HDDs vs SSDs: Why defragmentation is still crucial for you
As the leading manufacturer of O&O Defrag, a tool designed to put the pieces of fragmented files back together again, the rising popularity of SSDs is a subject we have been following very closely.
In this blog entry, I would like to present some facts to you. I will also bust a few myths on the topic.
SSDs and HDDs do the same thing – they boot your systems and store your data. So what is the current situation?
- HDDs. The technology hasn’t really changed – moving parts with read and write heads – but the capacity has. The latest 3.5-inch HDDs go up to 4TB, with 2.5-inch drives having a max of 2TB. HDDs are still likely to be found in every household that has a laptop or PC, and similarly in every business, no matter what size.
- SSDs. Non-moving storage flash memory chips store your data, and don’t require constant power to do so. The 2.5-inch SSD capacity currently has a maximum capacity of 1TB. SSDs are a logical extension of flash memory first used in MP3 players and are now found in many Netbooks and Notebooks. This type of storage is gaining in popularity as we all go more mobile.
Advantages/Disadvantages – is one better than the other?
- Price: SSDs are hugely expensive in terms of dollar per GB. For a 1TB internal 2.5-inch drive, a HDD costs about $100. You will pay $900 for a similar SSD. As HDDs are established technology, they will remain less expensive for the near future.
- Capacity: SSDs have a maximum of 1TB, but those are very rare and expensive. More common are 128GB to 500GB SSDs. A PC with a HDD of 500GB is however now considered basic, with 1TB to 4TB drives more the norm.
- Speed: A PC with an SSD will start in seconds, whereas a HDD needs a lot more time.
- Fragmentation: Occurs in HDDs, does not occur in SSDs.
- Durability: As an SSD has no moving parts, it is a little more robust though they do suffer wear over time.
- Availability: Hard drives are much more plentiful. There are many more HDD choices than SSDs from different manufacturers for the same capacities.
- Noise: HDDs are noisier than SSDs as they contain moving parts.
HDDs win on price, capacity, and availability. SSDs are faster, quieter and more robust.
It remains very unclear whether SSDs will totally replace traditional hard drives, especially with shared cloud storage on the scene. The price of SSDs is coming down, but still not enough to totally replace the TB of data that some users have in their PCs, Macs and servers. HDDs will continue to be the preferred storage for years to come. New customers may be buying hardware with SSDs built-in for faster system and program starts, but HDDs will still be the primary choice when it comes to large storage capabilities as needed for music or video files. Especially since the speed advantages of SSDs are of minor importance for video or audio streaming. Existing HDD users will therefore be very reluctant to change a running system, especially across whole networks.
So everything is new, but nothing has changed – at least not dramatically. What does this mean for you? It means you most likely still have HDDs. These HDDs still suffer from fragmented files, slower boot and response times, and hard-working moving parts that wear. So these HDDs still need to be defragmented.
You would like to get more in-depth information about SSDs, their use with Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7 and XP, and what O&O Defrag can do for you? Then read our free Whitepaper: O&O Defrag and SSD (pdf, 116 KB) .
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— Jim Harrison