Hard Drives VS Solid-State Drives

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By Noah Labrecque.

Hard drives function using a ‘head’ that writes data by changing the magnetic field of a certain part of a disc inside the drive. To read data, it detects the magnetic polarization of a certain part of the disk. If the polarization is switched then it reads a 1, if not then it reads a 0.

In contrast, Solid-state drives function more like ram, storing bits and bytes using electrons that are added and removed from floating-gate transistors, but explaining what they are is beyond the scope of this essay.

One upside to SSDs is life span. They typically have a significantly longer life span than HDDs and can last a lifetime if you don’t write to them a lot. SSDs have a limited number of write cycles, which are determined by the capacity of the drive, whereas HDDs can write just as much as they can read. But don’t worry, your SSD won’t die on you any time soon, because an average user writes so little data that it will last 10+ years.

If you want mass storage, the HDD is probably the best choice. However, if you want super fast file transfer speeds and quick boot times, then go with the SSD. If you want the best of both worlds, then you can get both and alternate the one you use based on the task.

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