Everyone’s talking about SSDs nowadays. Laptop manufacturers claim their newest SSD-equipped models not only boot faster, but also run much smoother, longer and cooler. Computer enthusiasts swear by their new SSD drives. Apple’s been putting SSDs into all their MacBook Airs since 2010 and now offers solid state drives as an option for MacBook Pro. Still, the eternal SSD vs HDD fight goes on. HDD supporters say that until SSD prices go down, traditional hard drives are still the first choice for any computer user. SSD adopters say they will never go back to the oh-so-20th-century hard drive. Let’s see what is true.

SSDs have two distinctive features that differentiate them from traditional HDD drives:

  1. Solid State Drives use flash memory to store data instead of a spinning disk found in HDD drives.
  2. Solid State Drives have no moving parts, unlike HDDs where movable heads are used to read or write data off and on the spinning platters.

So, what that means to you as a consumer?

Being FLASH MEMORY BASED, SSDs have much lower access time and latency than a traditional hard drive. Thus:

  • Your operating system installs and boots FASTER. Much faster in fact;
  • Your applications install and START IN HALF THE TIME or less. Resource-intensive applications like Photoshop or games start in a fraction of a time it used to take. Smaller apps start an instant you click the icon;
  • COPYING FILES takes less time;
  • SSDs don’t suffer from defragmentation – you DON’T NEED TO DEFRAGMENT your solid state disk to keep the performance level high;
  • Flash memory chips are very light, so in effect SSDs are LIGHTER and SMALLER than HDDs – good for portable use;
  • SSDs are usually require only 1/2 or 1/3 the power of HDDs. You save money on your electricity bill and your laptop runs longer.

The fact that SSDs have NO MOVING PARTS means:

  • there’s NO SPIN UP TIME with SSD. Your data is available up to a few seconds faster than with HDD;
  • solid state drives are MORE RELIABLE as there are no moving parts to wear out or malfunction;
  • SSDs are more SHOCK RESISTANT. While it probably still won’t survive a 300-feet fall from the window of your penthouse, there’s a much better to chance that if you drop your disk or step on it, YOUR DATA WILL STAY INTACT;
  • SSDs are QUITE. Very quite. There’s simply nothing in there that can make noise;
  • SSDs run cool. They DON’T GET HOT, unlike HDDs.

Overall, SSDs are the future of computing. But, it’s still a new technology and the cost per GB is much much higher in SSDs than it is in HDDs. A decent 128 GB SSD (like the Crucial one) will cost you around $179 while you could get a 2TB HDD for half the amount. However, once you experience the speed and smoothness that a solid state drive brings to your system, I think you will agree the investment is well worth it.

So, SSD vs HDD – which one is better?

I think Solid State Drive WINS HANDS DOWN in all departments except one – cost. And it’s a big one. So, until the prices for SSDs go down (which is not expected to happen in the nearest future), I would stick to using an SSD as a system drive. Install your operating system and all your applications on it, and store your music, videos and other data on a cheap HDD. Trust me, you’ll be amazed how responsive your system becomes and how much more will you enjoy working with it. I was.

To learn which drives we recommend and how to set them up, read Best SSD For Home Computer: How To Get The Amazing Speed Without Paying Extra