSD stands for a solid-state drive. You can think of them as oversized flash drives. SSDs are a considerably newer technology than HDDs. Unlike HDDs, solid-state drives do not feature any moving parts; they store data in a NAND memory chip, and the number of these chips on an SSD storage determines its storage capacity.

Without the read-write arm of the HDDs, SSDs store and allow users access data with the help of a controller. A controller here is just an embedded processor responsible for the overall transfer and operation speed of SSDs. We won’t go into the boring techy parts, but you should know that the controller technology often makes the difference between various SSD models.

Which should you buy?

SSDs are more expensive than HDDs per gigabyte, but then some SSD cards are also more costly than others. M2 SSDs, for instance, cost more than the older SATA III SSDs, and there is no vast price difference between these older SSD storages and hard disk drives of similar capacities.

SSD storages are normally around five times faster than hard disks but HDDs trump in the area of storage. These storages can hold anything from 40 GB to as much as 12 TB of data, while SSDs are not famous for their data storage space.

Another crucial factor often overlooked is how the storages handle fragmented files. When data is stored on a disk with insufficient space, the data becomes fragmented, slows down your computer, and consumes free space. CCleaner Defraggler is the industry-standard solution for disk fragmentation. This robust software can help move the data blocks back together on your HDD and SSD storage. So, if you notice your computer feeling a bit slow, your first move should be to defragment it with CCleaner Defraggler.

Now you know for certain the differences between HDDs and SSDs, as well as how they work; it’ll be easier to know what is ideal for you.

We hope that helps! If you have any comments, please tweet us. We're @CCleaner.

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