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SSD Comparison vs Hybrid Drive vs HDD

October 15, 2017

SSD Comparison vs Hybrid Drive vs HDD

As SSD technology continues to grow in popularity, the reciprocal relationship between growing market interest and industry innovation is leading to SSDs that meet users’ demands better than ever before. Yet there are still those hard disk drive (HDD) loyalists who cite such advantages as price and storage capacity as reasons to keep storing data on HDDs. Thus, HDDs remain more popular as enterprise servers than SSDs, at least for the moment.

But there is also a third choice when it comes to local storage solutions—the hybrid drive. Hybrid drives, as their name implies, seek to harness the high points of both SSD and HDD technology in order to create a drive that is the best of both worlds.

So should a customer go with an old standby like the HDD, the new cutting-edge technology of an SSD, or a hybrid drive that purports to be something in between? This SSD comparison to hybrid and HDD will help explain which of these three types of storage solutions will best suit a customer’s needs. 

SSDs: The Solution with Speed

SSDs have caught on over the past few years because they can greatly exceed the speeds of traditional HDDs. Whereas HDDs store data by reading and writing to a spinning mechanical disk, SSDs have no moving parts. Therefore, physical limitations like friction do not apply to SSD storage. The ability of SSDs to read and write data at blazing fast speeds has increased markedly over the past few years, as controller technology has also moved forward in order to allow SSDs to reach their full speed potential. This has made SSDs hugely popular in markets where speed in the manipulation of massive amounts of data and gigantic files is a necessity, markets such as the gamer market and the professional designer market.

SSDs are also known for their resistance to damage. While the spinning disk and read-and-write heads of HDDs can be damaged by jostling or heat, SSDs are much less likely to be damaged—and lose data—due to physical trauma.  

HDDs: Capacity on a Budget

Classic HDDs were the standard for home computing long before SSDs hit the consumer market, and they have achieved certain advantages alongside their longevity. Perhaps the most important is that, simply put, they’re cheaper. The per-MB cost of an HDD ends up being quite a bit less than an SSD. They also have higher drive capacities, and so they remain popular as storage solutions in cases where frequent, fast drive access isn’t a priority, but mass amounts of data need to be kept and organized.

Because HDDs have been around for so long, file recovery technology for crashed HDDs is far ahead of SSD recovery technology, another advantage that HDD advocates point to. Though, as with all things SSD, the more popular SSDs get, the more development goes into them, and the better the tools to manage tasks like file recovery become.

Hybrid Drives: The Best of Both Worlds?

SSDs have the speed, HDDs have the capacity, and hybrid drives try to do both. Hybrids store a certain amount of data that needs to be accessed quickly to flash memory like an SSD and then write the larger chunk of the data, which doesn’t require fast access, to an HDD-style spinning disk. 

Which is the Choice for Your Customer?

There are advantages and disadvantages to each form of storage. SSDs can be pricey, but their speed is beyond compare, and their durability is top-notch. HDDs can give a customer bigger capacities on a budget and provide better recovery options, but are more prone to damage from external sources. Hybrid technology shows promise, but it’s newer than even SSDs, and the disparate ways that hybrids combine SSDs and HDDs can mean a lot of variance and a lot of unknowns.

In light of this, having a conversation with a customer about the ups and downs of all available storage solutions is a good way to determine which drive will suit the customer’s needs.

Which drives—SSDs, HDDs, or hybrids—have you seen the best performance from?