Today's computers are available with two different types of main memory and storage systems: the traditional magnetic hard drive (HDD) and the newer solid state drive (SSD) that uses flash memory. Both provide essentially the same function but use different technologies to accomplish this. Depending on how the computer is used, both systems can offer advantages and disadvantages.
SSD Advantages: Speed, Portability, No Fragmentation
SSDs can be significantly faster than HDDs because they have no moving parts. Traditional HDDs spin, so they require time to begin operation. They also require more time to record files during normal operation. With an SSD, the computer will boot up much faster -- typically in just a few seconds. This speed advantage is also apparent in running applications, opening files, and general overall performance. If speed is an issue for the user, then an SSD can be the better choice.
SSDs are more portable.Users who are operating their computers in rugged environments or transporting them often will benefit from the inherent toughness of an SSD. Since the drive has no moving parts and is impervious to magnets, it's less susceptible to damage than an HDD. SSD drives are more easily put into small or unusual spaces, so an SSD drive may allow a manufacturer to offer a thinner or lighter computer.
SSDs don't need to be defragmented.The nature of the flash memory used in SSDs means that they don't require the same maintenance as an HDD. HDDs must be defragmented regularly to organise the data and free up usable space. This is not an issue with SSDs.
HDD Advantages: Capacity, Cost, and Availability
Due to longer development, traditional hard drives offer significantly larger storage capacity than SSDs. Currently-sold computers with HDDs can have drives with sizes averaging 1 to 4 TB, but storage on computers with SSDs will only tend to be in the range of 128 to 500 gigabytes. If the computer user needs large amounts of local storage, then an HDD is the better option. If the user can store data remotely on the Cloud, then an SSD can still work.
HDDs can be much cheaper. A 1 TB HDD drive is less than one-sixth the price of an SSD drive with same capacity. The difference in price in smaller drives is less, but SSDs can still be more than twice the cost of the same size HDD. For budget-conscious buyers, this can mean that an HDD drive is the best choice.
HDDs are more readily available.HDD technology has been around longer and is in widespread use. This means that HDDs are offered by all major hardware manufacturers. This also means that it can be easier to replace a defective drive or upgrade to a larger one to avoid having to completely replace a computer.
Both HDDs and SSDs provide reliable performance and are readily available from sellers on eBay. An individual shopping for a new computer should carefully consider how the computer will be used in order to make the right decision about which type of drive to select.