HDD Buying Tips for Your Laptop and Desktop
Without a storage device, our computer system is just a piece of dumb machine that can’t even save or remember any single file or information in it.
A lot of different kinds of storage devices are available in the market, but Hard Disk Drivers still hold the strength to find a place in most of the desktop or laptop computers.
It all about its decent speed, which comes with a pretty cheap price tag;
And not just like SSD, it doesn’t come with the fixed write cycles. But before purchasing any storage device for your computer system, it always important to know every bit about the drive’s characteristics.
And of course, take a moment to see who suits you better.
In case if you’re looking for something like 40 times better performance and don’t care about your wallet, then HDD isn’t the thing for you and I think it’s better if you should go for an SSD (Solid-State-Drive).
#So, Let’s See How to Buy A Hard Disk Drive:
Buying a perfect hard disk drive for your Laptop and Desktop isn’t that simple how it looks like. You’ll need to understand the basics, and your storage needs, and not just that, understanding the performance is the whole another story.
But let me make it easier for you, and get started with the first sub-topic name;
1# – Choosing the Drive Type.
Mainly there are two types of hard disk drive available in the market and those are:
- Internal Hard Disk Drive – Just like SSDs, an internal HDD can work as the primary storage unit of your computer system. It widely used in desktops, laptops, Gaming Consoles, Servers, CCTV Cameras, and in a lot more things that you can imagine. The best part is, it comes in a variety of sizes just to fit in anywhere you wanted. Even the old iPod came with the 1.8-inch hard drive built in it.
- External Hard Disk Drive – External HDD is the combination of two different computer hardware which is an “Internal HDD” and “SATA to USB HDD Enclosure”. With an enclosure, you can easily convert your old hard drive to an external one, even without having any other software upgradation. You can even install an OS in an external drive but It mainly used as a secondary storage unit for all your backups and all kinds of stuff.
It all depends on you to choose which one. But if you’re willing to buy an external hard drive for yourself then this article isn’t for you and you should need to check out my this article about: How to Buy an External Hard Disk Drive?
Here are some related articles which you might be interested in;
- Need to Convert an Internal HDD (Hard Disk Drive) To External – Let’s See How?
- Current List of Top & Best External Hard Disk Drive in The Market
2# – Choosing the Right Storage Size
Hard drive not only come in variations of physical sizes but also differentiates from one another in terms of the data it can store. This section discusses the storage size suitable for your system;
Storage size, also called as capacity is denoted through GB/gigabytes or TB/Terabytes. The variations might be possible between the size mentioned in the label and the size as calculated by your operating system.
Low capacity drives are affordable than the former variety, it comes at the cost of glitches in performance. Less flexibility in operations, lower storage, speed glitches are the signs of lower capacity drives. The data transfer speed in this storage is lower and also costs high per gigabyte of storage.
If you go for a big capacity drive then it can surely offer you some better performance. Anything over and above the size of 4 TB is said to be high storage drives. They offer a lower cost per gigabyte and also produce higher data transfer speeds because a bigger capacity drive contains multiple disk platter per drive which helps to speed up the process by reducing the workload per platter.
The decision between deciding larger or smaller drives has to be made considering the usage. However smaller drives come at the cost of increased maintenance of multiple discs while compared to larger HDD where a few may serve the purpose.
While using HDD it should be kept in mind that a drive failure might happen unexpectedly. A small failure will cost a lot in terms of loss of files. Thus, it is essential to have a backup of all the data to avoid potential loss and stress.
If the usage is said to be high, it calls for a perfect HDD RAID setup. But if you are not a collector then having a 2 or 4 Terabytes hard drive is actually enough for every normal PC user.
If you need better performance then having both SSD & HDD can actually show you the real deal what storage can do these days;
A normal PCIe Gen 4 M.2 SSD can easily reach up to 5000 MB/s of data transfer speed as compared to the 260 MB/s which is the highest a hard drive can ever get.
If you’re tight on budget and need both SSD & HDD then it’s better if you compromise for the big storage hard drive and can invest some of the money into the smaller size SSD for your new rig.
In one of my old computer, I’m still using single 1 TB M.2 SSD for my active storage usage, and for all the extra needs I have a 4TB Enterprise-class HDD which pretty much have all my “Pictures, movies, games, and ISOs collection”.
To know more >> Do I need HDD or SDD & What’s The Difference?
3# – Compatibility Check-up
Compatibility is the next big thing while buying an HDD, you have to make sure that it does get fit in your laptop or desktop and it needs to be compatible with the motherboard interface too.
It’s on you to pick the right hard drive because it comes in different types of interfaces, like SATA, SAS, SCSI, IDE, etc. Most of our computers use the SATA interface, but it depends that your motherboard has the older version of SATA or the newer one.
SATA 2.0 provides half the speed of SATA 3.0 – 3Gb/s to 6Gb/s respectively. But the performance will not going to be an issue for the SATA 2.0 users as it can support up to 300MB/s whereas the fastest consumer SATA 3.0 hard drive only limits to 250-260MB/s. SATA is also backward compatible, so without having any problem you can run any of your 3.0 hard drive on the 2.0 compatible motherboard.
Physical size also matters too;
HDD comes in two basic physical sizes: 2.5-inch (which used in laptops or in external enclosures) and 3.5-inch (that you can find in any big size desktop computer).
2.5 inch or 3.5 inches refer to the size of the data platter disk, not the whole drive. So, when you look into the marketplace you will find that some of the same size disk platter hard drives are a bit thicker and some are a bit slimmer.
The dimension (mainly height) of a hard drive depends on its series. You will not find any problem while fitting a fatty 3.5-inch drive into your big desktop chassis, but buying a small one for your laptop need some basic height measurement.
2.5 Inch hard drive comes in three different height standards, 7mm (which mainly used in most of the latest laptops), 9.5mm (can be found in old laptops) & 15mm (which mainly used in the NAS & Servers).
And to check the drive size compatibility of your laptop, you just need to measure the height of your old installed hard drive and that’s it. You can also check out the specification of your laptop to know about the drive’s model number which you can search on the internet for the drive’s height preference.
Suggested link: 4 Different Ways To Find Your Desktop Or Laptop’s Model Number
Some SATA hard drive even comes with a different type of firmware to support some particular type of hardware. Other than a normal desktop drive, NAS, Surveillance, or server-grade hard drives are designed for 24×7 operation in a system where multiple disks operate in close proximity.
As long as a drive comes with the SATA interface, you can use any NAS or a Surveillance based drive in your desktop computer. But you can’t expect a different firmware drive to perform same as it can be on its dedicated hardware.
It’s always better to choose a desktop-grade hard drive, but if you didn’t think much about putting a hole in your pocket and looking for a perfect performer drive for your ultimate expensive machine. Then using a ‘Server grade’ or you can say an ‘Enterprise-class’ hard drive in your computer will definitely make a big difference in your system’s storage performance.
To know more about it >> Check Hard Disk Drive (HDD) Compatibility with Laptop or Desktop Motherboard
4# – Paying for the right performance
Having low system performance is really a bad dream of every computer user. If you didn’t pick the right drive for your PC, then it will surely become a bottleneck for your whole system’s performance.
Other hardware didn’t do that much until you install a perfect performer drive to fulfill their needs. That’s why a storage drive is the third most crucial hardware to pick, after picking the RAM & CPU.
To understand how you can compare the performance difference between two different hard drives, you need to look over some couple of specifications and benchmark reports to know about what it can really do.
Here are some performance factors;
- RPM – Hard drives mainly made up of a motor with some rewritable disks and a series of heads that process all the read and writable data. Most of its performance depends upon how fast that motor can run. Generally, motor speed measured in RPM (round per minute), which is the most highlighted thing you’ll find on any HDD’s product page. Just make sure to pick a drive that can go up to 5400 RPM or higher.
- Cache – Hard drive cache is also known as “Disk Buffer”, works as a temporary memory for the hard drive as it reads and writes data to the magnetic disk platters. It’s like a built-in RAM specifically for the hard drive. Just make sure to look for the higher numbers.
- Max Sustainable Transfer Rate in MB/s – Most of the time you won’t be able to find the actual speed of a hard drive on its datasheet or the specification page so you can tell the speed difference like SSDs. And that’s where the benchmark website came in, search the internet and find some great HDD benchmark websites (there are a lot more out there) which can tell you the real-time performance specs of any popular drive in the market.
5# – Pay for the extra features
If you don’t mind putting some extra dollars on your purchase, you can easily get an enterprise drive for your computer. Most of the server-grade hard drives come with ‘Rotational Vibration Sensor’, longer hours of ‘Mean Time Between Failures’, 5 Years of Warranty (instead of 2 or 3 years). Some even came with the complementary Data Recovery Service/Software.
The Choice is yours;
But in case if you need some extra help. Here is a list of articles which I update monthly just to make your shopping more worthful;
- Best Gaming HDD for Desktop & Laptop – Monthly Updated
- Best Budget HDD for Desktop & Laptop – Monthly Updated
- Best SAS or SATA Enterprise Hard Drive – Monthly Updated
- Best 500GB HDD for Desktop and Laptop – Monthly Updated
- Best 1TB HDD for Desktop and Laptop – Monthly Updated
- Best 2TB HDD for Desktop and Laptop – Monthly Updated
- Best 3TB HDD for Desktop and Laptop – Monthly Updated
- Best 4TB HDD for Desktop and Laptop – Monthly Updated
- Best 5TB HDD for Desktop and Laptop – Monthly Updated
- Best 6TB HDD for Desktop and Laptop – Monthly Updated
- Best 8TB HDD for Desktop and Laptop – Monthly Updated
- Best 10TB HDD for Desktop and Laptop – Monthly Updated
- Best 12TB HDD for Desktop and Laptop – Monthly Updated
Some more suggested Articles:
- How to Change HDD, SSD, and Optical Drive’s SATA or IDE Cable?
- Need to Convert an Internal HDD (Hard Disk Drive) to External – Let’s See How?
“That’s all for now, thanks for sticking with the topic, and you know what! It will always good to let me know about the article, in the comments section down below.”