Why do laptops not have HDD anymore?

Hard disk drives (HDDs) used to be the primary storage device found in laptops. HDDs store data on spinning magnetic disks, allowing you to store large amounts of data inexpensively. However, in recent years solid state drives (SSDs) have almost entirely replaced HDDs in laptops. SSDs store data on flash memory chips rather than magnetic disks, providing several key advantages over HDDs.

This article will examine the various reasons why SSDs have become the standard storage device for laptops, rather than traditional HDDs.


HDDs are slower than SSDs for booting up and loading applications and files. This is because HDDs rely on spinning platters and a read/write head to locate and access data, while SSDs access data instantly from flash memory chips [1]. An SSD has no moving parts so it can access data faster. The typical read/write speeds of an HDD are between 80-160MB/s while SSDs can reach 500MB/s or higher

SSD read speeds can reach up to 550MB/s and write speeds around 500MB/s for high performance models using the PCIe NVMe interface [2]. HDDs have sequential read/write speeds of around 100-160MB/s over the older SATA interface. This means SSDs can load programs and files much faster than HDDs.

Benchmark tests show SATA SSDs can be 2-4 times faster than HDDs for booting Windows or copying files. NVMe SSDs are even faster with up to 5-8x speed improvements over HDDs.

Size and Weight

SSDs are significantly lighter and smaller than traditional HDDs. This is an important advantage for laptops where portability and thinness are critical.

The average 2.5″ HDD weighs around 90-100 grams, while a 2.5″ SSD weighs approximately 50-70 grams (Source). SSDs don’t contain any moving parts like the spinning platter and motor in HDDs, allowing SSDs to be lighter.

Similarly, SSDs take up less physical space. A typical 2.5″ SSD is just 7mm thick, while 2.5″ HDDs are generally 9.5mm or 12.5mm thick. The smaller size of SSDs enables thinner and lighter laptop designs (Source).

By switching to lightweight SSDs instead of traditional HDDs, laptop manufacturers can create more portable and compact devices.


SSDs tend to be much more durable and resistant to damage compared to traditional HDDs with moving parts. As Backblaze notes, HDDs contain spinning platters and moving read/write heads that are susceptible to damage from vibrations, movement, or drops. A hard knock or drop at the wrong angle can cause the heads to crash into the platters and destroy the drive. SSDs have no moving parts and are better able to withstand shocks, vibrations, and drops without failing.

In fact, according to Avast, SSDs are much more durable than HDDs when it comes to shock, vibration, temperature, and other external forces. Their solid state design makes them very shock and vibration resistant. HDDs can fail due to a single drop or knock, whereas SSDs are less prone to damage if accidentally dropped while in use or transported. For laptops that undergo frequent movement, SSDs are a safer bet for preserving your data and avoiding mechanical failure issues.

Power Efficiency

SSDs consume significantly less power compared to HDDs, which is crucial for battery-powered devices like laptops. According to testing by Windowscentral, SSDs have a power draw range of 5-20 watts, while HDDs draw between 5.7-9.4 watts. Reddit users also report that SSDs use less than 10% of the power of HDDs for similar sized drives. The lower power requirements of SSDs lead to longer battery life on laptops.


One of the key differences between HDDs and SSDs is noise levels. HDDs rely on spinning magnetic disks, which generate audible noise from the mechanical motion. In contrast, SSDs have no moving parts and are completely silent.

The noise from HDDs comes from the spinning platters and the movement of the read/write heads. Hard drives produce a low humming sound that can range from 20 to 36 decibels depending on the model and whether the drive is idling or actively reading/writing data [1]. While not extremely loud, this persistent hum can be distracting for some users, especially in quiet environments.

For applications where minimal noise is desired, such as home theaters, bedrooms, or recording studios, SSDs are the clear choice. Their silent operation generates no audible distraction. This makes SSDs better suited for quiet computing applications.

When shopping for a hard drive, noise ratings are an important consideration for consumers who value silent computing. Lower decibel ratings generally indicate quieter operation. Models specifically designed for low-noise environments, like the WD Red Plus, can operate more quietly than standard HDDs [2].


SSD prices have fallen dramatically over the past decade, while HDD prices have remained relatively flat. According to Disk Prices, a 1TB HDD for laptops costs around $50, which is similar to prices 5-10 years ago. However, a 1TB SSD now costs around $100, whereas in 2012 a 120GB SSD cost over $100. So SSD prices have dropped over 80% in the past decade.

Analysis by Reddit users predicts that SSD and HDD price parity for laptop drives could occur around 2025-2030 if current trends continue. The significantly lower price of SSDs compared to the past has been a key factor in their adoption in laptops and elimination of HDDs.


HDDs have moving internal parts like actuator arms and platters that are susceptible to mechanical failures from events like physical shocks or head crashes. Head crashes occur when the read/write head makes contact with the platter, destroying data (Source: https://www.backblaze.com/blog/how-reliable-are-ssds/).

SSDs have no moving parts so they are less prone to mechanical failure. However, SSDs can still fail from issues like write wear or controller failure. Overall, research suggests SSDs may have lower annual failure rates compared to HDDs. Backblaze found enterprise SATA SSDs had an annual failure rate around 1.5%, while HDDs failed around 1.7-2.7% annually (Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/are-ssds-more-reliable-than-hdds-this-research-may-have-the-answer/).


SSDs offer much better security than HDDs in several ways. SSDs have built-in encryption that allows users to password protect their data (Source). This prevents unauthorized access if the drive is lost or stolen. SSDs also support rapid sanitization, meaning the data can be completely erased almost instantly. This makes recovering deleted files nearly impossible.

In contrast, HDDs are much more vulnerable when it comes to security and data recovery. Because of how HDDs store data magnetically on platters, it is possible for skilled data recovery specialists to recover some or all deleted files from an HDD (Source). HDDs also lack built-in encryption in most models, making the data readily accessible if the physical drive falls into the wrong hands.

For these reasons, SSDs are considered more secure for sensitive data, while HDDs remain vulnerable to data recovery attacks.


It’s clear that laptop manufacturers have made the shift to solid state drives for several compelling reasons.

SSDs are dramatically faster than HDDs, allowing for quick boot times and program launches. The lack of moving parts also makes SSDs more durable and shock-resistant.

Furthermore, the smaller size and lower power draw of SSDs allow for lighter and thinner laptop designs with improved battery life. Their silent operation is another plus.

While SSDs used to be quite expensive, falling prices have helped make them standard in laptops from budget models to premium devices. With their speed, durability, efficiency and reliability advantages, SSDs represent the future for laptop storage. Moving forward, we can expect HDDs to continue fading from laptops as SSD technology improves.