Which Type Of Computer Storage is Right for You

Which Type Of Computer Storage is Right for You

Nathaniel (Fox) Prewitt

When you look at a computer, there is a lot of confusing information: one of them is the type of data storage in a computer. In 2021 the most common types of data storage are hard drives, and SSD or solid-state drives. Hard drives are the most simple, SSD is a very broad definition that has over 10 different types of data storage devices. Each type of data storage has its pros and cons that determine if they are right for you and worth the price.

Hard Drives

Hard Drives are one of the older data storage devices that are still in use commonly, this is because of their reliability and cheap capacity size compared to the other options of storage. Hard drives are non-volatile data storage devices. That means that the hard drive will continue to save even if the computer is not powered. This makes permanent storage that is very reliable. Hard drives have quite a few pros that make them very helpful but hard drives are becoming outdated with newer SSDs. Hard drives are cheap compared to other storage devices and you can save a lot of money picking a Hard Drive over a high-capacity SSD. Hard drives are also very easy to connect and can work on most computers or servers. They are also very reliable and new hard drives rarely fail unless they are used dramatically. But there are quite a few cons to picking a hard drive. First off, there is a moving disk within the hard drive making a ringing noise within your computer. They also have a lot slower load time as the data transfer between a SATA cable is a lot slower than modern SSDs. For a gamer, having a game on a hard drive will have loading times that can be twice as long as the same game loaded on an SSD. If you are picking out a hard drive for your computer, I would recommend it as secondary storage rather than your boot drive so that you do not slow down your computer’s boot times.

Solid State Drives

Solid State Drives were first introduced on the market in 1984 and have been developed to be one of the main storage systems on the market. SSD is also a non-volatile data storage just like hard drives. Solid State Drives are a great way to retain storage but they are a fair bit more expensive than magnetic storage or hard drives. There are quite a few different types of SSDs; the most common ones that you would be putting in your computer are Solid State Drives, M.2 SSDs, and NVMe SSD. The other types of SSD drives are USB flash drives, memory cards, and SD cards. The next step above a hard drive would be a regular SSD, they have faster data transfer speeds and they have no moving parts in them. An SSD is rather expensive compared to a hard drive, for example, a 500-gigabyte hard drive is around $25 to $30 while a 500 gigabyte SSD can be around $50 to $80. As there are more efficient SSD coming onto the market making the standard SSD less expensive and a great Data storage for a computer.


The M.2 SSD is just like the standard SSD but there are quite a few key features that make it great for higher-end computers. The main difference between the standard SSD and the M.2 is that the M.2 connects directly to the motherboard while the Standard is connected by a wire to the motherboard. The M.2 has a much faster load time compared to other data storage and they are dramatically smaller. Now, this is where it gets a little more complicated, there are two different types of M.2 drives, SATA and PCIe. The standard SSD also uses SATA meaning that it has the same data transfer speed between a Standard SSD and a SATA M.2 SSD. The latest generation of SATA is SATA 3 and has a max data transfer speed of 600MB/s. Compared to a PCIe M.2 this is slow, PCIe M.2 has a max data transfer speed of 3.94 GB/s. This makes a PCIe M.2 faster than a SATA M.2 but this also makes it much more expensive. I would recommend getting a PCIe M.2 rather than a SATA M.2 because they are worth the price increase for the data transfer speeds.


NVMe is very similar to a PCIe M.2 because it uses a PCIe or a PCI express lane on the motherboard. NVMe is a good storage idea for older boards that do not have an M.2 slot open but they have a PCIe slot open. NVMe is more of an outdated drive but it has evolved into something new. The NVMe is now mostly M.2 PCIe expansion slots that you can add to your motherboard.

My Recommendation

Even after figuring out all the differences between these data storage devices, it can still be difficult to decide which one is right for you. I recommend getting at least two of them so you can get all the pros for a cheaper price. I recommend getting a PCIe M.2 for your boot drive, this will help your computer launch faster when you turn it on. You can buy a 500GB PCI-Express 3 M.2 for $70, with this SSD you can download your most-used games on it and have very fast load times compared to if they were on a hard drive. After buying the M.2, I recommend that you buy a hard drive for a large amount of cheap storage. Having a hard drive will make it so that you can download a lot of games or other things without worrying about space. You can buy a two terabyte hard drive for around $50 to $60. Combining the hard drive with an M.2 SSD, you can have the best of both worlds of a fast load time while having a bunch of cheap space for your computer.