What is the difference between an SSD and an HDD (hard disk drive)

Nowadays, when you select a computer or laptop on the internet or in the store, you increasingly have the choice of an SSD (sometimes also M.2 SSD) or an HDD or hard disk. What is an SSD exactly and why is the storage capacity often much smaller (often 128 GB) as opposed to an HDD (often 500 GB to 1 TB)?

What is an SSD?

An SSD is the replacement for the (old-fashioned) hard drive. From the moment that modern computers made their appearance, they use the well-known hard disk. This is the component in the computer on which all data is stored. The hard disk consists of a housing with a rotating disk inside (usually 5400 or 7200 revolutions per minute) where a laser head can read the data at lightning speed.

However, this can be done much faster with an SSD. An SSD consists of a circuit of chips without moving / rotating parts. As a result, the data on the chips can make many people consult faster, up to 10 times faster. On a hard disk the reading speed is around 50 Mbps (megabytes per second) where an SSD can do this up to 500 Mbps.

What is an M.2 SSD?

Normal SSDs have been on the market for about 10 years now and developments are moving at lightning speed. Today, therefore, laptops or computers with an M.2 SSD are also supplied. An M.2 SSD is connected directly to the motherboard without the intervention of a (SATA) cable that still needs a normal hard disk and SSD. This makes the reading and writing speeds many times higher, up to 3500 Mbps reading and 3300 Mbps writing. Compare this with the 50 Mbps that a normal hard disk offers.

Why are SSDs often smaller than HDDs?

SSDs are actually no smaller at all but more expensive to make. That is why laptops and desktops with an SSD are often supplied with a smaller storage capacity to reduce costs.

Cost difference per Gb (gigabyte)

The cost per Gb 10 years ago was 1 euro for an SSD compared to 0.10 euro per Gb for a hard disk. Currently this has already been reduced to 0.30 euros per Gb for an SSD compared to 0.10 euros per Gb for a hard disk.

Incidentally, few of our customers have ever succeeded in completely using up the 500 GB to 1 TB on their hard disk and customers with a 256 GB SSD are perfectly capable of using it. That is why we almost always upgrade a computer or laptop with a smaller SSD if it appears that the customer has a lot of space on his or her hard drive.

Is a computer with SSD no longer slow?

That chance is indeed a whole lot smaller or maybe even not at all. This has to do with the fragmentation SSDs do not encounter. Hard disks do suffer from fragmentation, so they need to be defragmented every now and then. Because an SSD no longer has a rotating disk, the data can be consulted without loss of time and defragmentation is no longer necessary.

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