Video Games

SSD vs HDD – Which One Is Best For Gaming?

If you are a serious gamer, you already know the utmost importance of having a reliable storage disk, one that can store all your games easily in one place as well as file away any other pre-loaded files for online games. But how much storage is necessary? And which storage solution is better: SSD or HHD? Both SSD and HHD are reliable solutions for storage, and together they are the most widely used storage disks on the market today.

Although both SSD and HHD can adequately store data, their technology and the way they work is actually quite a bit different. To help you make the best data storage decision for your particular needs and preferences, below we have put together an in-depth comparison of the two disks, including what they are and how they handle certain variables that are specific to gaming.

SSD vs. HDD Storage Solutions Defined

HDD Storage

Every computer has basic storage. This is called the hard disk or the Hard Disk Drive, otherwise known as HDD. This hard disk drive consists of many removable parts. They also come with different capacities—how much data they can store—from 250G (gigabytes) and 500G, to 1, 2, and even 4 terabytes.

Just as all HDD storage solutions have varying capacities, they can also boast a few different interface profiles as well. Many PCs and laptops are equipped with either the SATA or PATA interfaces. These interfaces have larger capacities than other types, and because they are more affordable, they are very popular among home computer users.

An HDD storage solution can also have a SCSI interface. These interfaces are known to be exceedingly more stable than other types, and they typically promise greater performance. These interfaces, which tend to be much more expensive than the other two types, are perfect for computers used in workstations and offices.

SSD Storage

So what about the SSD storage solution? SSD stands for a “Solid State Drive,” and SSD disks are made from solid state electronic memory chip arrays. Inside the SSD disks are both control and memory units. This type or brand of storage, which is far less common than the HDD solution, is generally used for things like network monitoring, in equipment that helps with navigation, for video surveillance and other computerized applications.

Between the two types of storage solutions—HDD and SSD—the latter is much more expensive, which probably explains why the HDD disk is much more commonplace in today’s PCs.

Which Storage Solution is Faster: HDD or SSD?

Although it’s difficult to beat the HDD storage solution in terms of popularity, availability, capacity-to-price, and affordability, when it comes to speed we must give the nod to the SSD storage solution

An SSD drive has a noticeably faster read-write speed. This can largely be attributed to the lack of a head on an SSD disk, a characteristic not present in an HDD drive. And when we say a noticeable difference we are certainly not exaggerating. The SSD’s speed in terms of its read-write ability is at least double or triple that of a standard HDD disk.

An SSD disk utilizes flash memory as its storage medium. That memory time has a seek time of zero, making it very fast indeed. This translates to a storage solution that experiences no significant delays whatsoever when attempting to write or read information. It also has the benefit of versatility. The SSD storage disk can literally run on anything, up to and including larger software or a complete operating system.

When gaming, a player can benefit greatly from SSD storage, as it determines the loading speed of the game and the overall performance of your gaming rig setup.

How about Capacity: HDD or SSD Storage?

Capacity is another crucial element you need to think about when comparing HDD and SSD storage solutions. It is extremely vital to point out that both HDD and SSD storage drives have a very high capacity in terms of the data they can store. In fact, both disks have a capacity that can max out at eight terabytes (8TB), currently the highest amount of storage in most computer devices.

In today’s market, and due to the manner in which every storage solution is made, it is not uncommon to see very high capacities in terms of memory. The only real difference to note here is the price to capacity ratio. When you take into account this price to capacity ratio it’s easy to see that the HDD disk will be a more affordable option when compared to the SSD disk. As we have mentioned, SSD storage is much more expensive and it is getting even pricier as the popularity of the SSD disk rises.

So, when looking for the most capacity for the money, the HDD drive would be the logical choice.

Noise: HDD or SSD?

Although most people probably don’t give the sounds made by their storage devices a second thought, when it comes to the disk that makes the most noise the winner (or loser in this case) is the HDD drive. HDD drives have a lot of moving parts within them. They are also run by a mechanical motor that makes noise when performing certain tasks.

SSD storage disks do not make ANY noise when they are in operation. They have no mechanical motors or moving parts, and they are thus able to operate without putting out any noise—0 decibels.

However, before you make a decision on that information alone, let us point out that not all HDD drives are very noisy. In fact, the level of noise they emit depends primarily on the speed at which they run. Naturally, HDD drives that spin very rapidly are going to produce more racket than the slower ones. Additionally, the age of the disk comes into play when we are talking about noise level. Newer disks will produce less noise than older ones, as the parts inside an old HDD drive can deteriorate over time, causing them to make some malfunctioning noises.

If you don’t mind just a little bit of noise now again, a newer HDD drive in good repair will serve you very well without endless disturbances.

Portability: HHD or SSD?

When it comes to portability, the SSD drive is probably the better choice.

SSD drives are small and lightweight when compared to HDD drives. As such, they are simple to take on the go. As a gamer, a portable SSD drive will allow you to take your game play on the road with you, perhaps to a friend’s house to play or to a tournament or competition.

Traditional HDD drives are not nearly as portable as SSD Drives. These drives tend to be very heavy and awkward. They are primarily designed to be left in one place. So if you are looking for a drive that will come with you wherever you go, and you don’t mind spending the extra money, an SSD drive is the better solution.

Longevity: HDD or SSD

The more expensive SSD storage solution is probably the better choice for durability and longevity as well.

Because HDD drives are mechanical in nature, with plenty of moving parts that rely on one another for the proper operation of the drive, they will typically not last as long as their SSD counterpart. When a HDD drive accidentally falls to the ground, or when you continuously bump into it, you are risking its ability to properly store your data. In fact, repeated mishandling or accidents with an HDD drive can cause it to lose some data, and in worst-case scenarios even stop working altogether, making it impossible to retrieve any data. This is also another reason why they are not made to be portable, as carrying them around can be a risk.

On the flip side, the SSD disk does not have the mechanical motor and moving parts of an HDD drive. As a result, they provide a safer and more durable option for data storage. Even if you are working with an SSD in, say, your laptop, and that laptop falls to the ground, chances are your SSD drive will remain intact—even if the rest of the computer falters.

There is an upside to the HDD drive, however. In normal conditions, when no accidents or mishaps occur, the HDD drive can last for 10 years or more, whereas an SSD drive tends to last just 5-6 years. That being said, the HDD drives do tend to start malfunctioning as they age, and because most people rarely hold on to the same system for more than 5-7 years, an SSD disk would still be the better choice from a durability standpoint.

Last Word

Both the HDD and SSD storage mediums offer reliable service you can count on. The SSD disk shines in terms of speed, portability and the absence of noise, and it also has a slight edge from a longevity standpoint should one or the other be dropped or mishandled.

HDD drives are more widely available, more affordable and have a better capacity to price ratio when compared to SSD drives. They also survive longer in normal conditions.

If speed and portability are super important to you, we recommend you spend the extra money for an SSD drive. But if you are more of a stay-at-home gamer looking for the best capacity for the money, the HDD drive is probably the way to go.

About the author

Sam Frazier

As a child of the 80's, my fondest gaming memories are playing Pitfall, Frogger, Kaboom! and Chopper Command on our old Atari 8600. These days I've been rocking the Nintendo Classic and learning some new card and board games with the family.

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