Laptop, Opinion

Never Get a Laptop Without an SSD

Shopping for a new laptop? Well, whether you’re looking to get an affordable productivity laptop, or even an entry-level gaming machine, keep this in mind: always, always look for a laptop with a solid-state drive (SSD) instead of a hard disk drive (HDD), even if the former is more costly.

In this day and age, it is almost inexcusable for modern-day laptops to not come with SSD storage – except maybe for the most affordable of notebooks. Even then, paying a couple hundred more for a laptop with an SSD is well worth it, and I’m going to tell you why.

For starters, your user experience will be a lot more pleasant with an SSD. You will see a dramatic improvement in boot time, and games will load a lot faster. Just imagine how much more convenient it is to press the power button and get to the desktop within seconds instead of minutes.

Besides that, you will also see drastic improvement in speed when launching applications. Heck, even a simple operation like opening a file is faster with an SSD. Again, this relates back to the user experience – not having to wait more than a couple of seconds for files to open or applications to load is something you would really miss when you’re using a machine with only an HDD.

Okay, confession time: I am actually in the midst of reviewing a laptop with only an HDD drive. Using this laptop as my daily driver really made me realise just how much I take the speed of SSD for granted. In fact, waiting for more than a minute for the laptop to boot into the desktop alone felt…well, wrong. It’s as if the laptop was defective in some manner.

Now, long boot time was only the beginning of my “adventure.” It was jarring to have to wait for Chrome to slowly load my tabs after launching it, and I can forget about alt-tab back to the desktop while I am gaming; it takes way too long. It’s as if I’m using a machine from the early 2000s, and those were not pleasant times.

Since we’re on the topic of gaming, it is absolutely important to get a gaming laptop with an SSD. Granted, some folks may be fine with longer load times, but it can get really bothersome if you’re playing games like Fortnite or Apex Legends.

So here’s what happened: I was in a queue for a Fortnite match, and once I was matched to a game, I was brought to the loading screen…for a very long time. So long, in fact, that by the time the game loaded up, the Battle Bus was already halfway through the map. What if my teammates wanted to jump earlier? I would’ve been left alone at the other side of the map.

Now, I’m not saying that you should totally avoid HDD: there are scenarios where it is more practical than an SSD. If you need a lot of storage space to store a huge number of movies and music, a 2TB HDD is more cost-effective than a 1TB SSD. Plus, access speed doesn’t matter all that much to store your media files.

That’s the reason why some laptops come with both HDD and SSD. The SSD can be used as the boot drive to speed up boot time, while the HDD can be used to store huge amount of data that doesn’t benefit as much from faster access speed.

But whichever laptop you’re getting, please: opt for one that comes with an SSD; even laptops below the RM2,000 mark now come with a 128GB SSD. If you’re looking to get a laptop that costs more than that, don’t even bother looking at ones that don’t offer any SSD storage. It’s ridiculous for more expensive laptops to not have one.

If you already own a laptop that doesn’t come with an SSD, check to see if you can add one yourself. Trust me, you will appreciate the faster performance, and it’s worth noting that SSDs have gotten a lot more affordable – gone are the days where HDDs are vastly cheaper than SSDs.