Hard drives are key component in modern computers. It’s normal to purchase a new one every few years, either to replace an old hard drive or to use an additional hard drive.
But with so many choices out there, which one is best for you? Which one should you buy?
The good news is that hard drive shopping isn’t all that difficult. In fact, there’s a lot of leeway for error here – as long as you follow these guidelines, you won’t have to worry about “buying the wrong hard drive” or anything like that.
Factors to consider before making a purchase
Physical size & interface
How much space you need will depend on how much data you have. If most of your files are word processing documents and spreadsheets, you won’t need the biggest box on the block. 500 GB or 750 GB will last you quite some time. Data drives come in two sizes – 2.5 inch drive and 3.5 inch drive.
Some drives just act as storage boxes they’ll hold your data and nothing more. Others provide some measure of extra security, whether it’s automatic backup or file retrieval. These features typically cost extra, but worth spending the money for the peace of mind they’ll bring.
When talking about speed how quickly it takes for the drive to read and write files most drives are either USB 2.0 drives, which are between 7.9 MB to 9.5 MB in write speed. The USB 3.0 drives they tested go from 11.4 MB all the way up to 286.2 MB.
Types of Storage
There are generally two types of external hard drives: solid-state drives and hard disk drives. Solid-state drives, although extremely fast, are also expensive. You can pay nearly triple that of an external HDD when you start getting into large capacities.
Hard disk drive vs. Solid state drive
The absolute first decision to make as far as data storage is concerned is whether or not you want a Solid State Drive (SSD). While an SSD fulfills the same function as a traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD), it has its own set of pros and cons.
For those who don’t know, an SSD is a type of drive that uses something called flash memory for storing data instead the spinning metal disks you’d find in a traditional HDD. Think of it like a massive USB thumb drive.
What difference does it make, anyway?
First, SSD’s are faster at reading and writing data. Second, SSD’s require less power draw which conserves energy and extends laptop battery life. Third, SSD have no moving parts so they make no noise and have longer lifespans. The downside is that SSD’s are more expensive and have smaller data capacities than HDD’s
What’s the bottom line? If price is a big concern, go with a traditional HDD. Or if you’re buying the drive mainly as a backup drive, go with a traditional HDD. And as far as HDD’s are concerned, you can’t go wrong with the 1 TB HDD.