What is the difference between flash memory and hard drive and who will come out on top in this particular battle?
The clearest differences are fundamentally in their size, cost, longevity, operating speed, and their availability.
Flash memory storage devices such as Solid state drives are far more expensive than hard drives. This is due to the fact that the cost of manufacturing flash memory storage devices are higher, as it is generally a newer practice in the market. There are exceptions as you can buy cheap memory sticks and cards that do technically pass as flash memory but are nowhere near as fast or serviceable an SSD.
Generally devices that run on flash memory perform faster than those that run on hard drives. A good example of this could be a home desktop computer that is equipped with an SSD will boot in seconds, will access data very quickly, and transfer files and folders faster.
As opposed to these qualities a general hard drive be it external or internal takes a fair amount of time to pick up speed for normal use. This is basically because a hard drive has mechanical parts inside that work in unison with each other for the hard drive to function properly. And ultimately, the components read data of a platter that is always moving when the drive is powered on. The data can get fragmented over time and everything slows down.
Furthermore flash memory devices do not have physically moving parts, so in theory depending on use they should last longer. Also they are more secure from physical damage, if you were to drop an external hard drive for instance the damage to the mechanical components mentioned before could be catastrophic.
It is expected that flash memory technology will become more affordable and common in the future, and when that happens hard drives will be in danger of losing this very intriguing battle for good. But for now both have considerable pros and cons, and it is down to personal preference.
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