The latest games demand higher storage requirements. On top of that, the need for smoother gameplay and improved performance is equally growing.
In response to these requirements, you now have multiple storage options to choose from. You can use either a single HDD or SDD drive to run the games or combine both to enjoy the benefits of both. Apart from this, you do not even have to add two different drives with the development of both SSD and HDD in a single hybrid drive.
But all of them have their own perks and pitfalls. Here, we will talk about what single-drive and dual-drive storage can offer, have in common, and how they differ from one another.
The basic storage configuration in our computer setup is the use of a single storage drive, either a Hard Disk Drive or a Solid State Drive. Earlier, when the storage space mattered more and the SSD was a lot costlier, using a single hard drive was the norm.
But now, as the price of SSD is plummeting and our demand for faster storage medium is burgeoning, manufacturers have started delivering the system with an SSD. We can now afford to install a larger capacity SSD to store all our games and files.
However, a single SSD still does not meet all the needs. So, to overcome the storage barrier in SSD, we now have the option to use a single hybrid drive, SSHD. It uses the SSD memory to cache the frequently used programs for faster loading and traditional HDD for storing larger files.
- Can be fitted in a small area
- Easy installation and manageable
- Automatic storage of frequent files in faster storage in SSHDs
- Relatively low storage capacity in SSDs
- Latency while loading games from HDD
- Not enough cache memory in SSHD for larger games
- Higher cost of large capacity SSDs
Using multiple storage drives in a system has always been around to increase storage capacity. As the requirements for the latest games are increasing day by day, we need even more storage space in our system. So, it has now become a necessity, rather than a choice, to use dual storage drives.
But, the requirement is not just limited to storage capacity. The heavier games take a long time to load. So, the combination of two traditional hard drives does not quite fulfill the needs. You may need to install dual SSDs of higher storage capacity to store and load heavier games with minimum latency. However, this combination is still at fault due to the high cost of SSDs.
So, there is another option to use a combination of SSD and HDD to get the benefits of both. It works similarly to a hybrid SSHD. But you now have the flexibility to store your desired games in SSD for quick loading and other personal files and additional games in HDD to retain them. On top of that, you can get this setup with your limited budget.
- Relatively higher storage capacity
- Reduced latency in SSD-HDD combination
- Flexibility in storing files of our choice to the faster SSD storage
- Requires a large area to accommodate
- Relatively tedious to manage
- Comparatively high cost
How Are They Similar?
There are not many similarities between a computer with a single drive and one with a dual drive. However, using a single SSD or HDD is the same as using dual SSDs or HDDs if they have equal storage space. You will not find any difference in performance.
Even the performance of a single HDD and a dual SSD-HDD configuration does not suffer except for the loading speed.
Single Drive Vs Dual Drive – Their Features
Let’s look at the different features of the single-drive and dual-drive systems and compare them to find the suitable one for gaming.
It is obvious that using a single drive requires less space in your system. Even more, the use of M.2 and NVMe SSDs reduces the form factor much more.
So, it is convenient to employ a single storage drive in a laptop and desktop of compact size. The smaller form factor of a single drive can provide enough space for airflow inside your system and prevent overheating of your gaming setup.
But dual drives take up quite a lot of your computer’s area. If you use an Add-in-Card as an SSD memory to complement your hard drive, you are going to need enough area to fit in the PCIe card. We are not even going to talk about using dual hard drives, as you will need multiple SATA or Molex connectors and a larger area to fit them both.
The space, however, can be adjusted if you use the combination of NVMe or M2 SSD and a Hard drive, mostly in the case of laptops. Nevertheless, some laptops require the CD/DVD Drive to be removed to accommodate the additional drive.
Storage Capacity, Price, and Latency in Loading
The major difference between these two setups lies in storage capacity and latency and their dependency on price. You can totally use a single hard drive with 2 TB and more storage to run your games. You will even get this at prices less than a cent per GB. However, your games will take time to load and experience latency.
Similarly, you can obtain faster loading speed and smoother gameplay using a single SSD drive, but using this storage with a large capacity can be a lot costlier.
The hybrid single SSD storage can get you an improved loading speed by using a smaller SSD cache and enough HDD storage at a cheaper rate. Nevertheless, if you play multiple games or even higher ones, then the SSD cache may not be enough to accommodate the AppData for all of them. As a result, you will still experience latency in loading the games stored in HDD.
But, in the case of dual drives, you can buy an SSD with lesser storage to run all your favorite games and keep the rest on a separate HDD. For instance, you can use a 256 GB SSD to run the OS and games to load them faster and store all other games on a 1 TB HDD. Even though the price is higher, the price per storage and improved latency can be worth it for this setup.
Furthermore, you can also use an Add-in-Card SSD alongside a Hard drive. But the price for this setup can be really high for the slight performance boost it gives.
However, the reduction in latency with the use of SSD-HDD hybrid in comparison to single or dual HDD drives is not that significant for the price we pay and is only a few seconds. So, if you want to save a few bucks, you can use a dual SATA HDD setup by configuring AHCI or RAID settings to gain a slight improvement in performance.
Durability and Reliability
Single-drive storage is not quite reliable. You might lose all your data if that very drive got damaged. However, it is highly unlikely for both drives to fail at the same time in the case of dual storage.
Regarding durability, a single HDD drive is highly susceptible to damage due to the presence of moving parts. Furthermore, loads from all the programs lie on a single SSD, HDD or SSHD. As a result, its lifespan reduces.
However, the combination of SSD-HDD causes the operating load to remain on the SSD while freeing up the hard drive. Similarly, the SSD also has enough storage space to keep it lag-free and healthy. As a result, the dual drive storage lasts much longer unless any external damage occurs.
File Transfer Speed
If you use a single SSD drive, then the file transfer speed will be much higher. So, you can comfortably transfer the games and other files from a different PC in less time. But, a traditional hard drive will take quite a while to transfer the data.
The case is similar for the dual drive with only SSDs or HDDs. But, if you use an SSD-HDD dual drive, then you can transfer the games to your SSD at a faster rate from external storage. Then, you can shift their locations from the SSD to HDD within your computer at the speed provided by the SATA connection. So, comparatively, the file transfer speed is more in this setup.
If you can work out with a 5 to 10 seconds delay to load the games, then low-priced HDD storage will be enough for you. You can invest a little bit to get more storage space and enjoy more games.
Furthermore, your single SSD drive can handle games taking less storage space easily at reduced latency. So, if you are a casual gamer, then a 256 to 512 GB SSD can be sufficient for you. Alternatively, you can use a hybrid SSHD to improve performance while playing heavier games.
Moreover, you can employ a single SSD drive storage if you like playing games directly from the cloud. In such cases, there is no need for storing the large game files on your PC, and the lower storage capacity SSD drive will suffice.
However, if you constantly play heavy games and want a faster speed, the SSD-HDD combination is the one applicable to you. You can also add as many games as you want to the hard drive until the storage holds it. Even if you do not transfer those games to the SSD and play directly, the reduced latency in other OS operations will help you get better performance.
On top of that, SSD helps run the minute read and write processes smoothly during the gameplay. As a result, you will have smoother gameplay in such a combination if you keep the games in the SSD drive.
A single SSD drive will also provide this advantage, but you will be limited with the storage capacity and price.
Differences Between Single Drive and Dual Drive
|Single Drive||Dual Drive|
|Better latency for SSD, lower price, and higher storage capacity for HDD, but not both at the same time.||Better latency, enough storage space, and a worthy price at the same time for SSD-HDD Configuration.|
|Smooth gameplay only in a single SSD drive but not in a single HDD drive.||Smooth gameplay in the SSD-HDD setup.|
|Requires less space.||Requires more space.|
|Provides enough room for airflow, reducing overheating while gaming.||Quite congested spaces may trap hot air, causing overheating.|
|Less reliable.||More reliable.|
|System automatically looks for the most frequent files to load into the SSD cache in a hybrid SSHD drive.||Flexibility to add the games of your requirement to the SSD for faster performance in SSD-HDD setup.|
|Less Durable.||More Durable.|
|Relatively slower file transfer in a single HDD drive.||Relatively faster file transfer in SDD-HDD drive setup.|
|Single HDD drive better for storing and playing heavy games, and a single SSD drive for better performance but not both at the same time.||SSD-HDD drive suitable for better performance in all kinds of games.|