Why HDDs are still popular than SDDs, even if they are fast?

The need of the hour is to get faster computing, and one of the basic elements for faster computing is a faster storage device. Talking about a faster storage device, the first device that comes to our mind is an SSD. SSD or solid-state drives are storage devices, that can be connected to the computer through different types of connectors, and they do not have any rotating part, which is one big reason, SSDs are much faster than that of the magnetic hard drives which are still used in computers for obvious reasons.  If you want to build your own computer, and you want fast performance from it, an SSD is something that you should definitely have and it is going to deliver a great performance boost, which can never be delivered by a magnetic hard drive. 

But in spite of all that magnetic hard drives are still sold in the market and people purchase them for storing the data. Solid-state drives or SSDs are cheaper today compared to that a few years ago, but in spite of all that magnetic hard drives are still uses by users and there are obvious reasons why magnetic hard drives are still better than SSDs in several aspects. It is not that, you should not have a solid-state hard drive connected to a computer, but depending upon your specific requirements, a magnetic hard drive is also worth connecting to your computer, and I will discuss why magnetic hard drives are better than solid-state drives in several aspects, today in this story.

Why is HDD still used if SSD is way better
Why is HDD still used if SSD is way better

So, without any for the delay, it started with why magnetic hard drives (HDD) are still used over SSDs when they are superior? 

Price per GB

This is something that most people will take at face value and it is the price. The price per GB for solid-state drives is much higher compared to that of magnetic storage devices. In the current market, you can get a 120 GB solid-state drive at around Rs. 2,500. You can also get an M2 or NVMe SSD at Rs. 4,000 or so. That was just the average pricing. Better SSDs from certain brands can also cost you double the price I have mentioned here. 

Coming to magnetic hard drives, you can get around 500 GB to 1 TB of storage at that price. So, the price for a gigabyte of solid-state drives is much higher than that of magnetic hard drives, and that is obvious, as, at the exchange of low storage capacity, you eventually end up getting better speed and performance, which is one big reason most people choose SSDs. But, if you’re looking for more storage, to store bulk information and for back up purposes, SSD is not literally a subtle choice for you. You should better go for a magnetic storage device that offers a good amount of storage without breaking the bank.

Life expectancy of HDD over SSD

None of the storage devices last forever and the same is also applicable to solid-state drives or SSDs. All the solid-state drives have a maximum write cycle after which, you can no longer use the drive altogether. As data is erased and written on the same cell multiple times, it gradually decays and a time comes, where you cannot use the specific cell within the solid-state drive any longer. That’s when SSDs start failing.

Hard drives also fail after some point in time, but there are other problems with SSD failure, which I will be discussing in the next two points. The life expectancy of a solid-state drive is more or less close to that of a magnetic storage device, however, the additional problems make solid-state drive failures worse. In the majority of cases, your solid-state drive will not function as long as your desktop will do.

Data recovery challenges

It can either be accidental deletion of data, or your SSD might stop functioning at all. That is when you need to recover important data from the drive. Recovering data from a solid-state drive is one more challenge due to several reasons. One big reason is that data in solid-state drives are not stored like that in magnetic storage devices and the data moves from one cell to the other to prevent the data from getting deleted by writing data several times to the cells.

This is one big reason, why recovering data from solid-state drives is much harder. Most SSDs also come with the TRIM function enabled by default and if the drive runs TRIM after deleting a set of files, they can never be recovered, and most people do not know about this feature. 

Certain SSDs also come with encrypted controllers, making it even harder to recover data. Additionally, hard drives are popular in the market for a long time now, and people have a lot of experience of troubleshooting magnetic hard drives, which eventually give the users an upper hand when it comes to data recovery from a hard drive.

Solid-state drives, on the other hand, are gradually earning popularity, however, as magnetic storage devices are in the picture for quite a long time now, there are various strategies to extract data from magnetic hard drives and those same strategies cannot be used to extract data from solid-state drives.

Signs before failure

When a magnetic hard drive is at the brink of its failure it displays a number of symptoms.  Physical noise from the moving head on a physical hard drive is one of the most basic symbols of hard drive failure and sometimes longer access time is also a symbol that your hard drive is going to fail.

In the case of solid-state drives, however, the drives do not have any physical moving parts, and as you might have expected, you can’t hear any physical noise before a solid-state drive is going to fail. 

However, there are obvious symptoms before an SSD is going to fail like, it will often work in read-only mode, it will fail to write files on the drive, your system will run into blue screen error of death, and so on.

As most people do not know about the symptoms of SSD failure, the primary steps are not taken at the appropriate time and most people hardly have anything to do, when the drive eventually fails. Solid-state drives are performance monsters, but they still have some problems that might bother some users. Summing things up, the price per GB is one big concern, making solid-state drives unsuitable for storing bulk data.

Additionally, the challenges associated with recovering data from SSDs means, you should have a proper backup strategy so that files are never lost if the SSD fails all of a sudden. However, if you want performance for gaming or for other intensive workloads, SSDs don’t have any alternative. 

So, that was all about, why traditional magnetic hard drives are better than SSDs in certain aspects. Do you have any questions? Feel free to comment on the same below.