Choosing Between HDD and SSD for a New Computer

July 12, 2021

Those who are choosing a new computing option, whether for gaming or any other need, have a few important decisions facing them. One of these, a factor that will often set a baseline for many of the other components you choose in your computer, is whether you’re going with a hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid-state drive (SSD) for your file storage needs.

At Xidax, we’re here to help with these and numerous other decisions while you consider any of our desktop computers, laptops, gaming setups, workstations and other high-quality computing products. We’ve assisted clients in determining the ideal setup for their precise needs, from hardware areas like the hard drive to software considerations, accessories like mousepads and keyboards, and numerous others. When choosing between the HDD and SSD for your file storage and other drive needs, what are the various factors you should be considering? Here are several.

Basics and Setup

First and foremost, let’s define both of these items for those who aren’t familiar with them:

  • Hard disk drive (HDD): Several layers of spinning disks that are stored securely within a metal casing. These disks are written to read data at very high speeds.
  • Solid-state drive (SSD): A solid-state storage device that utilizes integrated circuit assemblies as a form of memory, allowing for persistent data storage.

How do these compare in terms of the practical elements you care about for your machine, though? Our next several sections will investigate.

Boot Speed and Failure Rate

When it comes to these basic areas, the SSD tends to hold the advantage. The average boot time of SSDs is just over 23 seconds today, compared to over 62 seconds for the average HDD – this means the SSD is over 2.5 times faster on boot-up, which is a significant factor for some.

And when it comes to general reliability, while both these options are robust, the SSD also holds the edge. Its failure rate is under 0.5% across all models, a stunningly low number. HDD numbers range from 2-5% failure rates depending on the specific model utilized, which means they’re anywhere from four to ten times more likely to fail than the SDD.

Power and Battery Life

Yet another area where SSDs tend to hold an advantage is in the power they draw, plus their battery life. SDDs average about 2-3 watts for usage, leading to a situation where most of them will boost battery by at least 30 minutes – this is especially true for laptops and other portable computing devices. HDDs, on the other hand, have a power draw of 6-7 watts, using more battery for basic operations.

Storage Capacity and Cost

Now, HDDs do still hold some major advantages as well, and storage capacity – plus related costs – is one of these. There are multiple areas of the capacity and cost realm where HDDs are the superior product:

  • Money spent per gigabyte of storage: The best HDDs out there offer high-quality storage for around 2 cents per gigabyte, while the best SDDs are only able to offer this for about 25 cents per gigabyte. In this area, HDDs are over 10 times cheaper on a rate basis.
  • Overall capacity: Standard HDDs tend to come with anywhere from 500 gigabytes to 2 terabytes of data. SSDs, on the other hand, only tend to store between 200 gigabytes and one terabyte.
  • Max capacity: The largest options for HDDs have incredible storage capacity, ranging up to 10 terabytes or even more in some cases. SSDs, though, tend to have a maximum capacity of close to four terabytes, which is limiting for some who are dealing with large quantities of data.


One area where both options hold different advantages over one another comes in the realm of lifespan and durability. When it comes to pure lifespan expectations, particularly for those who are 100% confident they can keep the computer in good condition and avoid damage, the HDD is usually the better option – it will last for decades in optimal conditions, often capable of being repurposed in another machine if needed.

SSDs, on the other hand, will begin losing data and storage capabilities after about a decade, even when kept in the best conditions. On the flip side, though, they are also better at resisting damage through events like drops or other physical impact, meaning they might be preferable for those who need a portable device and want to protect against potential damage.

Size, Noise, Vibration

Many computer users also care quite a bit about these factors, and they’re all areas where SSDs tend to hold some edges:

  • Size: SSDs are much smaller in average size, usually around 2.5 inches. This makes them ideal for laptops and other smaller devices where they might be needed. HDDs average closer to 3.5 inches in size, so they’re tougher to work into smaller options – but may be ideal for larger ones.
  • Noise: SSDs are fantastic for those who need quiet operations – they make no noise and have no moving parts. On the flip side, HDDs create about 27 decibels of noise on average, a level where they can be heard by human ears.
  • Vibration: SSDs are also great for vibration resistance due to their lack of moving parts, which lead to zero vibrations. HDDs have spinning platters that do sometimes lead to vibration.

Manufacturing and Availability

Finally, which of the two is most readily available? The edge here goes to HDDs, which have basically no manufacturing limitations and are incredibly popular on the market – meaning there are many options available at all times. SSDs are more variable when it comes to both price and availability, though this could change in the upcoming months and years as the materials needed for SSDs become more readily available.

For more on choosing between an SSD and HDD for your file storage needs, or to learn about any of our gaming computers or other products, speak to the staff at Xidax today.

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