Tips for choosing a solid state drive and hard drive

Tips for choosing a solid state drive and hard drive

Sometimes even an expensive upgrade from an Intel Core i3 to a Core i7 can do less good than a banal SSD purchase for a couple of thousand rubles. Modern processors have long run ahead in the speed of task execution. In one second, they make billions of micro-calculations. However, if the operating system, game or any other complex program is installed on a regular hard disk, the processor has to idle many times in anticipation of its slow-moving “colleague”. As a result, tasks such as launching the OS, loading a level in a game or working with media files in a professional editor are several times slower than they could have.

However, all this does not mean that it is time to completely abandon classic HDDs. They are even better for storing your personal collection of movies, photos, music or video recordings of the gameplay, since in this case the speed of work is not so important.

It turns out that it is best to get not only a fast SSD, but also a capacious HDD. Next, we will look at what to look for when buying both types of storage: from more important to less important.


Do not take a hard drive less than 1 terabyte, and “solid state” – less than 240 gigabytes. In the first case, the difference in price between adjacent volumes is only a couple of hundred rubles, and in the second, too little space will remain after installing Windows and basic programs.

Since today the average high-budget game takes 50 gigabytes, and it is desirable to install any open-world or online game on an SSD, then to install even 5 games you will need a 500-gigabyte drive. 240 gigabytes is enough for only 2-3 large games plus operating systems and basic software, and 120 gigabytes is enough for a maximum of one.

And if you need long-term storage of a large volume, then it is better to take several HDDs of 3-6 terabytes. It will be significantly cheaper than an SSD of the same size and more durable, including due to separate data storage.

A type

Let’s analyze the advantages and disadvantages of all common types of storage:

  • External or internal. In general, external hard drives or solid state drives are usually slower than their “internal siblings”. However, they perfectly fulfill the role of a “big flash drive”, as they are better protected and adapted to carry. In addition, they are often purchased in addition to non-removable or hard-to-reach storage for ultrabooks or all-in-ones.
  • HDD, SSD or SSHD. The classic magnetic HDD is vulnerable to shocks and drops, and is also too slow for modern software. The newfangled SSD is more stable, since it has no moving parts, and develops tens of times faster speeds. But there is also a hybrid type SSHD – this is a voluminous hard drive combined with a small solid-state drive for several tens of gigabytes (just for the operating system). With today’s SSD prices, it is better to purchase two separate storage.
  • SATA 3, M.2, or NVMe. The first type of connection is found in both HDD and SSD. The second and the third – only at the “solid state”. Unfortunately SATA 3 is already outdated and has limited bandwidth. Therefore, the speed of all SATA drives does not exceed 600 megabytes per second. But with the arrival of the M.2 form factor, and then its improved version, NVMe SSDs were able to operate at four and even five-digit speeds. However, the M.2 connector is relatively new – found in motherboards since 2014.
  • Intel Optane. It’s not really a repository. Rather, a super-fast cache for a couple of tens of gigabytes. It plugs into an M.2 slot and accelerates performance with any storage device. As a result, even standard HDDs can operate at speeds of 300-500 megabytes per second. True, one Intel Optane bar costs as a good 500 gigabyte SSD.


Everything is pretty simple here:

  • The HDDis largely a mechanical device. Therefore, it makes sense to choose at least from the mid-price category, since the build quality and materials can have a significant impact on durability.
  • SSDis being built using nanotechnology. Therefore, if the drive works normally on the first day of use, then there will be no problems with it. So you can get the cheapest model. Moreover, even the real speed of 300 megabytes per second will be many times higher than that of any hard disk. And in games, there is practically no difference between a cheap and an expensive SSD.


All SSDs today have memory chips on a three-dimensional structure. Sometimes this technology is called V-NAND, sometimes 3D-NAND. Due to it, the durability of all types of cells has been greatly increased, and the production cost has decreased. Today, the most common 3 technologies of memory cells:

  • Came to replace the outdated SLC with 1 bit per memory cell. There are 2 of them in the MLC. This made it possible to reduce the production price, with almost no loss in durability. Superfast NVMe usually use this type of memory.
  • Slightly slower, but even cheaper technology with 3 bits per memory cell. The durability is also lower than that of the MLC, but, thanks to the three-dimensional structure, it is still excessive (at least 5 years with active use). The basis for most SSDs in the mid-range and budget segment.
  • Newest technology with 4 bits per cell. The cheapest to manufacture due to its density. True, the durability is an order of magnitude worse than that of the TLC. It is rare so far.


Today, only two brands use their own memory chips and controllers in SSD production – Samsung and Intel. In principle, you can give preference to these two companies when choosing a solid state drive. At the same time, it is not necessary to choose the most expensive versions – four-digit speeds are needed only for professional software.

Among the hard drives, the most popular brands are Western Digital and Seagate Barracuda. Both companies also produce highly reliable server solutions. But we would advise you to study the latest reviews in online stores for the model you like well – for mechanical devices, the percentage of defects is especially critical. And they may not fail immediately, unlike SSD.

Recommended SSD and HDD models

Western Digital My Passport WDBPKJ0040

Samsung 860 Evo

Western Digital WD10EZRZ

Western Digital My Passport WDBPKJ0040

Samsung 860 Evo

Western Digital WD10EZRZ

Western Digital My Passport WDBPKJ0040

We have selected 3 optimal models in terms of price-quality ratio:

  1. Optimal SSD – Samsung 860 Evo 250 GB (3500 ₽).An inexpensive TLC drive from a monopolist for the production of almost all types of memory. The Pro series is overkill for everyday use, so we settled on the Evo.
  2. The optimal internal HDD is Western Digital WD10EZRZ for 1 TB (3000 ₽).The silent twin brother of the popular EZEX from Western Digital. In this case, it costs exactly the same.
  3. The optimal external HDD is Western Digital My Passport WDBPKJ0040 4 TB (7500 ₽).Inexpensive and capacious representative of the world’s most popular line of external hard drives.

Summing up, we can say that the best choice would be to buy both HDD and SSD at once. It is better to take a hard disk more expensive and at least 1 terabyte of volume. At the same time, the speed of the HDD is not important if you use it as storage for media files. As for the solid state drive, in principle, you can buy any one with 240 or more gigabytes. At the same time, it is not at all necessary to chase ultra-fast and expensive models – there will be no tangible difference in games and with standard use.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

Leave a Comment