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Choosing the Right Internal Hard Drive

The hard drive is the computers long-term memory, where all of its data is stored permanently. The right model can vary a lot depending on what your needs are.

How Much Storage Space Do I Need?

  • Internal hard drives come in a lot of different sizes. Manufacturers like Hitachi make everything from 100 GB drives up to drives with multiple terabytes of capacity.
  • The size of the hard drive depends a lot on how much you use the computer. Its possible to store a lot of documents and images in 100 GB, but when storing a lot of 6 GB Blu-Ray rips or 20 GB games, that space goes a lot faster. If you want to keep your music collection on your hard drive as well, 1 GB of space is enough for around 200 average-length MP3 format songs.
  • Most users will do just fine with a 250 GB or 500 GB hard drive. However, avid gamers and movie watchers might want to find a drive with a terabyte or more of storage. Remember that it is possible to supplement the internal storage with external drives.

Which Other Specifications Should I Look At?

  • Different hard disk drives spin at different speeds, measured in RPM. Most hard drives spin at either 5400 or 7200 RPM. A drive that spins faster can access and deliver data more quickly.
  • Make sure that the hard drive is compatible with the device. Different drives come in different sizes. Hard drives for laptops often have a 2.5-inch disk, while desktops often have a 3.5-inch drive instead. Depending on the specific models, you may be able to use adapters or caddies to install a smaller drive in a bigger bay. See the manufacturer site for size details.
  • Different drives connect to the motherboard in different ways, with most models using SATA. Several generations of SATA connection have been released, with later SATA generations delivering higher data transfer speeds. SATA I has a bandwidth of 150 MB per second.

What Are My Alternatives to a New Internal Hard Drive?

  • Using external storage gives a potentially massive amount of extra capacity without the hassle of swapping out an internal drive. Companies like Hitachi make a lot of different external drives so you can find one with the desired capacity and features.
  • Whether you want to store data internally or externally, a traditional hard drive isnt your only option. Solid state drives have become more popular, to the point that a lot of new computers come with an SSD as standard. An SSD typically has less total capacity than an HDD, although some models now have multiple terabytes of capacity. However, they can access stored data a lot more quickly, delivering much faster boot and load times.

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