The Beginner’s Guide to Storage

Five Points to Consider Before Buying a Computer Hard Drive

Hard drives are crucial components of modern computers. It’s recommended that you buy a new drive every couple of years, to replace an old one or use as an extra hard drive. But with plenty of options out there, which drive do you pick?

The best news about shopping for computer hard drives is that it’s not at all difficult to choose. So long as you stick to the following guidelines, you shouldn’t have to worry about purchasing the wrong drive or anything of the sort.

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The very first point to consider is whether to choose a solid state drive (SSD) or not. While a solid state drive has the same function as a hard drive, it comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.
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So, what are the differences between an HDD and SSD?

Firstly, SSDs are faster in reading and writing data. Secondly, SSDs use less power, conserving energy and extending the battery life of laptops. Thirdly, as SSDs don’t have moving parts, they don’t make noise and are more durable. The drawback is that they have small storage space and are more expensive than HDDs.

What matters more? If price is an issue or you just want a backup drive, buy a traditional HDD. However, if the drive will be used to run an OS or contain plenty of constantly-accessed files and applications, particularly video games, pick an SSD instead.

Interface and physical size

After choosing between a hard disk drive and solid state drive, it’s time to select a form factor. Luckily, only two options are available and your current setup will dictate your choice. 2.5 and 3.5-inch drives are the two form factors.

Desktop HDDs are typically 3.5 inches and laptop HDDs are 2.5 inches. SSDs, on the other hand, are much smaller since they do not require moving parts. So, most SSDs are typically 2.5 inches.

Specifications and performance

In terms of data volume, there are all sizes of HDDs, with storage capacity limited to 4TB because of physical restrictions. SSDs, on the other hand, are far smaller and the storage capacity doesn’t go beyond 1TB. Even so, many SSDs hardly exceed 512 GB.

Many factors determine the performance of a hard disk drive, but one important factor is revolutions per minute, or RPMs. A higher RPMs equals faster data transfer.


There are many different prices for drives that have the same physical appearance. It’s your responsibility to decide on factors that are essential to your needs as well as drives that fit your parameters.

External vs. internal

The final point to consider is where the drive’s going to be housed. Will it be housed inside the casing? Or will it be set up externally? Either way, your choice will depend on your needs and preferences.