Regardless of whether you are assembling a new gaming PC or you want to upgrade your old one, you will probably always be faced with one question: SSD vs. HDD – which storage medium is the best? For gamers in particular, the speed, but also the shape and capacity of the hard drive are decisive. We’ll tell you which solution might fit and why the HDD might not yet be written off!
The HDD hard drive: a relic from bygone times?
For a long time the HDD ( hard disk drive ) was almost unrivaled in the computer storage media market. Magnetic hard drives have been in use since 1956 to save and retrieve data. The first hard drive only had a capacity of 5 MB and weighed almost a ton. The reason for this? The construction. Because the 50 magnetic disks used, each measuring 61 cm in diameter, also brought a lot of weight with them.
In the meantime, however, the technology has developed further and so modern HDDs can offer far more than 1 TB (one million megabytes) of storage volume. The functionality remains roughly the same: The data to be saved is written on magnetic disks that are rotating. This requires a write head that transfers the data without contact. This process is also characterized by a slight rattle when the panes move.
In the meantime, however, the noises have been reduced to a minimum and are barely noticeable. No wonder, then, that these hard drives are used most frequently and in all industries . From the home gaming PC to the office computer to the ultra-modern data center, they work reliably and make their data available to users at any time.
Why the HDD shouldn’t be underestimated
In a comparison of SSD vs. HDD, the SSD almost always comes off as the clear winner . And even if this is by no means unjustified, let’s take a closer look at the classic hard drive. Because it also has some advantages to offer.
Easy on the wallet
A clear advantage and purchase criterion for many hobby players: the price. Because compared to the SSD, the HDD offers a significantly better price-storage space ratio . And even if the costs are becoming more and more similar, the traditional hard drive is often still the cheaper option for those who want to back up a large amount of data.
Basically, it is said that the HDD is more worthwhile from a required storage volume of 4 TB. For a long time, that was the maximum storage size of the SSD – and even if it can be exceeded in the meantime, such drives are an unnecessary luxury for everyday use. When it comes to hosting a server, most people still use the cheaper HDD.
Write, read, erase and start all over again – service life and Co.
After all the hype, do you like to lose interest in one game and prefer to start the next? Or are you more of a fan of story games in general? Then you will probably write and clean up your storage disk very regularly. What actually has almost no effect on the HDD, significantly reduces the lifespan of the SSD. This is a major disadvantage of the modern alternative, especially in data centers .
In addition, the HDD has another advantage that we often take for granted: the existing data can be permanently deleted here relatively easily. All you have to do is format the hard drive. With an SSD, on the other hand, this is often not enough, because leftovers are often hidden in the memory cells . To clear this up, you have to use so-called TRIM commands – as a layman, this is not necessarily the easiest task.
By the way: Even if deleted data is generally easier to restore on SSDs, the opposite is the case in the event of a sudden loss. If the tension field has been disturbed, for example by magnetic fields or electromagnetic voltages, and the hard disk suffers complete damage , the data is actually always lost. With the HDD, on the other hand, there is more hope.
Easy and uncomplicated
Precisely because the HDD is still the standard in most PCs, it is particularly easy to connect . There are slots for the 3.5 “hard drives in almost every housing. And the power supplies are also designed for this. Usually the HDDs are connected to normal S-ATA interfaces.
So if you want to install or replace such a hard drive, that shouldn’t be a problem in most cases. However, pay attention to their speed – this is usually given in revolutions. The following applies: the more, the faster. Models with 10,000 revolutions are the non-plus-ultra and also a good alternative to the SSD for passionate gamers.
The SSD: faster, better, more efficient?
After reading all the advantages of the classic hard drive, you are wondering how the solid-state drive should perform even better in the comparison SSD vs. HDD? This is actually possible, because this modern storage medium is not only more compact, but also more powerful in many ways. We reveal more!
That’s it: the modern gaming hard drive
In search of an even more efficient storage medium for high-performance computers, the first SSDs came onto the market in 1995. At that time they were an expensive luxury and only found in the most modern facilities where their performance was really needed. In the meantime, however, the focus of the manufacturers has changed: the everyday person and the passionate gamer have at least as high a value.
The SSD derives its advantages significantly from its construction . Instead of the data being written to the moving magnetic disks, the SSD stores it on electronic semiconductor components, the so-called flash chips. This makes the drives more stable on a mechanical level, overall quieter and lure with shorter access times in comparison with SSD vs. HDD.
However, due to the relatively new invention, the storage space is not yet as developed as with the HDD. If you want more memory , you usually have to build in several models, spend a lot of money or use a combination solution.
That is why the SSD inspires gamers all over the world
We hinted at it just now, but the SSD actually has some key advantages. These are particularly evident when the user often works with very large, high-performance applications . In addition to games, this particularly includes programs for video and photo editing. More specifically this means:
Ultra-fast & super-quiet
The superhero Flash is known to be as fast as lightning – or even faster? So it’s no wonder that the built-in flash chips are also extremely fast. Regardless of whether it is reading or writing: Compared to the HDD, the SSD performs many times better. For you, this means that your programs and data load faster and are ready to start.
The reason for this? With the SSD, the assignment to a specific file or archive is clear. On the other hand, the read head must first be found on the HDD. And if you want to save something on your solid-state drive, it works completely silently thanks to modern technology.
For minimalists & bargain hunters
Yes, the SSD is usually a bit more expensive to buy than the HDD. And even if the prices are slowly converging, they currently still differ significantly. Nevertheless, the modern variant can pay off over a longer period of time. This is largely due to the fact that the SSD consumes significantly less power than the traditional hard drive – and it even stays permanently cool. After all, all processes work electrically and there is no mechanical movement in the drive.
Another advantage of this design is the lack of wear . Has it ever happened to you that you dropped a hard drive or broke it by jerking it? This cannot happen with an SSD, because the compact design guarantees a certain shock and vibration resistance that is not found in HDDs.
Speaking of compact: SSDs are also impressive due to their size. By default, they only measure 2.5 inches and are almost half the size of conventional hard drives, but there are also smaller models on the market. They are also much thinner. Especially those who have little space and rely on a mini case or a laptop are sure to make the right choice.
SSD vs. HDD – the only decision?
Still not quite sure which variant is ideal for you? Then we have some ideas on how you can find the perfect solution for your own needs . Because it is not uncommon for someone to want to combine the advantages of both drives.
Two become one: SSHD
If you want to combine the best of both worlds – i.e. the large storage space of the HDD and the speed of the SSD – then you should consider an SSHD (Solid-State-Hyper-Drive). This combines these two factors and is also very conveniently priced between SSD and HDD.
What may sound like the ideal solution, but also has disadvantages. And they come from both directions. Specifically, this means that the SSHD is slower to load than a conventional SSD. In addition, it is heavier and less robust , it is not as quiet when writing and it needs more power. Thus, although it is better than any HDD, it cannot hold a candle to the SSD (apart from the storage space).
Stronger together: combination solutions
Another variant is of course to install both types of hard drives . So you can create an optimal solution for your needs with a parallel use of HDD and SSD. The latter is mostly used as a drive for the system and demanding and frequently used programs.
The traditional hard drive, on the other hand, is the mass storage medium. Here you can save large data archives – especially those who want to save a lot of pictures, videos, etc. are well served. As a rule, these only have to be uploaded once, which is why the limited speed of the HDD is less important here.
Also interesting: Use an external hard drive for your data archives. These are available both as SSD and HDD. With these small, portable data storage devices, you always have everything you need with you.
Conclusion: SSD vs. HDD – which one is ideal for gamers?
As you have probably already recognized, the decision between SSD vs. HDD is always an individual one . But especially if you spend long periods of time in front of your PC and want your games to load quickly, then the solid-state drive is definitely the better choice. If, on the other hand, you are more of a casual gamer and use your computer mainly to back up data, then the HDD can be a reasonable alternative – especially when you look at the price-performance ratio.