Whether you’re shopping around for a new computer or simply want to get a new hard disk, you’ll most likely encounter this age-old question: should you get an SSD or an SSHD?
Let’s get the terms sorted out first. SSD stands for “solid state drive”, while SSHD stands for “solid state hybrid drive” (it’s also known as “hybrid hard drive”). As its name implies, an SSD doesn’t have any moving parts. It stores data on its memory chips, unlike a traditional hard disk which uses rotating magnetic platters.
An SSHD, on the other hand, uses both the technologies found in SSDs and mechanical hard disks. It’s essentially a hard drive that has a small-capacity SSD (around 8GB) attached to it, along with a controller chip that decides where data goes. Essentially, frequently used files are cached in the SSD so they’re easier to access, while other files are stored in the hard drive.
If you’re more concerned about having a high-performing laptop or desktop computer, you’ll want to opt for an SSD. Compared to an SSHD, an SSD has faster read/write speeds as well as faster booting speeds. This difference in performance is noticeable if you usually use heavy programs, such as photo or video editing software or video games with intricate graphics.
This doesn’t mean, though, that SSHDs are super slow. They’re still fast, especially if you only use your computer to browse the web or check your emails. But, if you copy a large amount of data to your device, your SSHD’s cache can get overloaded and you’ll notice slower boot speeds.
It’s also important to note that SSHDs learn which files are more significant by the number of times they’re used. If you constantly hop from one video game to another, for example, you’re essentially introducing many new files to your computer, and its caching system won’t be able to determine whether these files are important or not.
Both SSDs and SSHDs are highly sturdy. However, SSDs are considered to be more durable simply because they have no moving parts. This makes them more difficult to break and allows them to withstand shock and temperature extremes. This is an important thing to consider particularly if you’re buying a new laptop (or a new hard disk for your laptop) and you’re prone to dropping things.
If your main priority is to get the biggest bang for buck, your best option is SSHDs. This comes from the fact they remain relatively affordable even when you go high up the memory capacity scale. SSDs, on the other hand, have reasonable prices at around 32GB to 64GB, but their price tags go up when you want capacities that are higher than that. A 1TB SSD, for example, can cost up to five times more than a 1TB SSHD.
Which One to Choose?
The answer to this question depends on your specific needs and budget. If you own a desktop computer, you’ll probably find that you can experiment with either an SSD or an SSHD or even both since you have plenty of room to install several drives. But, if you have a laptop, you’ll need to choose just one since you have limited space. Opt for an SSD if performance is an important factor for you, or go for an SSHD if you want to have more storage space without spending too much.