Which is best SSD or HDD in laptop?

When it comes to choosing between a solid state drive (SSD) or hard disk drive (HDD) for your laptop, there are a few key factors to consider: performance, capacity, price, durability and form factor. SSDs tend to have much faster read/write speeds, lower latency, better performance and greater durability. However, HDDs offer more storage capacity per dollar spent. Let’s take a deeper look at the pros and cons of each type of drive.


SSDs are significantly faster than HDDs when it comes to data transfer speeds and latency. An SSD can achieve sequential read/write speeds of up to 600MB/s, while HDDs max out at around 160MB/s. For random access speeds, SSDs perform up to 100x faster than HDDs. Faster data transfer means faster boot times, quicker application launches, and overall snappier system performance.

SSDs don’t rely on moving parts and magnetic disks to read/write data. There are no mechanical delays, allowing data to be accessed almost instantly. HDDs use physical read/write heads that need to move into position over the disk platters every time data is accessed. This introduces a delay that is virtually non-existent with SSDs.

The performance difference is especially noticeable when it comes to booting up your system or launching programs. An operating system boot can take 30 seconds or more on an HDD, but often less than 10 seconds on an SSD. Large programs and games will also load much quicker off an SSD.

For most laptop users, the speed advantage of SSDs makes them the clear winner over HDDs when it comes to performance.


HDDs are available in much higher capacities than SSDs. HDD capacities range from 250GB to 4TB for laptop drives. SSD capacities max out at around 2TB for laptops. You can get a 2.5″ HDD with up to 4TB of storage for around $100 these days. A 2TB SSD costs around $200.

The vastly higher storage densities of HDDs make them better suited for bulk storage needs. If you require high capacity storage for large multimedia libraries or other data repositories, an HDD is likely the way to go. SSDs are better suited to use as a primary drive for your operating system and applications.

Here is a comparison of common HDD and SSD laptop storage capacities and prices:

Drive Type Capacity Price
HDD 1TB $45
SSD 1TB $100
HDD 2TB $60
SSD 2TB $200
HDD 4TB $100
SSD 2TB (max) $200

As you can see, HDDs provide much more storage capacity per dollar compared to SSDs. If you need high amounts of storage, an HDD is the clear winner.


As the table above shows, HDDs are significantly less expensive than SSDs for an equivalent capacity. Per gigabyte, SSDs cost approximately 5-10x more than HDDs. The price gap does narrow at higher capacities, but HDDs maintain a noticeable price advantage.

SSD pricing has been steadily declining over time, helping to drive adoption. But HDDs remain the budget drive option for mass storage. If overall system cost is a major factor in your laptop purchase, an HDD makes sense to help save money.

SSDs do provide huge performance benefits, but you’ll pay a premium for the faster speeds. HDDs are a good budget option if your storage needs exceed 1TB and you can accept slower transfer rates.


SSDs are inherently more durable than HDDs since they have no moving parts. HDDs rely on spinning platters and read/write heads that are mechanical and fragile by nature. Dropping or jarring a laptop can cause physical damage and failure in an HDD.

SSDs are better suited for laptops that may get moved around frequently. Their lack of moving parts gives them stronger shock and vibration resistance. SSDs can still fail, but they are less prone to physical damage than spinning hard disk drives.

Another consideration is lifespan. HDDs will eventually wear out over time from constant spinning and magnetic friction. SSDs have higher write endurance ratings and should outlast HDDs, although gradual wear does still occur on NAND flash memory cells.

For laptops that will experience a lot of motion or transport, SSDs are the safer bet for long term reliability.

Form Factor

One advantage of SSDs is their smaller size and lighter weight compared to HDDs. A typical 2.5″ SSD weighs around 30-80g. An equivalent HDD weighs 90-150g. This difference of 50-100g can be significant in smaller and lighter ultrabooks or laptops.

SSDs also allow manufacturers to create thinner laptop designs since the drives are smaller in height. HDDs require more space with the extra height needed for the spinning platter mechanism.

For premium and slim laptop designs, SSDs are enabling factors to achieving the desired size and weight profiles. However, for standard laptops, the form factor differences are less noticeable between SSDs and HDDs.


HDDs generate noise from spinning platters and moving read/write heads. The mechanical nature of their operation creates audible clicks, spinning and whirring sounds. While the noise output isn’t extremely loud, it is noticeable in quiet environments.

SSDs have no moving parts, making them completely silent in operation. This can be advantageous in quiet classrooms or meetings where a spinning HDD may be distracting.

Overall, this may be a minor factor, but SSDs are preferable if you want absolutely silent and noiseless operation.

Failure Rate

Both SSDs and HDDs can eventually fail. However, some studies have shown SSDs to have a higher annualized failure rate than HDDs. One report by Backblaze found a 1.8% failure rate for SSDs versus a 1.7% failure rate for HDDs.

The failure rates are fairly close. HDDs are susceptible to mechanical failures and physical shock damage. SSDs don’t face the same mechanical risks, but still have wear and tear on NAND cells to contend with. No drive is bulletproof.

To ensure against data loss, it’s recommended to have backups of critical data on any laptop, regardless of running an SSD or HDD. Both drive types can fail unexpectedly, although SSDs may have a slight edge in reliability and lifespan when used in laptops.


SSDs offer a security advantage over HDDs due to faster and more complete data erasure. When deleting files from an HDD, data remnants can still remain on the physical platters unless the whole drive is wiped. Data erasure on SSDs is generally quicker and more complete.

SSDs offer built-in encryption capabilities as well, providing another layer of security. The lack of moving parts also makes SSDs more resistant to physical tampering or disassembly attempts.

For users prioritizing data security and privacy on a laptop, SSDs are better equipped to fully erase sensitive information without leaving recoverable remnants behind.


HDDs maintain a clear advantage in availability and supply. The technology has existed for decades, providing immense manufacturing capacity and scale. HDDs are produced by large storage companies like Seagate, WD and Toshiba in very high volumes.

SSD production is dominated by Samsung, Micron and SK Hynix. While supply has increased, there are periodic shortages where SSD inventory becomes constrained. HDDs don’t face the same supply challenges.

For laptop manufacturers and buyers, HDDs provide a reliable and consistent supply source. SSD availability is more prone to fluctuations depending on market conditions. This needs to be factored into laptop designs and production schedules.


Most laptops allow fairly straightforward swapping of HDDs for SSDs or larger HDDs. HDDs and SSDs use standard connectors like SATA or M.2, making drive replacements and upgrades easy in many cases.

Users can start with a lower capacity HDD in a laptop, then upgrade to a larger SSD later on. The upgrade process for HDDs and SSDs is essentially the same for compatible laptops.

The ease of upgradeability gives users flexibility. Either drive type can be upgraded down the road. For further futureproofing, it’s best to choose laptops designed for simple drive swapping.

Power and Battery Life

SSDs are more power efficient than HDDs, which need to spin constantly and move read/write heads. SSDs draw significantly lower idle and active power compared to HDDs.

The lower power draw of SSDs can result in slightly longer battery life during everyday laptop use. However, the battery life differences are generally modest and depend on workload. For light workloads, SSDs may provide 30-60 extra minutes of running time versus HDDs.

For gaming or intensive workstation use where GPUs and CPUs are heavily utilized, the power savings of SSDs are less impactful on overall battery life. But for general productivity use, SSDs can provide a small bump in time away from a charger.


SSDs outperform HDDs in key areas like speed, durability and power efficiency. However, HDDs maintain advantages in storage capacity and price. Here is a final summary of the key differences:

  • SSDs are 5-10x faster than HDDs in data transfers and access times. Performance is much snappier.
  • HDDs offer 2-4x higher maximum capacities than SSDs. Ideal for bulk storage.
  • SSDs are more durable and shock-resistant with no moving parts.
  • HDDs are significantly cheaper per GB compared to SSDs.
  • SSDs use less power, extending battery life a small degree.
  • HDDs generate noise from spinning disks and moving heads.
  • Failure rates are low for both, but backups are still recommended.
  • SSDs excel in laptops, while HDDs work well as external bulk storage.

For most laptop users, an SSD is recommended as the primary boot drive for superior speed and responsiveness. Use a large capacity HDD in an external enclosure for additional storage of media libraries and other files where speed is less critical.

An ideal laptop configuration is a fast 250GB or 500GB SSD for the operating system and applications, paired with a 1TB or 2TB external HDD for bulk data storage. This balances performance, capacity and cost. Heavy multimedia users may want to use both an SSD and an internal HDD in the laptop itself, with the SSD as the boot drive.

In summary, SSDs are the performance drive of choice for laptops, while HDDs are an affordable storage solution for bulk data. For the best experience, use both an SSD and a large external HDD to get the speed of solid state paired with the capacity of mechanical hard disk drives.