Are Hard Drives Still Worth It? 2021
I didn’t actually mean to drop it that hard when I was a kid SSDS barely even existed. I mean compact flash barely existed then in college. They were prohibitively expensive and then for years the play was to have a one-two punch small capacity SSD for speed.
Yeah HDD for the big files but nowadays it’s more and more common to see systems with no hard drive, whatsoever, of course, hard drives are still cheaper but with their myriad drawbacks are they even still worth it.
Are Hard Drives Still Worth It?
We all know that for responsiveness and boot times at the very least any modern PC should have its operating system loading from a solid-state drive (SSD) even one as small as 32 gigs.
If you’re using Windows 10 you might be able to get away with 16 but that leaves zero wiggle room for file transfers on your C drive not to mention windows updates but with that setup can you do multiple things at once.
Can a single hard drive handle media playback, file transfers, and gaming across multiple monitors or will it become a jumbled hitching mess of mass media in our testing? We had no problem running multiple applications off the hard drive while transferring a large video file.
But just because you can doesn’t mean you should too much multitasking can lead to thrashing which is when data is quickly transferred back and forth between the drive and the memory causing additional wear and tear on the disc remember.
There’s a physical read head in here that has to physically seek for every reader write and if there’s a lot going on especially across multiple files spaced out all across the disk the head is going to be seeking a lot more than usual to keep up SATA has had native command cueing for years.
Now which helps alleviate this problem a bit but not entirely it works by looking at the transfer of a large set of files and optimizing the order in which they’re read or written to before executing the command.
This is better but is still a physical limitation that SSDS simply don’t have if you want to start multiple file transfers from a hard drive you’ll be limited by how quickly the read head can move back and forth between all the files with an SSD response times are mostly limited by software.
Your CPU or the interconnect to the host your processing power no longer needs to wait for a physical head to find anything.
So it just simply gathers it all up and starts pushing it through just like some kind of weird hose kind of like how our new chocolate printer is going to be gathering and pushing chocolate make sure you subscribe.
So you don’t miss out on the sweet confectionary creations. We’re about to create a strategy many people use is to put the games. They play less often on their extra storage hard drives while they sit through the loading screens whenever they actually do play these games and fair enough because as it turns out.
Once the loading is done hard drives are fast enough to feed games like GTA 5 or even cyberpunk 2077 with the necessary data as you zip through the streets at 1080p however with the new consoles coming with support for technologies like direct storage that allows the GPU to directly access a drive that ideally would be NVMe hard drives may not only cause stuttering and hitching.
But could limit the visual quality in your games as well to say nothing of falling through the unloaded floor but there’s more to it than speed alone not only are SSDS quieter because there are no moving parts.
They consume significantly less power as well if you want to add multiple hard drives to your build for extra storage you’re looking at a potential noise increase and an extra 5 to 10 watts per drive whereas SSDS can use as little as 30 milliwatts while not in use.
While this isn’t huge if you’re the kind of person who likes to get the lowest wattage power supply possible for your build. It’s definitely not anything to say nothing of the extra heat generated inside your pc.
I know that one all too well I have so many hard drives, hard drives are also fragile. How many times have you simply tossed someone a USB flash drive or carried one around in your bag without a care in the world with a mechanical drive even though things are locked in place when powered down properly.
A drop of just a few feet could be enough to render it inoperable there go all your photos sensitive files and 4k movies, speaking of 4k you may have noticed that media file sizes have been increasing.
Let’s say you just bought a 4k or even 8k tv will your hard drive still be able to keep up with your other components to access and output that footage fast enough or are you going to get stuttering during the climax of the film ruining your home theater experience.
Well, spoiler alert unless the film industry switches to 48 fps as standard you probably have nothing to worry about 4k blu-ray has a bit rate of about 70 to 80 megabits per second on average still well below the expected 100 to 120 megabytes per second sequential transfer rate of a mechanical drive even if 8k quadruples that bitrate number.
Here our 7200 rpm SATA 3 hard drive was able to play-back 8k footage with no problem and let’s be real if you’re purchasing an 8k display in 2021 you probably have a rig with an SSD.
Anyway, these days solid-state drives (SSD) are getting cheaper but they’re still typically twice as expensive as mechanicals.
So we can understand why anyone would still be attracted to the older tech especially since there’s still an option for stored media.
However, if you have the extra cash we recommend shelling out for the SSD. They’re faster smaller silent usually use less power can take more of a beating and thanks to modern weird leveling techniques.
They last longer too even when reading and writing somewhat frequently and you know what else we do somewhat frequently. We get the best prices and best selection on computer hardware and everything else at micro center across 25 locations in the U.S.
Check out the micro center custom PC builder to spec out your best pc for your budget you can ensure all your parts are compatible, find stock available at your nearest Micro center location. Add it to your cart and arrange for same-day in-store pickup for a fee check the box marked same-day pro assembly to have the micro center expert technicians assemble your pc for you.
If you want help deciding what parts to put in your new custom gaming pc join the new online micro center community. This is a great place to discuss tech with other enthusiasts for a free pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones.
So valid in-store only no purchase necessary are you in the middle of a new build and trying to squeeze every last dollar by going mechanical for your storage.
Let us know in the comments below and if you liked this article check out another article about drive manufacturers, sneaking, SMR shingled magnetic recording into their hard drives without telling consumers. It’s a lot slower and some people say less reliable.