Whats really the difference between an HDD, SSD, and an NVMe?


December 15th, 2022


By Darren Jackson

First we should answer the question of ‘What are each of these things?’

What is a HDD?

Traditional storage components found in personal computers are called hard disk drives, or HDDs. These store and retrieve data using an electromechanical method. For this function, there are numerous spinning magnetic disks.

What is a normal SSD?

Data is stored on flash memory using storage devices known as SSDs, or solid state drives. Given that they don’t have any moving parts, they are somewhat more advanced than HDDs.

When people talk about SSDs, they typically mean a SATA SSD. SATA stands for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment and is now the industry standard for connecting PCs to SSDs.  Although SSDs can use it, the interface was designed for HDDs, so while it is compatible with them, it is not the best thing they can offer.

What is an NVMe SSD?

Non-Volatile Memory Express is known as NVMe. An NVMe SSD is a type of solid state drive that connects to the motherboard using an M.2 form factor rather than a cable. They also employ the PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) interface, which offers a significantly faster method of data transfer.


Now that we know what each of these are, lets talk about how they differ in a few different factors

1. Performance

HDDs have mechanical constraints due to the participation of the moving parts, which affects their performance. A 7200rpm HDD cannot compete with the performance of an SSD.

While SDDs can handle read/write speeds of up to 500 mbps, HDDs only offer up to 150 mbps. NVMe SSDs can outperform even SSDs by a wide margin because they connect directly to the fast PCIe interface. The maximum read/write speed is 3500 mbps on average.

HDDs lag behind in input/output activities by a significant amount. Up to 100 I/O operations per second can be handled by HDDs (IOPS). SDDs can handle up to 100,000 IOPS, however NVMe SDDs can surpass them by a factor of 5. SDDs can handle much more than this.

2. Cost

In terms of price, HDDs are cheaper SATA SSDs and NVMe SSDs. The price per gigabyte is considerably less. Similar to how SATA SSDs are less expensive than powerful NVMe SSDs. However, as the technology keeps improving, SSDs are getting cheaper and cheaper.

3. Reliability

The ordinary PC user can rely on HDDs because their mean time between failures (MTBF) is about 50,000 hours. SSDs and NVMe SSDs, on the other hand, have MTBFs of roughly 1.5 million hours and are significantly more dependable due to their non-mechanical processes and low rate of wear and tear.

4. Power consumption

When it comes to power effectiveness, NVMe is a definite winner. The power efficiency increases by a factor of roughly 25 when a few NVMe manufacturers switch to L1.2 power consumption standby mode.


5.Hardware compatibility

Since they have been around for a very long time, SSDs have several uses in personal computers. SATA SSDs can be used with the interface, which was designed with HDDs in mind.  As a result, while both HDDs and SSDs have strong hardware support, NVMe SSDs are still incompatible with standard PCs. They require an M.2 port, which is less common than the SATA interface and is needed to connect to the computer, as was already indicated.

6. Use-case suitability

HDDs can store a lot of data at a low price, but they are slow.
SSDs are more expensive but speedier.
HDDs can be adequate for computer users without high performance requirements.

However, SSDs have a distinct speed advantage when used for high-demanding workloads like video gaming, video editing, and software development, which go beyond routine usage.
When there is a continuous transfer of a lot of data from one place to another, NVMe SSDs are better suited.
The genuine capabilities of an NVMe SSD only find application in that situation.


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