Tag Archives: difference

Hard Drives for the Non Techy Minded

I got duped! Kinda… Bad case of should have known better.

OK a quick run down of the difference between laptop hard drives for the non tech minded among you. It may help some of you on future purchases.

The first type of laptop hard drive is a traditional old style mechanical drive. They have several disks in them, like CDs, which record your data. The are heavy, they do not like being moved while the disks are spinning and are slow compared to modern hard drives. They can also get hot with constant use and contribute to your laptops heat output. They are however easy to to change with a universal Sata connection, can be upgraded to a 2.5″ SSD drive at a later date, and cheap!

£50 for a 1 Terrayte old style mechanical hard drive.

The next type is a 2.5″ SSD drive (Solid State Drive). A long time ago they were considered unreliable. I never experienced unreliable SSD drives. They are fast. Seriously fast. The Sandisk Ultra has a read / write speed over 10 times faster than the Samsung listed above. I notice the difference the most starting up a PC and starting programs. An old style mechanical drive took 14 secounds to open an A1 300dpi poster I was working on. The SSD drive had it open in 3 secounds. The also have Sata connections so can replace your mechanical Sata drive and as they do not having any moving parts, they do not heat up like mechanical hard drives. The downside is however is the price.

£170 for a 960gb Sandisk Utra SSD.

There are also hybrids available, which are a mix of the two. Its a good idea as they try to store your most used files and programs on a small SSD drive within a mechanical drive, so the programs and files you use regularly open quickly. Its also a lot cheaper than an SSD drive. They have Sata connections so can replace any other Sata hard drive. I am not a fan though. I did not see the great gains promised from mine, and to be honest, if you can wait it out, you can get a 1 TB SSD in a sale for £100.

£70 for a Toshiba Hybrid Drive.

EMMC drives are feckin pointless. OK, maybe not entirely pointless, but I cannot stand them. An EMMC drive is a small chip, embedded onto your laptops motherboard. 99% of the time they cannot be removed or replaced. The advantages are they are tiny and lightweight and cheap to manufacture, this makes them great for things like Chromebooks. They are often referred to as SSD drives. They are technically solid state drives as they have no moving parts. However, they rarely go above 32gb in size, they are often slower than mechanical hard drives, and I repeat, usually cannot be replaced.

£125 Lenovo Chromebook with an EMMC

The last kind is PCIe memory. These are tiny solid state hard drives that have their own connection type. They are lightweight and have no moving parts so fairly cool. They are also blisteringly fast. Faster than the SSD drives I mentioned above. This is because they do not have a Sata connection, they have the potentially faster PCIe connection. I can turn the new laptop on and start using Firefox withing 5 secounds. They cannot however be swapped with any drive. If you get a laptop with a PCIe hard drive, at the moment, you can only upgrade it with a PCIe hard drive. That can be off putting when you see the price. This often limits you to smaller hard drives. If you are a graphics designer, video editor or gamer, they become cost prohibitive.

£599 for a 1TB PCIe hard drive.

So as you can see above, there are 3 solid state drives (SSD), and I fell for the dupe in PCWorld where I was told the laptop had an SSD drive and could be upgraded, which it can be. He just did not tell me it was a PCIe drive and would cost a fortune to do. Oh well, live, learn, and teach others to not make the same mistake.

I am still happy with my HP Pavillion 360 though. 🙂