It’s 2020, and if your PC is running its operating system, applications, and games on a hard drive, it’s time to take a long, hard look in the mirror.
With read and write speeds that are much slower than solid-state drives, you are literally wasting time – and your life – by using a hard drive to run your PC’s operating system.
How much time am I wasting? Well, it depends on the SSD you upgrade to and the hard drive you currently have.
Need for speed
For this article, we will use WD’s range of hard drives and SSDs to show the difference in performance.
A 1TB WD Blue 3.5-inch HDD will deliver a transfer rate of around 150MB/s (megabytes per second). It achieves this using a SATA connection to your PC, and it means that 150MB of data can be transferred every second.
The easiest and most affordable storage upgrade for users is to move from their hard drive to a SATA SSD, which uses the same connection type as the hard drive – but comes in a thinner 2.5-inch form factor and delivers faster speeds.
A 1TB WD Blue 3D NAND SSD provides read and write speeds of 560MB/s and 530MB/s respectively – a huge jump in speed.
For those with more budget (we will get to pricing differences in a bit), you can upgrade even further to an M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD.
The fancy name refers to the form factor – M.2 – and interface standard and protocols – NVMe and PCIe – of the drive.
A 1TB WD Black NVMe SSD gives users read and write speeds of 3,470MB/s and 3,000MB/s respectively, and connects directly to your PC’s motherboard without a cable.
Going up even further, the Aorus NVMe Gen4 SSD delivers read and write speeds of up to 5,000MB/s and 4,400MB/s when paired with the correct motherboard and CPU.
The graph below shows the typical performance of these three types of storage drives.
Price per GB
The faster speeds of SSDs come at a higher price, however.
You can pick up a 1TB WD Blue 3.5-inch HDD for between R600-R700 currently, whereas a 1TB WD SATA SSD costs around R1,900.
Prices increase further when moving to M.2 NVMe drives, and a 1TB WD Black NVMe SSD is priced at R3,500.
The graph below shows the price-per-GB measure of these drives.
Speed vs Price
Like most things in life, you get what you pay for.
Hard drives are cheaper but slower. If you have tons of photos and videos to store, an HDD is a good option – as the price-per-GB factor means it is affordable to keep all your data stored locally.
However, your operating system, frequently-played games, and frequently-used apps must be on an SSD.
The speed difference is noticeable in everyday use, and even turning on your PC and waiting for it to boot up is a much faster process.
SSDs deliver faster speeds which will result in you spending less time waiting for programs to load or applications save and load data – it’s that simple.
If you do any upgrades to your PC in 2020, make sure the first thing you do is buy an SSD.
SSDs on offer
The images below provide an overview of the common types of SSDs you can buy, and what a standard HDD looks like.
3.5-inch SATA HDD
2.5-inch and M.2 SATA SSD
It is important to note that SATA SSDs are available in 2.5-inch and M.2 form factors.
Do not mix up SATA and NVMe SSDs based on their looks alone – always check the read and write speeds.
M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD
PCIe Card SSD
SSDs in a PCIe Card form factor, similar to that of a graphics card, are also available.
As they use the PCIe/NVMe interface like the high-end M.2 drives, they offer similar speeds.
This is an opinion piece.