SSD or HDD for Gaming

Solid State Drives (SSD) have become very affordable and reliable by now. Adding one to a gaming rack as a primary drive and installing the system programs to it can be a good idea. It will really give the computer a boost, programs open in a flash and it will boot so much faster. The question SSD or HDD for gaming is worth to consider if you want your computer really to cut the edge.

SSD or HDD for Gaming

Using an SSD in your Gaming PC as a system disc gives it a good push in performance. The faster access times and the higher data transfer rates are noticeable in nearly anything you do. System boot times will improve a lot and programs that are installed on the SSD start way faster. The wait time you know from clicking on an icon till the program is on the screen is nearly gone.  That increase of access time is already worth the investment of an SSD.

Games that are installed on the SSD will show a significant increase in load times when starting the game as well as when entering a new level or a new world. The load bars fill up quicker and small interruptions in the gameplay are reduced. However, the frame rates (FPS) will not improve,  those depend on a fast processor and the power of your graphics card.  If your gameplay is jittery and choppy you need to upgrade the CPU or graphics card.

The difference between SSD and HDD

Both types of discs are so-called Mass Storage Devices. The difference between SSD and HDD is in their design and the physics used to store and access data.

  • The classic HDD (Hard Disc Drive) consists of one or more magnetic disks and magnetic read heads. The magnetic disks rapidly rotate during operation. The read heads are attached to an actuator arm that moves across discs and reads out the stored data. There are mechanical moving parts here.
  • An SSD (Solid State Drive) uses a great number of integrated circuits – flash memories as we find in USB sticks. There are no moving parts or mechanics in an SSD.

HDD

The hard drive disc has been around for many years. It uses a proven simple mechanical principle for storing and reading data on magnetically coated metal discs that rotate rapidly. Development of the process has peaked and no significant performance increases are to be expected. But the reliable system has many benefits.

Advantage

  • Verry affordable, storage byte per dollar value
  • Huge storage space, latest models offer up to 12TB
  • Corrupt data can often be recovered with special software + tools. Difficult with SSD

Disadvantage

  • Inefficient, moving parts require electricity
  • produce heat
  • writing  and reading data creates noise and vibration
  • Fragile due to moving parts. Possible data loss when dropped or exposed to magnetic fields.
  • Slow reading and writing data compared to newer technologies

SSD

Solid State Drives are increasing in popularity.  They have many benefits over the traditional mass storage devices and it is likely that performance and storage capacities will continue to increase. Already, they are small, provide fast data access time and the prices are becoming affordable for the average person.

Advantage

  • Energy efficient, no moving mechanical parts
  • No noise, no vibrations
  • Very little heat production
  • Very fast data access
  • Robust to being dropped or mechanical impact
  • Tolerate higher operating temperature

Disadvantage

  • Expensive, storage byte per dollar much higher than HDD
  • Small storage capacities
  • In case of data loss or corruption more difficult to restore than HDD

SSHD

The Solid State Hybrid Storage, is the latest now, combining an SSD with an HDD. The idea is to combine the advantages of both drives to have the speed of flash drive properties from the SSD and the cost-effective storage of the HDD. The use of them only makes sense in Notebooks were space is an issue.

Advantage

  • Speed, the SSD part stores the most frequently used programs and data
  • Larger storage capacity due to the built-in HDD
  • Reasonable storage byte per dollar value

Disadvantage

  • Not as robust to mechanical damage due to moving parts
  • see above disadvantages HDD and SSD

SSD vs HDD lifespan

In the early days when the first SSD’s hit the marked there where issues with firmware and performance degradation. But the SSD technology has come a long way since and new circuits and technologies have improved the technology. Still, the myth about the SSD vs HDD lifespan is around.

Mechanical failures

No device whether it be HDD, SSD or any other mass storage media can guaranty a 100% protection against data loss. Unexpected factors such as fluctuations in electric fields next to mechanical forces can corrupt data. Moving parts in HDD are prone to damage through physical impacts, be it mechanical, electromagnetic or thermal. Even a lot tougher towards mechanical failures, an SSD is still susceptible to electromagnetic or thermal damage.

Longterm storage and data loss

To keep data loss at a minimum, large servers and storage media are kept under tight airconditioning and temperature control.  Factors such as temperature and humidity affect the data storage, so no medium will last forever. Oxidation and corrosion of metals can occur, magnetic fields and electrical charges representing the stored data bits weaken and change their polarization. All this may result in errors and loss of data.

Should I worry about data loss?

In our everyday life and normal use of notebooks or PC’s, we don’t have to worry about the lifespan of data storage devices. Avoid mechanical impact and apply the usual care. Still, always back your data!

Most people suffer data loss through malicious software or viruses!!!

Summary

If you already have a gaming computer with the latest CPU and a fast graphics card, the installation of an SSD and its use as a system drive can be a worthwhile investment.  Besides faster load times while being immersed in gaming worlds, one will also value the boost of the overall response of the computer. Be it the boot process of the system to the opening of programs and applications. Many brief delays and interruptions are almost completely eliminated and the SSD gives you a much smoother feeling when you use your PC.

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