The good thing about the Chromebook is they’ve never been shipped with a traditional HDD. I’m sure you’ve used a computer, which comes with a hard disk with moving parts. They tend to get very loud when the HDD is struggling to cope with the amount of data it needs to deal with.
Chromebooks have always been shipped with a static hard disk. Most Chromebooks come with eMMC storage. This is one of the cheapest storage options available, and it works perfectly well for most tasks.
Apart from a few Chromebooks released in the past. It has only been in the last couple of years that we’ve seen more Chrome OS laptops come with SSD storage. Similar to eMMC it’s a chip with no moving parts. The difference is an SSD is more reliable and far faster than eMMC.
eMMC or SSD storage
Because eMMC storage is cheap most manufacturers have chosen to use this storage type for most Chromebooks. It’s still the case that all budget models and plenty of medium spec models use eMMC.
When you consider what the Chromebook was originally intended for, which was a computer for internet surfing. Using eMMC storage wasn’t really an issue. However, now that you can play games locally. The question of whether eMMC storage is the right choice will depend on what you’re buying a laptop for.
You can of course play games on a Chromebook without installing them locally. You can use Google Stadia or Nvidia GeForce Now. Because these are streaming services where all the processing is done in the cloud. The type of storage you have makes no difference.
If you choose to play games locally by installing Steam. Basic games that do not transfer a lot of data from local storage works fine with eMMC. This isn’t the same if the game is huge and regularly needs to read and write data to disk. This is when you’ll notice eMMC is not fit for that purpose. It will of course depend on the type of game. Some read and write regularly and others may not.
SSD is necessary for large data files
The main benefit of SSD is that it can read and write to more than one location at a time. Totally different from eMMC, which is only capable of reading and writing to one location at a time. Understanding this makes it easy to realise why eMMC storage isn’t going to work well when dealing with huge data files.
There are many other benefits of SSD than just playing games. Any type of software where you’ll be dealing with large data files will benefit. Linux Apps are more popular now on Chrome OS than ever before. Totally understandable because the vast choice of software you can install via Linux is fantastic.
All of these Linux Apps install locally and any data files you deal with will most likely be saved locally as well. If you use Linux Apps to edit videos, which I know some people do. Then the SSD storage will make it a much quicker process.
If you’re considering buying a Chromebook in 2021 and you’ll be spending a lot of money. Then I would try to choose one that comes with SSD. Perhaps not necessary if your main use will be internet surfing and other basic tasks. If that’s all you’ll be doing though it’s unlikely you’ll need a really expensive laptop.
We’ll start to see a lot more Chromebooks in the future start using SSD. This is a natural progression forward. It does mean you’ll be paying more for a laptop, but it will offer you much better performance compared to eMMC storage.
If you want to play games locally on your Chromebook. Unless these games are pretty basic. Then choosing SSD rather than eMMC is essential.