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GB, TB, CPU, SSD, HDD. Whoa.

When it comes to purchasing a new computer, wading through the alphabet soup of abbreviations is confusing. One of the most common questions IT support in the healthcare industry answers is, “What are the differences between HDD and SSD?”


What Exactly are HDD and SDD?

The acronym HDD stands for Hard Disk Drive. Hard Disk Drives have been the standard way to store data for long-term use for over 60 years. A Hard Disk Drive works by using a mechanical arm to read and write data on the surface of a rotating metal disc. The speed of the disc turns and how fast the arm can move, read and write determines how quickly a computer can retrieve or record information. Typical HDDs spin at 5400 or 7200 RPM, but some HDDs can reach up to 15,000 RPM.

An SSD, or a Solid State Drive, is a much more modern computer storage solution than HDD. Unlike an HDD, an SSD type of storage device does not have a spinning disc or a mechanical arm to read and write information. Instead, an SSD depends on a controller to locate, read, and write data on a microchip. Unlike an HDD’s metal disc, an SSD uses NAND-based flash memory which stores the information directly on microchips.

Which Type of Storage Device is the Best For You?

Now that you have some idea about the physical differences between an SSD and an HDD, along with how they store and retrieve information, it is vital for you to understand how they perform and which one is right for you. There are several critical areas you need to consider.

  • Boot Up Speed. If you need to a computer which can start quickly, then you should choose one with an SSD. The standard boot up time for a laptop with an SSD is between 8 and 10 seconds while systems using HDD can take up to 45 seconds or longer. In the healthcare industry, those extra seconds may mean the difference between life and death.
  • Information Access Speed. Similar to a quicker boot-up time, a computer can access the information stored on an SSD up to three times faster than the same amount of data when it is stored on an HDD.
  • Battery Life. Since there are no moving parts in an SSD, it uses considerably less energy than an HDD which has multiple moving parts. If you are using a laptop computer and the life of your batter is one of your considerations, think about an SSD.
  • Silent operation. No moving parts mean that an SSD will not generate any noise. On the other hand, operating an HDD can be loud, and the spinning disc and moving mechanical arm can raise the temperature of your computer forcing the fan to kick in.
  • Cost. The one advantage an HDD has over an SSD is cost. An SSD can cost more than double the price of an HDD for the same amount of storage.

While it may seem evident that an SSD storage device is best for your needs, it is always a good idea to discuss your technology purchases with an IT company specializing In healthcare.

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