Disks are, next to RAM, one of the elements that can be easily replaced in most laptops. This is very important because it has a direct impact on how much space we will have for storing files, photos and installing programs.
In addition, the drive also determines how efficiently and smoothly the laptop works. Installing a fast SSD is an easy way to speed up and upgrade your laptop. Therefore, when Deciding which laptop drive to choose, it is worth getting to know the available types of drives in more detail.
You can learn more about hard drives in the guide: Which hard drive to choose?
- What are the types of laptop drives?
- Laptop HDD – how does it work?
- SSD drive for laptop – what should you know?
- What are the types of laptop drives?
The hard drive plays a crucial role in the computer. Our data and operating system are stored there. The capacity of the disk depends on how many files, movies, music or games the computer will be able to store at the same time.
A laptop hard drive can be made in one of three technologies:
- HDD drives – magnetic plate disk (classic)
- SSD drives – solid state drive (modern)
- SSHDs – hybrid disk drive with additional SSD memory (currently practically not used)
Each type of hard disk has advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of a specific disk depends largely on the budget we have to buy the disk. Below, we discuss the features of each solution and help you choose the best drive for your laptop.
Laptop HDD – how does it work?
HDDs, or traditional disk drives, write data on a spinning platter. This type of recording has been proven for many years, but it is hard to expect major revolutions from this technology. Manufacturers can only increase the capacity of the disks or equip them with a larger cache, slightly improving the speed of writing and reading files.
Laptops use 2.5-inch drives. A 2.5-inch laptop drive can run at 5,400 or 7,200 rpm. The higher the speed, the more efficient the drive is.
Advantages of HDD drives
Lower cost compared to SSD of the same capacity
It’s not hard to find a 2TB or 3TB platter at a reasonable price. Such a capacity is a lot of data, which is of particular importance in modern realities, where file sizes are also constantly growing.
Traditional HDDs provide the right amount of space, and at the same time cost significantly less than SSDs of similar capacity.
Large disk capacity
Games today look much more realistic, but all this translates into much larger file sizes. Similarly, movies in which the standard today is high resolution Full HD, and recordings from many modern smartphones are even 4K, which take up to four times more space than Full HD recordings.
Also photos taken with smartphones, with high-end cameras with more megapixels, can take up twice as much space. All this makes the files weigh more and we need more disk space to store our data.
Disadvantages of HDDs
The disadvantages include, above all, much lower performance, which results in a longer system startup, loading and running of the application. In addition, slightly louder operation, the need to perform regular defragmentation to maintain good system performance, heating up and greater susceptibility to failures and damage.
- Slower performance – frequent defragmentation required
- Louder operation
- Heating up
- Susceptibility to failures and damage
SSD drive for laptop – what should you know?
The SSD hard drive is a consequence of the development of flash memory, initially available in the well-known form of a flash drive. SSD laptop disk comes in several variants, differing in the type of connector and the way of mounting in the laptop.
The SATA SSD is packed in a casing and looks like a regular 2.5-inch laptop drive. The M.2 drive, on the other hand, is much smaller, does not have a housing and resembles a RAM bone.
SSD variants and the speed of writing and reading
The most important feature that characterizes various types of SSDs and determines their price is the speed of writing and reading. It can be from 250 to 1000 MB / s and more.
In SATA III disks, the read and write speed is up to 6 Gb / s, while in M.2 SSDs it is up to 32 Gb / s.
Of course, these are only theoretical values, and to achieve them, the laptop drive itself also needs to be able to run fast enough.
Advantages of SSD drives
Semiconductor disks are superior to magnetic disks in practically every field. But it comes at a price – literally. An example comparison of the prices of HDDs and SSDs with a capacity of 1 TB is already provided above. However, if we have the right budget, there is nothing to think about, because SSDs are practically only advantages.
In an SSD drive we are dealing with much faster read and write speeds. The operating system boots up in flash, games install in a blink of an eye, applications load quickly. You have to find out for yourself about the comfort of such speed.
One thing is for sure, whoever tries to work with SSDs will have a hard time going back to magnetic disks.
- Fast reading and writing
- No mechanical, moving parts – they do not generate noise
- Lower energy consumption – extended battery life
- Shock resistance
- Greater tolerance to high and low temperatures
- Disadvantages of SSDs
Some solid state drives have the downside of having a limited number of data write cycles. Each data write consumes the flash memory cells and shortens the life of the SSD. If we are going to use specific applications that do a lot of write operations to files then SSD may not be the best choice. SSD memory cells under such conditions can wear out quickly.
Limited number of data write cycles
SSD data recovery can be more complicated than HDD data recovery
Who is a laptop with SSD for?
A laptop with an SSD disk is a great solution for anyone who appreciates convenience, speed and does not intend to write data on it intensively. With average use and an average of 10 GB of data stored per day, an SSD drive – depending on the model – can last up to 150 years. However, it is enough to increase the amount of data to 1 TB per day and the disk lifetime drops to 1.5 years.
In addition, an SSD drive can breathe new life into older hardware and give the impression that we are dealing with a completely new device. Therefore, it can be safely recommended:
- For owners of older laptops
- For those looking for a way to speed up their computer
Or maybe an alternative, i.e. an SSHD disk?
There is also a third solution, an SSHD, or hybrid drive. Which combines the advantages of HDD and SSD solutions to some extent. Such a laptop disk consists of both high-capacity HDD platters and additional SSD memory. A specialized disk controller analyzes the use of individual files and transfers the most frequently used ones to SSD memory. Which ensures quick access to them and improves the comfort of use. The files that we refer to less frequently will be stored on a large HDD. Such a solution significantly increases the speed of reading files, but does not affect the speed of writing. Nowadays, with SSD prices falling, SSHDs are no longer popular.