SSD vs eMMC vs HDD – Which should you choose?

When you’re looking to purchase a laptop, you’ll see that the specs can be quite confusing. Sure, you might understand that RAM is the accessible storage on yor laptop, and you even probably know that when a laptop is 256GB, this refers to the amount of storage space on your laptop. But what about the type of storage that your laptop is using?

Nowadays, the majority of laptops will come with SSD storage – this is true for the premium laptops at least. However, you will still find cheaper laptops that are sold with eMMC storage instead. And if you have an old laptop, then it might even have HDD storage! But how to these all differ? Lets take a look at the differences between them.

SSD vs eMMC vs HDD

In short, nowadays an SSD is the best choice to go for out of these three different forms of storage. They’re faster, more resilient and you’re going to get a better performance. Let’s look at this in a little more detail.

SSD

SSD stands for Solid State Drive, and they’re the most popular in the current market of computing. An SSD is what comes in the majority of laptops nowadays, and if you want the best option available, then you want to stick with an SSD over the other storage methods.

Although SSDs have been used for decades, they haven’t been as readily available on the market for that long. However, nowadays with modern technology we can make SSDs with the same capacity as HDDs, which has been a gamechanger.

Another reason why SSDs have become to most used option is that they use less power than a HDD. This, in turn, ends up giving the laptop a better battery life as well. If you want a good external storage, check out this list of the top external SSD drives available.

  • An SSD is the fastest of the three options, and it can be more than 5x faster than using a HDD alternative.
  • It’s also undoubtedly the most expensive out of these options too, however in most cases it’s worth it.
  • SSDs are definitely the more durable of the choices, which is another reason why they’ve become to go to for new laptops.

eMMC

The majority of the time, you’re going to find eMMCs (which stands for embedded multimedia card) used in phones and tablets. However, some brands also use eMMCs in lower spec laptops too.

Not only are eMMCs typically slower than SSDs, but typically they don’t have as much storage space on them too. Most of the laptops you see use eMMC storage will only have around 64GB or 128GB storage space. This kind of laptop is fine if you’re going to take advantage of cloud storage instead (like Google Drive).

  • They’re primarily used in phones, but cheap laptop brands will also use eMMCs in their laptops too.
  • eMMCs generally aren’t nearly as good as SSDs if you’re looking at something to use in a laptop. They’re still a better option than an old HDD, though.
  • They still provide an acceptable option for people looking for storage on a budget.

HDD

Pretty much all laptops released nowadays will come with an SSD, or cheaper ones come with an eMMC. A HDD, which stands for hard disk drive, is seen as outdated for being used as the main internal storage of a laptop.

However, HDDs can still be very useful to use as external hard drives. Why? Well, they give you the ability to save a lot of data at a really cheap price – you can pick up a 1TB for around a quarter of the price of an SSD. This means that if you have a lot of files that you need to save, then a HDD might prove to be a better choice.

  • No new laptops are being released with HDDs because they’re too slow.
  • Despite being slow, if you want a cheap way to store your files securely then a HDD can still do a good job.
  • They’re a better choice if you have a ton if files too, as you can get HDDs that have more than 10TB of space.

Other Storage Options

In the past, we’ve also used many other forms of storage to save our stuff. This includes;

  • SD Card – Probably the most used of the alternative storage we used nowadays is SD card, which are good because they are typically made to be compatible with many devices.
  • USB – For smaller files, a USB stick can still provide a good option if you want to carry something with you physically.
  • Floppy Disk – If you’re as old as me, you probably remember when everyone used a floppy disk for their files. Nowadays, we don’t use them due to their low capacity – there are much more efficient options out there.
  • CD – Although you might not think it, CDs are a form of storage! Nowadays they are also largely obsolete due to the fact we have much better options available.

Can eMMC be upgraded to SSD?

A common question is whether you can upgrade your laptops eMMC storage to SSD later down the line. The truth is that whilst this is possible, it’s actually very difficult to do this. The eMMC will actually be soldered to the motherboard, so you’ll need to disconnect this in order for you to add an SSD into the device. The reality is that if you’re not going to do this yourself, it’s going to cost a fair bit, and it’s probably not even going to be worth it.

How fast is eMMC?

If you’re looking to know the speed differences between an eMMC and an SSD, then on average an SSD is around 150mb/s faster. An eMMC has an average transfer speed of around 400mb/s. However, an SSD will have a much faster transfer speed than is – on average, even a cheaper SSD will have speeds of around 550mb/s.

Which is better, eMMC or HDD?

Even though an SSD is better than an eMMC, there’s still a reason why we used eMMC’s over a HDD. A HDD will have very slow speeds of around 100mb/s, so around a quarter of the speed of an eMMC.

Is 64gb eMMC enough for a laptop?

If you’re looking to store any significant amount of files on your laptop, then 64GB isn’t going to be enough for you. These kind of eMMC’s are generally targeted at people that will take advantage of cloud storage as opposed to hard drive storage, so you won’t use much of the eMMC space with tons of Word and Excel files, instead saving them within Google Drive or somewhere similar.

Conclusion

If you’re trying to work out which would be best for your laptop, then it’s undoubtedly going to be an SSD. They’re much faster than the other options out there, and although they are more expensive, it’s likely going to be worth the price.

For those trying to save cash, then an eMMC might be the only choice that you have. If this is the case, you’re just going to need to get used to using online storage options in tandem with your eMMC storage. And nowadays, a HDD is only going to be the best choice for external storage with people who need large amounts of space, like gamers.

About Alex

Hello, I'm Alex and this is my website, Spacehop. I started the site as a way to talk about myself, and a few years later we're now a team of 6! I still work full time at a major PC retailer in the UK, and I'm a bit of a tech whizz (self-proclaimed, unfortunately!).

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