Hard Drives

Difference between SATA & SSD and how it works

Difference between SATA & SSD Hard Drive

In this era of information and technology, data storage is a crucial aspect not only for corporate houses but even for a regular system user. An “unmountable boot volume” error, system lagging or running out of storage space are the commonest heart sinking hindrances that are created by an incompetent integrated storage drive.

Thus, External Hard drives and solid-state drives are the most basic data storage solution currently available in the market in masses. Investing in external storage is the most feasible method to upgrade your system’s memory and avoid all the above-mentioned complication.

Therefore, Here we have laid down the major differences between the two most popular drives currently in marketed: SSD (solid state drive) and SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) on the basis of performance speed, capacity, and durability, etc.


SSD (Solid State Drive)

SSDs store data on interconnected flash memory chips that make it easily accessible at a lightning fast speed at any instance. Unlike hard drives, they have no need of magnetism to write data to a physical disk instead it relies on an embedded processor ( a controller) that performs similar operations to read and write data. A typical SSD uses a non-volatile type of memory or NAND-based flash memory, meaning your data isn’t lost when you turn off your system.

SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) Drive

SATA is a rewritable drive that works along with the mechanism of transferring data from the drive to your system via serial signaling technology. Technically, SATA is not a drive itself rather it is an interface between the Hard disk drive and the system’s motherboard, but as the work together they are commonly used as interchangeable terms. SATA hard drives have been around longer than SSD and were standardly used storage solution for decades. It works on the basic mechanism of storing data on a spinning plate through magnetism, thus higher the spins, faster the drive performs.


1. Boot Speed

An SSD differs from a SATA drive by having no moving or spinning parts that mechanically sort data, therefore, it consumes a significantly lesser amount of time than SATA drive to boot and open files. On the other hand, a SATA drive takes a couple of seconds first to spin up before it can read the drive and start booting.

Thus, an average boot time for SSD drive is as little as 10 seconds while a SATA drive could take at least 30 seconds or more. File open speeds are up to one-third times faster with even the lowest end SSD drive.

2. Read and Write Speeds

The SDD also has an edge over SATA drives when they read and write speeds are put in comparison. An average SSD advertises 250 MB per second read speeds with some advanced drives that can even perform at over 500 MB read and 100 MB per second write speeds. Whereas a SATA drive can deliver as little as 50 MB per second and maxes out about 120 MB per second. The speeds are also highly variable brand to brand and amount of data already stored on the drives. SSD drives still have an advantage in speed and particularly when using applications such as video editing software or graphics files.

3. Durability

SSD is generally considered more durable than SATA drive by having no moving parts or susceptibility to magnets, vibrations or drops, the main reasons why they are preferred in mobiles and high impact environments. Additionally, they generate less heat while processing than SATA drive making them exceptionally great for heat-sensitive laptops and devices.

4. Power consumption

SSD drives consume half or even a third of the power that a SATA drive does. (2-3 watts versus 6-7 watts) as it saves the energy spent on spinning a platter. Consequently, no energy is lost as friction or noise. With multiple workstations in an office, this means lesser electricity bills and longer battery life for laptops and tablets. A battery charge can last 2-3 times longer with an SSD drive than a SATA.

5. Fragmentation

A SATA drive physically records data by its rotatory motion, therefore, there is always a risk of fragmentation when the drive starts to fill up or when files are very frequently being modified or deleted. Fragmentation causes severe system lagging and memory issues. SSD, however, lacks a physical read head thus altogether never faces fragmentation.

6. Price

SSDs, in general, are more expensive than hard drives in terms of dollar per gigabyte. A 1TB internal 2.5-inch hard drive might costs around $40-$60, whereas, the cheapest SSDs of the same capacity and form factor starts around $125. This translates into 4 to 6 cents per gigabyte for the hard drive versus 13 cents per gigabyte for the SSD.

7. Maximum and Common Capacity

SSD typically offers 1TB for notebooks and 4 TB max storage capacity for desktop but those are still expensive in comparisons to SATA drive that can offer up to 500 GB, typically with a 2TB maximum for notebook size drive and 10TB max for desktops. Therefore, a SATA drive caters needs of users with large media collection more efficiently than an SSD.

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