Notes and thoughts from the (to be frank) so-so article I stumbled on, Solid Modeling Vs Surface Modeling:
Solid modeling involves beginning with objects that have an “unambiguous” definition of a solid interior versus the exterior space. Surface modeling, by contrast, works by constructing surfaces between 3D curves then linking these surfaces into closed spaces. The essential advantage of solid modeling is that exact topological information associated with the model; and conversely, the exacting nature generally leaves less design flexibility – or at least intuitive design flexibility – as compared to surface modeling. The industry may define what type of modeling is preferable. If design aesthetics take precedent over other concerns, surface modeling may be best. If engineering and the importance of analysis are foremost, then solid modeling would generally seem to be the choice. For example, the necessity of being able to construct a “watertight” model often varies greatly between mechanical engineering and video games.
As with any competing approaches to solve a general problem, the real question is not which is better, but rather how can these be techniques be merged and intertwined seamlessly so the best tool is always available?