The primary difference between SSDs and HDDs is that SSDs don't move, whereas HDDs are continually spinning. The price is also considerably different, with SSDs costing six to eight times as much as the same amount of storage space in an HDD. So, when is it worth the exorbitant cost of an SSD? There are actually several instances when the cost is worth the performance.
When SSD is the Best Option
SSDs are significantly more tolerant of environmental roughness than HDDs, mainly because the drive isn't spinning. In the field where vibrations and an occasional knock is expected, an SSD is able to withstand conditions far better than an HDD. When shopping for a mobile CAD workstation, SSD is the obvious solution, so long as the budget permits.
In conditions where speed is a primary concern, SSDs significantly outperform HDDs. Is it enough to make a difference? Yes. By reducing latency on every single task a worker performs all day every day, a lot more work gets done in less time. For a highly productive work situation, SSDs are definitely worth the cost.
SSDs also last longer than HDDs, so for jobs where it's important to keep a machine running harder for longer, the SSD is, again, worth the price. An SSD's lifespan is measured in write cycles. Consumer grade SSDs can hold up for about 3,000 to 5,000 cycles, and a single-level cell SSD flash drive can last up to 10,000 cycles. By limiting tasks like defragging, hibernation, and search indexing, the life of the SSD can be extended for years upon years.
When HDD is the Best Option
Aside from price, the main downside to SSDs is capacity. HDDs can store more versus the same size SSD. So in situations where lots of storage space is more important than speed, an HDD might actually be a better choice than the pricier SSD.
HDD will likely be a player for years to come, as many businesses simply can't justify the cost of a comparable SSD. HDD allows lower-budget businesses to invest in CAD workstations for just a few hundred dollars more than a desktop PC, which means small businesses can still compete with the bigger guys.
Choosing an SSD/HDD Combination
Another option is to use a combination SSD/HDD setup. Usually, this configuration involves loading the operating system onto the SSD drive, for super fast and reliable boot up. The other applications are loaded onto the HDD drive, which allows for a high storage capacity without the additional cost. This can also make the operating system more reliable.
The main consideration, whether you opt for SSD or HDD, is to buy more memory than needed. Not only does memory go quicker than anticipated, a full drive simply doesn't offer the performance provided by a less full drive.
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