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I was wondering whether it is best to have an HDD+SSD or SSD solution in a laptop computer. What are the advantages of each and what should I be looking for?

Thanks.

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I use SSDs in all of my computers, laptops and desktops. SSDs are more reliable than HDDs and use less power, which can be important in a laptop. They are also extremely faster. However, HDDs are cheaper and can come in larger capacities. If you don't mind spending a bit extra for a large boost in speed and don't need a large amount of space go with an SSD. You can find them up to 4 TB but 1 TB ones will run between $150 and $100 dollars. If you need upward of 1 TB and don't want to spend $300 to $600 for a 3 to 4 TB SSD, go with an HDD, or possibly use a 500 or 250 GB SSD for your OS and a secondary HDD for storage, assuming your laptop has two slots.

  • Thanks. BTW, are Heads much larger than the 4TB limit you mention? Thanks. – Joselin Jocklingson Apr 20 at 13:33
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    Do you mean HDDs? You can get 14 TB HDDs for around $400. However, your laptop probably does not have a 3.5" bay for a hard drive. Most laptops only have 2.5 inch bays. A quick search on Newegg showed that the max size for a 2.5" drive was 5 TB, which cost $170. – Bold Warrior Apr 21 at 16:17
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    Also note that this 5TB HDD is 15 millimeters thick, while the standard for laptop hard drives is 7 millimeters. If you want the 5TB HDD, you are going to need to check to see if it fits. – Bold Warrior Apr 21 at 16:27
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You options:

  1. You use the SSD to cache the content of your HDD. On this way, the SSD will work like a big cache to your HDD. The advantage is that you nearly get the speed an zero-seek-time of the SSD, but in the size of your HDD. The disadvantages are the increased administration/configuration costs, and that you lose the disk space of your SSD (because it will cache and not raw data). Leave a little space empty on your SSD, to help the wear leveling feature working!
  2. You use the SSD for speed & seek intensive tasks, and the HDD for tasks requiring big permanent space. There are also laptops with a preinstalled Windows having an SSD C: and a HDD D: drivers.

If you are using Linux, LVM can help a lot in both.

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Basically, the following will apply:

An SSD will give you better read/write speeds and is available in smaller physical sizes.
An HDD will give you better price-per-GB and will usually be available in larger storage capacities.

For a laptop, it will depend on the chassis and the motherboard. If there is an M.2 slot, this will give you access to the range of NVMe SSDs, these are both very small in physical size and give you very fast speeds. If you have a single SATA interface for a 2.5" drive then your best option would be to go for the largest capacity SSD you can afford. If you have both, then you can opt for the SSD for your operating system and working fileset (applications) and a large capacity HDD for your data (documents, photos, videos, etc).

  • But is there a disadvantage if I place documents, photos, videos, computer programs, etc., on an SSD, besides the storage capacity? Can't I have a 1TB SSD? What sizes do they come in and are they that expensive? – Joselin Jocklingson Mar 8 at 13:30
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    @JoselinJocklingson general they come in doubling sizes. 256gb,512gb,1tb,2tb($327 samsung860 ),4tb. 4tb is expensive, and enything above that you probably need a car loan to afford. Though some drives are slightly rounded down like 250 and 500 vs 256 and 512. The only disadvantage to putting docs and etc on an SSD is your using extremely fast storage for things that don't require it. Most videos are less than 10mb/s so placing it on a SSD won't make it play any faster. – cybernard Mar 10 at 16:32
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    If your laptop only has space for one drive then you have to choose; this is the determining factor. I would go with the SSD because it will make your computer quicker overall. Just get the largest size you can afford from a reputable manufacturer: Samsung, Crucial, SanDisk etc. – Rich M Mar 11 at 15:02

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