• SSD, SSHD, and HDD
SSD, SSHD, and HDD

How to Choose Between SSD, SSHD, and HDD Storage for Better Laptop Performance

HDDs offer capacity and low price. SSDs are fast. SSHDs combine the best of both HDD and SSD.

Learn more about the best storage options to upgrade your laptop performance.

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Are you struggling to understand the difference between a hard disk drive (HDD), a solid state drive (SSD), and a solid state hybrid drive (SSHD)? There are a number of important factors to consider, so it’s best to choose the option that addresses your specific needs.

Below, we break down the key criteria to help you decide which drive is right for you.

Form factor

Without any moving parts, SSDs are the thinnest of all available storage options. They're especially good for thin and light PCs and more complicated, industrial designs. For standard notebooks, SSDs are available in 7mm heights. HDDs are available in standard 7mm and 15mm designs.

Capacity

Hard drives are workhorses when it comes to capacity. The storage size of hard drives is exponentially larger than solid state drives, and current capacities for consumer hard drives—currently reaching up to 12TB—are anticipated to continue growing. Solid state hybrid drives also offer maximum capacity points at affordable prices while solid state drives are only affordable at lower capacities. High-capacity SSDs continue to be pricey.

Speed

SSDs provide peak performance for booting and high read/write performance for computing that requires enhanced multitasking capabilities. SSHDs can provide near-SSD performance when booting, launching, and loading. HDDs usually provide ample performance for the majority of PC platforms shipping today.

Price

Low-capacity SSDs can be affordable in the 250GB to 500GB range. But high-capacity SSDs are very expensive, especially when measured by cost per gigabyte. HDDs provide the lowest cost per gigabyte. SSHDs provide a cost per gigabyte that's slightly higher than HDDs.

Battery life

Solid state drives are the most power efficient. Solid state hybrid drives come in at a close second for power efficiency, since they frequently spin down more often than hard drives. In general, storage will not impact battery life in a laptop computer by more than about 10%. The processor power and LCD screen are most responsible for draining the battery.

Reliability

Failure rates on SSD, HDD, and SSHD technologies have very similar ratings. SSHDs use both flash and HDD portions more efficiently than if they were separate, so they are considered extremely reliable.

Durability

Solid state drives are viewed as more durable due to their design. Without moving parts, they can withstand higher extremes of shock, drop, and temperature.

Summary

When upgrading laptop storage, choosing between HDD, SSD, and SSHD technology can seem like a tough decision. Perhaps the crucial question to ask is: How can you get maximum capacity that's nearly as fast as solid state but fits within your budget? Overall, solid state hybrid drives can provide the best combination of performance characteristics and budget considerations to meet your needs.