Home Tech SSD Vs SSHD: Are Hybrid Drives Worth It in 2020?

SSD Vs SSHD: Are Hybrid Drives Worth It in 2020?

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Whether you are building a desktop pc for gaming or professional work, storage space is one of the top priorities. And not just in terms of space but also in terms of reading and writing speeds.

As the number of devices is increasing rapidly, the need for improvement is growing as well. There has been continuous development in the storage sector.

With the latest storage solutions coming out consistently in the market, you are not at all short on options. It just depends upon your requirements and your budget planning. Many of us want to customize or upgrade our old setups with new equipment.

Replacing your old, dusty, and slow hard drives with the latest drives such as SSD and SSHD can significantly boost your performance. You must have heard of SSDs and how they can significantly reduce your load time and make your overall experience smoother. 

A hard drive is essentially the primary storage for all of your files and folders. It is commonly known as hard disk drive or HDD. Today’s SSD and SSHDs are the evolved forms of these hard disk drives with significant improvements over the former.

It is an electro-mechanical device that is used to store digital data by utilizing magnetic storage to store and retrieve data. IBM was the first company to introduce hard disk drives to the world.

Since then, several companies have tried and succeeded in making several improvements in the performance of these drives. The latest drives that are SSDs can provide lightning-fast speeds by utilizing NAND technology. It is quite a leap from its predecessors. 

Today, both online and offline markets are filled with a variety of storage solutions that all boast to be better than each other.

So How do you decide which is perfect for your needs? Or which will give better performance under your budget? There are a ton of factors involved to decide on a single winner.

And it can be quite overwhelming for you to choose but do not worry we have compiled a list of all essential factors that are used to compare the latest hard drives. We will use these parameters to determine which is better among SSD Vs SSHD.    

What are SSD and SSHD? 🤔

Despite the lack of read-write heads and physical spinning disks as in traditional hard drives, SSD is commonly known as a solid-state disk or solid-state drive.

SSD VS SSHD

Integrated circuit assemblies and flash memory make it possible to store data persistently inside solid-state storage. If you compare these disks to traditional HDDs, then they are way more efficient and have many other improved features.

Some of these features include a faster battery, better storage, faster load time, compact design, lower latency, and many more.

One of the best SSD’s out in the market is Intel Optane that uses Xpoint memory that stores data by charging cells. It is one of the unique approaches yet and serves the best speed and other improvements. 

There are two types of SSD’s in the market, namely SATA and Nvme. SATA SSDs have a similar physical structure to that of a hard drive. Whereas Nvme SSDs have a compact design.

It is the latest type of drive in the market that closely resembles a stick of chewing gum. If you use one of these drives with your desktop pc or laptop, you can achieve high speeds in your tasks.

Whereas, SSHD is only available in the SATA format so you will need to find the correct size depending upon your machine.

Most of the people prefer m.2 SSDs that have a very compact design and can be directly installed inside your motherboard. They have a significantly higher price than the traditional hard drives and SSHD. 

In the world of computers, SSHD stands for a solid-state hybrid drive or only a hybrid drive. Typically, it is an improved version of traditional hard disk drives, or you can say it is a combination of HDD and SSD drives.

The design is similar to previous spinning hard disks and comes with small amounts of fast storage. This drive is wholly made up of memory chips rather than the magnetic spinning platters.

You can say that it is very similar to a USB storage device only with much faster storage space. Due to it being a combination of these drives, it is called hybrid.

It has the appearance of a single drive and goes with every operating system such as Windows, Linux, etc. The SSD part allows the temporary Storage space to get higher speeds. Generally, your data is stored in magnetic disks for a more extended period.    

Evolution of Hard Drives

Since the invention of computers, there has been a great struggle to improve storage space on these devices.

Today we are lucky to be living in the golden era of advancements where rapid development of the IT sector has led to the invention of many new technologies.

Naturally, the storage space has also seen its fair share of improvements such as a boost in performance and space. Once we could only store a few megabytes of data on these devices and that too was mostly used for commercial purposes.

However, today it has gone up to several terabytes. In fact, your smartphones today can store up to a few gigabytes of data. Aside from the storage space, it has also been greatly improved in terms of access speeds ( read or write) and which makes our lives simple in doing tasks quickly. 

IBM was the first company to introduce hard disk drives as a data storage utility in 1956. It was mainly developed for real-time transaction processing and to use with minicomputers and general-purpose mainframes.

It used to hold 5MB of data that used to cost over ten grand per megabyte. Then over the years, IBM modified this technology, and in 1980 they introduced their first variant that used to hold over a gigabyte of data.

But the downside to this model was its incredibly large and heavy structure. Soon several other companies such as Seagate and SanDisk joined this race that led to the development of drives with flash storage and finally the discovery of SSD’s.

Recently the Nvme drives were introduced which are significantly smaller with much better performance over its predecessors. The latest product of this competitive industry is intel’s Optane drives that are even faster.

With so many great options to choose from you only need to organize your budget accordingly. Now let us look at some other great differences in SSD VS SSHD.   

SSD VS SSHD: Which is Better For PC?

Whether you are building your desktop pc from scratch or looking forward to customizing your old machine, choosing the right hard drive is always very challenging. Desktop Pc’s require a much higher and better amount of storage to go with the entire setup.

If you want the bleeding edge performance, then naturally you will have to go deep in your pockets. However, if you are looking for the best budget buy, then we suggest both of these drives can be a great pick.

But if you can, then you should choose SSD over SSHD as they are much faster and efficient in terms of performance and reliability.

Generally, all of the desktop PCs have room for multiple storage disks so that eliminates your choice of one great device; instead, you can select a combination of them and get the desired performance. 

The most recent desktop setups have both of the hard drives and SSD slots pre inbuilt inside them so you can install both of them together. Operating systems are generally installed in a small amount of space, so you use a smaller version of SSD to store all of your boot and essential files.

For instance, you can either choose a 128GB or a 250GB SSD to store your windows files and use a higher storage HDD for your other files. By doing this, you can improve your boot time by great margins and produce a smooth work environment.

This setup is especially helpful for gamers so that they can store all of their games in much faster storage that in turn boosts the in-game performance.

SSHD can be easily installed inside your desktop with no additional requirement of configuration or special software. 

SSD VS SSHD: Which is Better for Laptops?

Laptops are a much smaller device as compared to your desktop pcs. Hence, they do not have much room for you to maneuver multiple storage disks inside them.

You will have to work with what you have; otherwise, you will have to purchase an entirely new machine. However, some of the latest laptops offer higher customizable functionality.

But if you have a regular laptop that comes with space for only one hard drive, then you must go with a good SSD as that will provide you with much better performance.

However, if you are looking for more storage capacity, then you must go with SSHD as they are packed with high storage and significantly lower prices as compared to SSD.

Furthermore, if you want to spend a minimum amount of money on purchasing a storage device, then you should go with traditional HDDs (hard disk drives) as they are the cheapest option available in the market with minimum cost.

You can have multiple brand options if you choose to go with an SSHD. Some brands offer better performance and build quality over the other.

For instance, Seagate’s version can analyze the applications that you use the most and intelligently optimize your drive for maximum performance. It does that by storing the critical data in the solid-state storage to achieve faster load times and gives a better overall performance.

An SSHD will also significantly improve your boot time of the operating system, but it won’t be as good as offered by an SSD. The most crucial thing to keep in mind while choosing a storage disk for your laptop is physical dimensions such as height and width.

You must first crosscheck the compatible dimensions of your laptop before making any purchases. Some laptops only support a fixed amount of devices, so be careful. 

Capacity Comparison

If we look at SSD Vs SSHD through the capacity factor then SSHD comes out on top. You might be wondering that even though SSD has better performance than why not larger storage space.

Well, SSD’s are very costly to design and manufacture, and hence the higher prices are justified. Even though there is a massive competition in the market, no one has been able to reduce the prices of SSDs so you will have to spend a higher amount of your budget on solid-state storage.

If you go with one of them, then you will have to compromise on more substantial spaces, but you will get much better performance. 

SSHD contains exponentially ample storage space then your SSD’s. Only traditional hard drives have larger storage spaces with even less cost, but they give out less performance.

The capacity of these drives can go up to fifty terabytes. However, the size of the drive will also increase with such a gigantic storage capacity.

It just keeps growing until this day. When comparing these two disks, SSHD can offer you much higher storage space under a limited cost. The prices of SSDs are also increasing.

So to sum it up if you want more storage then go with SSHD and if you want more performance then go with SSD.  

Form Factor of SSD Vs SSHD

The form factor is basically dimensions of the storage disk in SSD Vs SSHD. If you compare both of these drives based on form factor, then SSD is the thinnest option available to you.

They are an excellent choice for compact desktop setups or laptops. It has a much more sophisticated industrial design that can perfectly fit your setup as well as add to its aesthetics.

For smaller laptops or notebooks SSD’s are available in sizes up to 7mm heights. Whereas SSHD and HDD’s have heights somewhere between 7mm to 15mm depending upon the designs.

When we look at the structure of SSHD, it closely resembles that of a traditional hard drive. It happens to be so due to its large amount of storage space and hybrid design.

So you must choose wisely depending upon the space available in your system so that the drive can fit perfectly.  

SSD VS SSHD: Which is Better in Terms of Speed Benchmarks?

Let us compare the SSD Vs, SSHD in terms of speed through a benchmark test. There are several websites available online that can compare your brand of drive-in terms or read-write speeds as well as compare it with other drives.

SSD VS SSHD

You can input both your SSD and SSHD to compare their results. In the test that we conducted, we used a 240GB Seagate SSD released in 2013 with a 2TB Seagate Firecuda SSHD that was released in 2016. 

Looking at the results our SSD got the 404th rank from a total of 1026 and our SSHD got the 71st rank from a total of 1015 devices. If you look closely at the results, even an older model of SSD offers better performance than a newer SSHD.

Read speeds are approx 3.2 times more and write speeds are approx 2.7times more. Our result determines that if you are only in the market for raw speeds than SSD is your obvious choice as we can see, even a much older SSD has faster speeds than a newer SSHD.

Similarly, you can also compare the drives from other brands with each other and determine the best one depending upon the overall performance. 

Which is More Durable?

Moving on, we will compare the durability between SSD Vs, SSHD. It is commonly believed that SSD’s tend to wear out over time because each use degrades the NAND cells in the disk, which is similar to USB drives.

Although this was true in earlier models of the storage disk, the latest models and design have far fewer failure rates. If you look at the latest commercial designs, they are much more durable and resilient during their entire life cycle.

In the case of SSD’s, there is a crucial parameter to determine the life expectancy called TMW or terabytes written.

Basically, it is used to indicate the terabytes of data that can be stored in its entire lifetime. For instance, a 0.5TB Barracuda SSD has TMW of 320. If we calculate based on supposing, a user can write 100TB of data every day, which is highly unlikely.

Even then the storage disk won’t deteriorate before 8.7 8.7years. The recent models boast a life expectancy of up to 10 years. Despite all that you are still getting a much longer lifespan in case of SSHD.

In its case, we use Load and unload cycles to determine the life expectancy. It basically refers to an on/off cycle controlled by the software. Even if you reboot your system as much as 200 times per day which is highly unlikely, your storage disk will still last up to 10years. 

SSD VS SSHD: Battery Life and Reliability

Generally, all storage devices inside a laptop or desktop computer only impact less than 10% of total battery life. Most of the battery is hauled by the central processing unit and your screen. They are the utilities that drain your battery the most.

Now coming to both our drives. SSD’s are the most efficient of the two in terms of battery life. At the same time, the hybrid drive is only second in terms of battery efficiency. The reason behind it they have more spin downs as compared to hard drives. 

If we look at the most reliable among the two drives than both of them are under a similar radar. Both of them have similar ratings because both of them use flash storage.

As we have known that SSHD uses both solid-state and HDD portions so if we separate both these parts, then the HDD portion is much more reliable in the two.

Overall our traditional hard drives are the most stable ones, and hence they are the most reliable in the storage device world. 

Comparing Load Times

Let us compare the load times between SSD Vs, SSHD to determine the better amongst the two. You can use several online available resources to compare your choice of brand for these drives and see the results for yourself.

For the sake of this article, we have taken the comparison performed by a website called Eurogamer. They have used SATA SSD and Seagate Firecuda SSHD to test their performance in some of the most heavy-duty games.

If we look at the first load time comparison in all games, then SSD was way ahead of the SSHD. The main reason behind hybrid drives being slower is because they initially load the files from the HDD portion and hence lag a bit in the process. Its solid-state portion is used to access data frequently, such as boot data. 

If you want to compare the boot data results, then you will have to set up three setups with similar specifications and only change the storage devices.

In our comparison, we concluded that both SSD and SSHD were more or less the same in terms of faster load times. This similarity is mainly due to both drives using the flash storage to access the boot files. And hence they both have similar boot times.   

Conclusion

From our lengthy discussion so far when it comes to choosing the right hard drives, it completely depends upon your requirements and your total budget.

You should rightly way your options depending upon these parameters to get the right pick. Also, if you are unsure, then you can purchase a small storage space of SSD to store your operating system files and other important files such as games or professional work software.

In this way, you can get faster speeds on these files. And you can use an SSHD to store the rest of your files. You are getting the best of both worlds. 

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