A laptop’s storage is divided into two major types: an SSD and an HDD. It stands for Solid State Drive and Hard Disk Drive. Both have different performance levels, advantages, disadvantages, and most of all, price. But what about SSD vs HDD for gaming? We’ll find out here.
|ASUS VivoBook Pro |
|Dell Alienware 17 R5 |
|MSI GE75 Raider-023 |
17.3” Gaming Laptop
Your hard drive is a major component of your laptop. Without it, your operating system, files, and applications will have no place for storage. It’s the brain of every computer. This is also the main reason why you have to choose the type that matches your needs.
What is an SSD?
An SSD or Solid State Drive is a newer technology compared to the conventional, entry-level HDD. It boasts a faster performance since it relies on electronic storage. More so, the memory of SSD isn’t volatile. If you turn the laptop off, the data won’t vanish.
The technology used in SSDs can be the same with USB drives. The other one is called NAND which is a kind of flash memory.
When it comes to reading and writing data, the SSD controller will handle the looking up and reading the requested files. Unlike HDD, SSDs have a more complex nature when it comes to updating a block of data.
When the hard drive is left idle, it starts the ‘garbage collection’ process where it collects old information to ensure that each data block is refreshed and up to date.
Take note that SSDs may seem to have a smaller capacity than HDDs. This is actually what you only access on your device. There’s actually an overprovision of storage to accommodate the data movement that the reading and writing will consume. It’s not accessible to the user but it ensures that your laptop will have a lighting speed function.
Pros and Cons of SSD
Even though SSDs paint a nice picture, it’s not one without some drawbacks. As a new technology, it’s much more expensive than HDDs. It can be twice or thrice the price of entry-level HDDs which make SSDs the second choice of those who are in a budget.
Also, SSDs have a fairly smaller storage capacity. And even if you can find a larger one, it would cost a fortune. Just check MacBooks and you’ll see what we mean.
Another thing is that SSDs generally don’t last as long as HDDs under the same condition. But with the continuous updates, this hard drive is surely keeping up.
Although SSDs have some downsides, the upsides are enough to outweigh this. If you want a speedy drive for gaming, multi-tasking, and memory-intensive tasks, solid state drives are unbeatable.
Also, SSDs are lighter than HDDs. This is why SSDs can be found on thin and light laptops. It’s also more durable against falls, bumps, and transport.
What is the HDD?
On the other hand, we have Hard Disk Drive. This is typical among budget laptops and entry-level units. It’s an actual disk with an actuator arm that reads and writes the data stored on your laptop. It also contains a controller, platter, spinning motor, and firmware that regulate the operation of the hard drive.
Unlike SSDs, HDDs don’t recognize data in blocks. It reads it in concentric circles referred to as tracks. Tracks are divided units called sectors that will have a dedicated address. The nearest one is where the data will be read and written. To prevent errors, the firmware will detect and correct issues.
The speed of HDDs depends on their pre-set RPMs. The higher the RPM, the faster the reading and writing will be.
To find specific data, the controller will tell the actuator arm where it is located. The spin of the platter as well as the time the actuator arm took to find the data is called latency. This will vary from one HDD to another.
Pros and Cons of HDD
The common gripe about HDDs is that these are slower than SSDs. This is true, in the bare sense of comparison. But take note that other components affect the speed of a laptop. For one, the RAM and VRAM will directly impact the performance of your computer. You can have an HDD storage with a 32 GB RAM that can beat a typical SSD.
Another thing is that HDD is prone to damages due to its sensitive mechanical parts. It’s not as durable as SSDs when it comes to drops and bumps. If a strong force is applied, the actuator arm can be damaged which will result in its failure to retrieve data properly.
Take note that HDDs are normally heavier than SSDs because of its larger size. Still, some laptop brands produce lightweight HDD laptops by stripping some hardware while keeping it in a pocket-friendly price range.
Still, the fact that HDD has been here for years means it’s a proven technology. It also comes in larger disk spaces at a lower price.
Differences of SSD vs. HDD
To give you an idea about the differences in SSD vs HDD for gaming, we’ve listed some factors with quick comparisons. See which of the two disk drives suit you better:
HDDs consume more power than SSDs. HDDs consume 6-7 watts compared to SSDs 2-3 watts. Overall, SSDs have 30+ minutes more battery life.
HDDs have a bigger storage capacity that range from 500GB up to 10TB while SSDs will usually range from 256GB up to a maximum of 4TB. Usually, it’s a matter of choosing from 1TB HDD vs 256GB SSD.
>Noise and vibration
Since SSDs have no moving parts, it’s quieter than HDDs. Meanwhile, HDDs will have audible clicks and spinning although it’s not loud enough to be a nuisance.
SSDs are very expensive and costs around $0.20 per gigabyte. This is costly as compared to HDDs with an average of $0.03 per gigabyte. So with SSD vs HDD for gaming, you have to invest if you want speed.
SSDs use less power so it surely produces little to no heat. Meanwhile, HDDs aren’t really smoking hot, but it will definitely produce more heat since it consumes more battery power to function.
When it comes to failure rate, HDDs tend to bog down faster after 1.5 million hours. Meanwhile, SSDs have a lower failure rate after 2 million hours. Still, this will vary widely depending on usage and the environment on which it’s used. External factors aren’t in play in this estimation.
>Reaction to magnetism
You have to be careful when using HDD storage since it can react harshly to magnetism. A strong magnet that’s placed closed to the hard drive can erase or ruin data. Meanwhile, SSDs are safe from this risk.
Speed-wise, there’s no argument that SSDs rule the game. Typical SSDs can read and write at a speed of 200 Mbps while cutting edge hard drives can do it at 500 Mbps. As for HDDs, it can range anywhere from 50 to 120 Mbps. When it comes to file opening time, SSDs are 30% faster than HDDs.
>System boot time
SSDs have an average system boot time of 10-13 seconds which is way faster than HDDs at around 30-40 seconds.
What to choose, SSD or HDD?
The choice between SSD and HDD is a matter of personal preference. If you want speed and you can endure a smaller storage space, SSD is the way to go. Just remember that when it comes to gaming, it’s not just the hard drive that affects the speed.
You also have to get a decent RAM and graphics card to complement your hard drive. A bare SSD is no match to a 1TB HDD that’s working with a high RAM and discrete graphics card.
The end point here is to look at all the parts combined. The good news, though, is that many 17-inch gaming laptops nowadays come with a combo of SSD and HDD storage – no need to choose on SSD vs HDD for gaming.
These are exactly what the three laptops below are about:
Top 3 SSD/HDD Gaming Laptops
ASUS VivoBook Pro 17.3” SSD+HDD Combo Laptop
For those who want a gaming laptop within the mid-range price, the ASUS VivoBook Pro is the best catch. It’s equipped with the combination of 256GB of SSD and 1 TB of HDD storage.
It works in a 4-core Intel Core i7-8565u processor paired with 16GB of DDR4 RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX1050 graphics card with 4 GB of memory.
This ASUS laptop is an all-around device for gaming, school, and even office work. It also has a backlit keyboard that makes it a unique choice for gaming.
It boasts a 1080p FHD display paired with 72% NTSC. Aside from that, this laptop stands out with its fast-charging technology. Its lithium polymer battery can reach 60% capacity in just 49 minutes. It’s perfect for on-the-go users and busy gamers.
Although it’s sleek and thin in the outside, the ASUS VivoBook Pro is gaming capable. Pair with its lightning-fast dual-band Wi-Fi and you will have a steady connection perfect for online gaming. Its temp is steady even during gaming modes.
Overall, this laptop is the right balance of price, power, and aesthetics.
Dell Alienware 17 R5 VR-Ready Gaming Laptop
If you’re up to intense gaming, the Dell Alienware 17 VR Ready laptop is for you. It sports 256 GB of SSD and 1 TB of HDD paired with 8 GB of DDR4 SDRAM.
This laptop runs in Intel Core i7 8th generation High Power Graphics with 6 cores. Made with serious gaming in mind, this has the NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card that can be upgraded to 6 GB GDDR 5. Its 17-inch display has an IPS technology and a 1920 x 1080p resolution.
From its look, you’ll see how powerful this Alienware laptop can be in terms of gaming. However, you have to bear in mind that this is also heavy at 10.3 pounds. That’s the weight of two laptops from other brands we reviewed here.
When it comes to its keyboard, Alienware sticks to Dell’s classic TactX keyboard for easy actuation and less key travel which is crucial for gaming.
OUR TOP PICK
MSI GE75 Raider-023 17.3” Gaming Laptop
For gamers who want to enjoy the best of both worlds, the MSI GE75 Raider offers 1TB of SSD and 2 TB of HDD. To add on its powerful gaming prowess is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX2080 paired with the newest Ray-Tracing Technology.
This laptop runs in Intel Core i7 8th generation High Power Graphics processor. It boasts 6 cores of unbeatable processing power.
Do you want more speed? This 17-inch MSI laptop has 32 GB of DDR4 RAM, 2 cooling fans, 4 exhausts, and 7 copper heat pipes. All of these will give you seamless and undisrupted gaming experience.
Aside from this, the MSI laptop is also equipped with large speakers complete with woofers and chamber space. Also, let us not forget its 1920 x 1080p 3ms 144Hz IPS-level display.
Its responsive keyboard has RGB glowing key edges for easy visibility. Overall, it’s a solid laptop that’s surprisingly light at 5.75 lbs. with all its powerful hardware.
This gaming laptop is also thin with very minimal bezel. Still, its warship chassis design gives an added edge for serious gamers who want a rough device to play on.
When it comes to SSD vs HDD for gaming, you have to pick what answers your needs. But nowadays, you can enjoy the best of both worlds with combo laptops that bear these two disk types.
With this, you no longer have to think about 1TB HDD vs 256GB SSD. You can get both in just one laptop.