The Windows Club

Hybrid Drive vs SSD vs HDD: A comparison

With Flash storage devices picking up, you would want to know which type of storage device to buy for yourself. Solid State Disk or SSDs are faster than conventional Hard Disk Drives or HDDs, but a lot costly. There is a significant difference between HDDs and SSDs.

Hybrid Drive vs SSD vs HDD

This article focuses on the difference between Solid State Drives and Hard Disk Drives and then compares them to Hybrid Drives.

Hard Disk Drives (HDD)

The main points one needs to know about the Hard Disk Drives are as follows:

  1. Hard disks contain several disks that rotate and as many heads that move forward and backward on each disk to read/write data – The time taken to read/write data on an HDD is significant as the disks have to rotate before any action
  2. Movable parts mean wear and tear – The technology used in current hard drives is good and hence hard drives have a long life; this again depends on the usage of the HDD
  3. Hard disks do not die out all at a time – A hard disk first starts failing and then dies normally unless any brute force is applied to crush all disks at the same time (an HDD has many disks; and data on disks that are not damaged, can be still read)
  4. The technology used in Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) is cheap and hence you can get large amounts of storage space for low cost
  5. The Hard Drives available in market do not need any kind of special software as they are easily recognized by any operating system

Solid State Drives (SSD)

Solid State Drives, as we have seen earlier, are also called Solid State Disks though no disks are involved. It is just because their counterparts are often called Hard Disks, they can be called Solid State Disks. Main points to be noted are as follows:

The main points to be noted are as follows:

  1. There are no mechanical parts involved – There is no need to move anything inside the drive to read data and hence time taken to read and write data is much faster compared to HDDs
  2. SSDs are basically a complex circuit where data is stored in ON/OFF (1/0) phases – As such, there is no physical wear and tear in SSDs
  3. You cannot tell if an SSD is about to die; unlike the HDDs, they do not send out any kind of warning signals and if an SSD dies out, it dies completely without allowing anymore read/write operations
  4. The technology used in SSDs is costly and thereby the drives too, are costly as compared to Hard disks; for example, if you can buy an HDD of a certain capacity at ‘n’ dollars, an SSD of same capacity may be as costly as ‘3n’ dollars.
  5. Solid State Drives are addressed in a fashion similar to how the OS addresses the RAM and hence the speed is faster as compared to Hard Disks, where not only the latter has to convert magnetic scratches into binary, it also has to deal with disk rotations and moving heads


Based on the above points-

  1. SSDs are much faster compared to Hard Disk Drives
  2. SSDs are much costly compared to Hard Disk Drives
  3. SSDs, if die, they die without any warning so you may lose your data if not already backed up

SSDs are good for people who need higher speeds as in gaming and real-time computing etc. Hard Disk Drives are okay for people who require more of storage space compared to speed.

Hard Disk Drive, Solid State Drive, Hybrid Drive comparison

Hybrid Drives, as we have seen yesterday, combine both SSD and HDD where the SSD is used as a cache between Hard Disk and RAM. Hybrid Drives are actually Hard Disk Drives that employ some SSD to act as a cache. They come with a firmware that figures out what data is being required frequently and stores it on the SSD part (cache) of the Hybrid Drives. This results in faster operations with time (as you use the Hybrid Drives). To make the previous statement a little more clear, you will not see any difference in speed of Hybrid Drives initially but as you use the Hybrid Drive – over time – you will notice that your programs and operating system (and other data) are much faster than before.

Hybrid Drives are good for people who need both speed and space. Being part HDD and part SSD, Hybrid drives are less costly while providing you with better storage space. In comparison, Hybrid drives are faster than regular Hard Disks and slower than standalone SSDs, while not compromising on storage space.

These are my observations on Hybrid Drive vs SSD vs HDD.