SSD vs HDD: What Do I Need to Know?

Solid-state drives (SSD) and hard-disk drives (HDD) are two different types of computer hard drives, used for “permanent” storage of digital data and applications. This means that these drives will store information even when no electrical power is provided. Both are available as internal and external drives, and can be used for primary or supplemental storage. It is important to note that no digital storage is truly permanent, and that you should always back up important information in at least two places, if not three: locally, on the Cloud, and externally.

What is HDD?

An HDD is a digital storage device that features a magnetized metal disc. When this disc spins, a digital read/write head scans the disc to access information stored on it. If you ever wondered why your laptop sounds like an airplane preparing for takeoff on boot up, or why your computer constantly hums, it is the spinning disc in your hard drive. HDDs are common in desktop computer setups and laptops, as they offer affordable and reliable storage.

What is SSD?

An SSD is a digital storage device that features multiple interconnected flash memory sticks. Unlike an HDD, an SSD features no moving parts. Rather, it works in many ways just like your thumb drive does, except better. Read and write speeds are faster, total storage capacity is greater, and reliability is greatly improved over standard thumb drives. Because there are no moving parts, the packaging of SSDs is often very compact. This makes SSDs common in laptop and tablet applications.

What is the Advantage of SSD?

The biggest advantage of a solid-state drive is its simplicity. There are no moving parts, which means there's very little to break. This makes SSDs incredibly reliable and robust. In fact, solid-state drives can withstand up to 1,500G, which means they can withstand the daily rigors of your routine with little to no risk of being damaged.

The other advantage that SSDs offer is performance. Because there is no spinning disc, read and write speeds are incredibly fast and the risk of data fragmentation is eliminated. A typical solid-state drive will outperform a hard-disc drive in most situations. Whereas an HDD may require a minute or two (or three) to fully boot, an SSD can boot in seconds, and once up and running, will operate at faster speeds.

What is the Advantage of HDD?

In the battle of HDD vs SSD, the esteemed hard-disc drive doesn't go down without a fight. Because hard-disc drives have been in use for so long, they have proven their effectiveness – this means they are reliable and affordable. In cost per storage, most HDDs undercut solid-state drives by half. Prices will vary, of course, but you can usually get twice as much storage, if not more, as an SSD for the same price.

Not only do HDDs offer more affordable storage, but in many cases, they offer more total storage as well. For a spinning hard-disc drive, 500 GB of storage is extremely common; in fact, it's quite easy to find HDDs with several terabytes of storage capacity. Though SSDs with similar storage capacities are available, they are extremely rare and quite expensive. For the person looking to back up thousands of songs, an extensive digital photo library, or Full HD video files, the HDD may be the better bet.

How Can I Tell if a Lenovo Laptop Has an SSD or HDD Hard Drive?

You can find information on the types of hard drives that are available on both Lenovo's Laptop Series pages (for example, the Lenovo ThinkPad 11e Series) and on individual product pages in the Tech Specs tabs. Simply look for the acronyms SSD and HDD. Next to these acronyms, you will find the storage capacity of the drive in gigabytes or terabytes. In many cases, Lenovo's offerings can be had with either hard drive.

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