HDD and SSD — What’s the difference between the two storage types?

ssd hdd difference differences storage

While storage devices are only a small part of PC builds, choosing the wrong type of storage can severely impact performance. So, we’ll be going over the HDD and SSD storage types, difference between each, and what you should go for when building a PC.

An HDD (hard disk drive) is a device that stores data on circular disks with a magnetic coating. A mechanical arm moves across the surface of the rotating disks to read and write data. HDDs were once the most popular storage device thanks to their affordability and reliability.


On the other hand, SSDs (solid state drives), do not contain moving mechanical parts. Instead, they rely on integrated circuits to store data. This not only makes them much faster than their HDD rival, but also quieter and more durable. SSDs have a much higher price (per gigabyte) than standard hard drives which made them a luxury to have in previous years. Thankfully, SSD prices have been dropping each year making, them more accessible and affordable — even for gamers on a budget.

In addition, SSDs come in all shapes and sizes with different form factors such as SATA and and M.2, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Your choice of storage size and type will depend on your budget and what you build supports. However, the important and major difference to note is that any SSD should easily outpace a mechanical HDD regardless of what interface type you go for.

HDD SSD what's the difference guide

Which one should you choose?

Nowadays, using an SSD has become essential if you want to benefit from quicker boot times and reduced load times while gaming. The good news is you don’t necessarily have to choose it and completely disregard traditional hard drives.

HDDs still have a place in modern builds and can work especially well when paired with an SSD. This hybrid approach allows you to run Windows and games from the faster SSD, while also having a cheaper drive for other purposes. While you probably wouldn’t want to use them as your main boot drive, HDDs are still excellent for storing large files and backing up your data.

Michael Feghali
About The Author
Michael is a lifelong gamer who plays just about anything from RPGs to sports games. When he's not writing about games and tech, you can find him struggling to rank up in Rocket League or messing around in Destiny raids.