Whether you're building your first PC, upgrading a tried and true system or just exploring options, storage memory is a crucial component to getting the best and most stable performance out of your machine. There's a lot of different aspects to consider when looking for the right storage solution; deciding between HDDs and SSDs, understanding what form factor means, what read and write speeds you should look for are a just few typical points to consider.
In today's article, let's discuss storage memory from a wide overview, the different types of storage, features in today's storage options that you should know and the ways to find the right one for you.
HDDs and SSDs
Hard-disk drives have been a traditional staple in storage memory for decades. HDDs are typically used for laptops and desktop PCs and store data when not in use. One of the key aspects of HDDs is that they contain moving parts with a spinning disk with a read/write head (also known as an actuator) that reads data magnetically.
In today's market, faster and more sustainable alternatives are beginning to overtake HDDs as the most popular option, most notably with solid-state drives over the years. Solid-state drives are most commonly used for internal system storage in desktop PCs and laptops and function through flash controllers and internal NAND flash memory chips that reads data.
Key Differences and Similarities Between HDDs and SSDs
The biggest difference between HDDs and SSDs that have made SSDs more appealing is that SSDs are typically faster and have better performance. Unlike HDDs, SSDs also contain no moving parts or magnetic read/write functionality and instead rely on their internal components, resulting in a smaller likelihood of mechanical errors. This also means that SSDs will typically result in much faster read and write speeds, less latency and a longer overall lifespan. As a result, this also means that SSDs are typically more expensive, especially for higher capacities while also having a finite lifespan of data it can write, or TBW (terabytes written.)
However, there are a few helpful similarities between the two. Both HDDs and SSDs can function as both internal or external storage for your system, laptop, gaming console or other types of systems that require data storage. Today, while many users may opt for internal SSDs while choosing external HDDs or SSDs as secondary storage, HDDs can function all the same as internal storage. Each have the ability to store large amounts of data and suit the needs of users of all kinds depending on their speeds and range of abilities.
Purposes of Storage
With knowing the basic differences between HDDs and SSDs also comes the importance of a storage solution's right functionality. Different uses, such as gaming, work, content creation or other technical uses make for good distinctions of what a selected storage drive should deliver.
In most cases with modern gaming and storage standards, SSDs will generally outperform HDDs as internal storage in terms of their random read/write speeds, transfer speeds, boot times and latency. This is due to the high amount of speed needed for certain games to operate clearly and without any delays. For this purpose, SSDs can also be helpful when used as secondary storage when connected as such via enclosures.
However, HDDs can be ideal as secondary storage to hold games, especially for console players where internal drives contain less storage and additional means can help. As mentioned, HDDs can also be cheaper in cost and more worthwhile when adding onto storage for gaming consoles where compatibility could be a concern.
In similar ways, HDDs and SSDs can be comparable in work settings and may be less of a dealbreaker between them. Where high-powered performance is necessary for many programs and speed is a primary need, SSDs can be a wise choice. However, when simply working without the need of high-powered performance or various programs, HDDs can be a good investment on a price-performance basis.
Performance and Speed:
Arguably the most important points to consider and balance out with others is how your storage solution performs when you need it.
Your read and write speeds are crucial points to how your data is accessed in real time. Read speeds represent how quickly data can either be opened or accessed from a drive, while write speeds represent how quickly data can be downloaded or saved onto a drive. As such, the higher your read speeds are, the better they will perform, and the better it will be for gaming.
Capacity is an ever-growing need as many games have begun requiring a large amount of space. Many games can often require over 100GB alone for the base game before factoring in DLC, new content and updates.
For this, it can ultimately depend on cost and how much space gamers are looking for. This is where HDDs can often edge out SSDs, as they will usually cost less than an SSD of equal or even less space, while sacrificing parts of performance. However, when seeking the best performance, it can be external SSDs that will offer premier speeds and reliability that can be worth the extra spent.
For many, this will be a key determinant in what sort of performance range to find for your SSD and what you expect out of your system.
For example, some gaming-pertaining NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 SSDs, such as the Viper VPR400 RGB SSD, sizes such as the 1TB model may start at $74.99, while other brands might begin in the $100+ range. Others, such as the Patriot P400 NVMe M.2 PCIe Gen4 x4 SSD, can reach upwards of $59.99 for 1TB.
Ultimately, price is worth considering when researching what's right for each gamer's need in performance and other components. Price can help to influence the other factors as a whole.
Form factor is a key part of selecting the right storage built to power and connect to your system effectively. For this discussion, there are two important ones we will discuss as they pertain to Patriot Viper: SATA or PVMe M.2.
SATA drives, or Serial ATA drives, are a typical 2.5 inch size designed to function with transferring data between a computer’s board to the storage devices via ACHI cables. Nonvolatile Memory Express, or NVMe, utilizes PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) as a connection directly to the serial express bus in the motherboard. Typically smaller in size than SATA drives, PCIe drives connect to the motherboard without any latency issues and is typically a feature with NVMe SSDs.
As a result, NVMe M.2 drives are much smaller and much faster form factors. These are the premier SSD options to consider for any sort of higher power computing requirements for work, content creation or more for gaming, while SATA drives will be more work-based that are not optimal for gaming.
As discussed above, lifespan can be a fickle point about each. On average, HDDs can be prone to shorter lifespans and more chance for error due to their moving points as opposed to SSDs. However, many SSDs are assigned a certain lifespan of how much data can be written onto the drive before it begins to decline. As referenced above, this is known as TBW, or terabytes written. TBW
is a metric that tells users how much total data can be written to the drive over a given period of time before the possibility of performance decline or failure. Denoted in terabytes (TB), drives are tested and assigned a specific TBW within or past a warranty period for how much total data can be written across its entire lifespan. For example, with Viper Gaming's VPR400, the 512GB unit can sustain 400TBW (or 400 total terabytes), while the 1TB unit can sustain 800TBW (or 800 total terabytes).
Ultimately, there are plenty of factors that go into buying the right SSD that help inform users will need. With these factors in mind, you can now have a good plan of what to look for in your next storage solution.
Viper VPR400 RGB PCIe M.2 SSD
|Patriot P400 NVMe PCIe M.2 Gen4 x4 SSD|