It’s always a debate which is better SSD and HDD in gaming laptops. They both have their uses. However one of them makes gaming on laptops smoother. In this guide, we would discuss the differences between SSD and HDD in gaming laptops. Read through this review to find out what the differences between SSD and HDD in gaming laptops are.
What Storage Options Do I Have?
When you’re trying to choose a storage drive to use for your gaming, it may be challenging to decide between solid-state drives (SSDs) and hard disk drives (HDDs). Although both of these store data, the technology they use is different.
- Hard Disk Drives
Many gamers are content with using hard disk drives (HDDs) for gaming. What is most important is that the drive you choose is fast enough to handle the game’s graphics. It should also have enough space to store the games you want to play. If you get a drive whose storage space is too small, you’ll have to buy an upgrade or keep deleting games when you want to play new ones.
Pros of HDDs
- They are very affordable compared to SSDs. It’s quite common to find an SSD with the same capacity as an HDD cost twice as much. If you’re gaming under a budget, a gaming laptop armed with an HDD will be more affordable than one with an SSD.
- They are very available in the market. External and internal hard disk drives of different storage spaces can be found all over the internet. This is mostly because of how affordable they are.
Cons of HDDs
- Because of how they operate mechanically, HDDs have a slower read-write rate than SSDs. This implies that computers equipped with HDDs take much longer to boot than those with SSDs.
- HDDs have a rotating disk and a magnetic head. These two components make a lot of noise when the drive is in use. This sound may distract you and interrupt your gaming.
Solid State Drives
These are new-generation solid-state storage devices that make use of integrated circuit technology to store data. They typically function as a computer’s secondary storage and use flash memory. Gamers are slowly embracing SSDs and are using them alongside their HDDs. Some have even shifted from HDDs altogether.
Pros of SSDs
- One of the main advantages of using an SSD is its speed. Solid-state drives can be as much as 20 to 100 times faster than generic hard disk drives. This results in faster booting and loading, and in quicker file transfers.
- SSDs don’t have any movable parts. This implies that rattling or dropping it and other physical blows won’t result in the loss of data. This sets them a step ahead of HDDs, which are bound to get damaged rather easily.
Cons of SSDs
- A huge disadvantage of using SSDs is that they tend to have a shorter life span than HDDs. This is because solid-state drives have a set write cycle. This means that you can only erase data from and save new data onto your SSD for a finite number of times. This isn’t the case with the HDDs.
- SSDs are rather expensive. Compared to hard disk drives, SSDs cost much more, making them inaccessible for gamers operating under a budget.
- Solid-state Drives make it quite hard to recover data. This is often because of the encrypted controllers that most of these drives have. If this controller fails, it’s almost impossible to recover lost data.
SSD vs HDD – Which One Is Best For Gaming
The main difference between an SSD vs a hard drive is in how data is stored and accessed.
SSD is much faster and offers significantly better performance when it comes to gaming, particularly in terms of loading times.
HDDs, on the other hand, have a longer lifespan and are much more cost-efficient than high-volume storage solutions.
Solid-state drives have become all the rage in recent years, all thanks to the unprecedented read/write speeds that completely blew traditional hard-disk drives out of the water.
It was not without a good reason that gamers around the world turned to SSDs as the better choice for gaming due to the hands-down superior performance that they offer.
Main Differences Between SSD vs HDD
As we have already stated, SSDs are superior to HDDs when it comes to speed, and there’s no doubt about that. An SSD’s data transfer speed can surpass that of an HDD several times over, although when put in practice, the results will differ from application to application.
However, HDDs and SSDs both work well for gaming. If the HDD has enough capacity to store your games (modern games range from 20GB up to 180GB for a single installation) and is fast enough to support the graphics, you shouldn’t have trouble.
When it comes to gaming, the main benefit of having an SSD instead of an HDD is improved loading times, but the PC is also bound to run smoother overall, with much faster boot times.
As far as the overall life-span is concerned, HDDs tend to last longer than SSDs do. While there is a definite gap in that regard, it’s not one that will concern most users, as hundreds of terabytes would need to be written to the SSD in order to “break” it. Most people will end up upgrading long before they’re even close to hitting that limit.
SSDs don’t have small moving parts such as spinning platters and arms like HDDs which are easily susceptible to damage. SSDs can be bounced around and still keep your important files and information safe. Designed to reliably store your data for years, SSDs offer additional shock and vibration resistance for travel-tested durability if you are gaming on a laptop.
- Capacity and Pricing
Now, we get to what is usually the most important entry on any storage device’s spec sheet – the capacity.
In 2021, both SSDs and HDDs can reach some pretty insane numbers, with the latest cutting-edge SSDs boasting as much as 7.6 TB of storage, though most of them are in the 120 GB – 4 TB range.
Meanwhile, HDDs are mostly confined to the 500 GB – 8 TB range, although models that have as much as 16 TB of storage are readily available for purchase.
However, it’s not just about capacity – it’s also about pricing. Price-per-gigabyte, to be more specific. And in this regard, the HDD is the clear winner.
For example, a 500 GB HDD can cost as little as $20 in 2021, whereas 500 GB SSDs start at around $60. The price gap grows as the storage capacity increases, so a 2 TB HDD will cost about $40 while a 2 TB SSD will cost $200, and a 4 TB HDD can cost about $80, all the while 4 TB SSD models usually start above the $500 price point.
That said, HDDs offer much better value if you need lots of storage.
As we have already mentioned, a solid-state drive has no moving parts. As such, it runs completely silently. In contrast, an HDD is bound to produce a certain amount of noise, but not every HDD is as loud as another.
Ultimately, how loud an HDD is mainly coming down to the following factors:
- RPM – Today, lower-end HDDs start at 5400 rotations per minute while the more performance-oriented variants can go up to 15000 RPM. Naturally, the faster an HDD spins, the noisier it will be.
- Age/damage – Seeing as moving parts are crucial to their functioning, an HDD may become louder over time due to its mechanisms wearing down or because of physical damage.
Why are SSDs useful for laptops?
SSDs are often used in laptops because they’re non-mechanical. Also, solid-state drives require less power, which translates into better battery life. While lower-priced laptops still come with traditional hard drives (it’s one way for manufacturers to minimize their costs), most mid-range to high-end machines come with an SSD.
And while hard disks have moving parts, solid-state drives are shock-resistant. If you drop your laptop, chances are that the read/write head of an old-school hard drive is in motion, which could lead to data failure. This doesn’t happen with SSDs.
But it isn’t always an either/or choice. In some cases, you find “hybrid” computers. The system partition that contains the operating system, application programs, and the most-used files are installed on an SSD. Other data, such as movies, photos, and documents, are stored on a traditional HDD, which is larger and less expensive.
Why Do Some Gaming Laptops Have Both SSD And HDD Storage?
Gaming laptops have both SSD and HDD storage because SSDs are able to load heavy programs such as games a lot faster while HDDs offer more space to store lighter files without significantly increasing the price of the laptop.
It is usually recommended to install the OS and games on the SSD for fast booting and loading and use the HDD for general storage.
We hope that’s cleared up whether you should get a hard drive or SSD for gaming needs. If you’ve made your decision and are going with an SSD, the good news is that they are easy to install yourself. There are many reasons to choose an SSD or pair an SSD with an HDD. Speed, capacity, noise, durability, temperature, and efficiency all make SSDs the preferred choice for gaming.
However, HDDs will still continue to be relevant as storage solutions in the years to come. As mentioned above, they offer much better value when storage is concerned, so they are still good, cost-efficient picks for when capacity is more important than performance.