Internal Hard Drive Reviews
Extra storage is becoming a bigger issue for consumers, because there’s simply an enormous amount of data on the average computer today. With the intense volume of music, videos, and photos, it seems like even the newest computer models don’t have enough space, and certainly with the ultra lite Notebooks that are so popular, a good hard drive is in high demand. When shopping for an internal hard drive, the consumer can become quite overwhelmed because there are so many to choose from, and the credentials that make for a great drive are rather confusing. Questions regarding how many terabytes you need, or what’s the best rotational speed can be quite confounding. In general, adding any new terabyte of space is pretty voluminous, but if you have a tremendous amount of data, then 1TB isn’t going to be enough. Reading reviews is a great way to feel-out which brand of drive is best for you, as some are much more user-friendly and intuitive than others.
Internal Hard Drive Buying Guide
An internal hard drive is a storage device built directly into a computer case and attached to the motherboard or interface card using a parallel advanced technology attachment (PATA) or a serial ATA (SATA). Recent advances in hard drive technology has been such that consumers have a wide range of choices available at inexpensive prices. If you want to expand you computer’s current storage capacity, a larger capacity internal hard drive can be purchased to replace the original one.
When looking for an internal hard drive, there are a few important factors to consider. The most important things you’ll need to consider when purchasing a new hard drive are capacity, speed, the interface used, and the level of noise.
Factors to Consider When Buying an Internal Hard Drive
Internal Hard Drive Capacity
Hard drives of varying capacity are available – anywhere from a few hundred gigabytes (GB) to one terabyte (TB). Hard drives measured in terabytes offer 100 gigabytes of storage, and are becoming increasingly popular for the ample storage capacity they provide. Below, you’ll find a list of the different units of storage and their equivalent capacity:
Kilobyte (KB) – 1,000 bytes
Megabyte (MB) – 1,000 kilobytes
Gigabyte (GB) – 1,000 megabytes
Terabyte (TB) – 1,000 gigabytes
Consider how much data you’ll need to store on your hard drive. If you don’t use your computer for much more than business tasks like checking email and surfing the internet, you may find an internal hard drive with a capacity of 250 GB to be more than sufficient. Heavier users who do things like edit photos, audio, or video, on the other hand, may find 1TB to be barely enough. Larger files and multimedia applications require more hard drive resources. When in doubt, go with the larger capacity hard drive. You’re better off having more space than you need than not having enough.
Large capacity internal hard drives can be fairly expensive, for obvious reasons. Of you don’t need a whole lot of space right now, consider buying a smaller drive in the interim and adding more storage as needed. Many computers will allow you to add more than one internal drive. You can also add an external drive if you need more storage space.
Internal Hard Drive Speed
Most internal hard drives created for desktop computers run at a speed of 7,200 revolutions per minute, or RPM. High-speed models can spin as high as 10,000 RPM. The speed of the internal hard disk determines how fast data is written and retrieved. If you only use your computer for surfing and basic tasks, you may not require a high-speed drive. Gamers and professionals, however, may want to consider the more expensive, faster hard drive.
Seek speed refers to how fast a hard drive finds specific data. Seek speed is measured in milliseconds, and tends to increase with the hard drive size.
Internal Hard Drive Interface
Computers either use a PATA or a SATA interface. Most newer computers use a SATA interface, which is able to support data transfer rates of 150 or 300 MB per second. PATA drives are still available however, but offer maximum data transfer rates of only 100 or 133 MB per second. While PATA-to-SATA adapters exist, it’s better to match the internal hard drive’s interface to that of the computer. This will ensure the best performance, especially in the case of SATA drives, which only work with a SATA interface. A PCI Express card or PCI add-in card can help you add a SATA interface to a machine without one. These cards are expensive and easy to find.
Internal Hard Drive Noise Level
Some internal hard drive models are noisier than others. This can cause problems if you use your computer as a media center. Not many drives, however, are loud enough to drown our audio or music. Some manufacturers make specialty drives with low noise levels. Choose one of these types if noise is a concern.
Other Factors to Consider When buying an Internal Hard Drive
While it’s important to think of the speed, capacity, and interface of the hard drive, there are a few other additional features to consider when choosing a internal hard drive:
- Does the PC case have enough space to accommodate the drive?
- Do you have all of the internal drive bays and other components necessary to install it?
- Do you have a spare plug for the separate power supply of the internal hard drive? Is it powerful enough to run the drive?
Make sure there is enough space in the computer case to allow for the installation of a new hard drive. The power supply should have a free plug, and should be able to power an additional device. If cost is a concern, consider the more inexpensive option of buying a smaller internal hard drive alongside a large external drive.
To make installation of your internal hard drive easier, look for one that comes with all necessary mounting hardware, cables, instructions, and software. Another thing you may want to consider is investing in a separate external hard drive for backing up your data. This will free up space on your internal hard drive, and gives you a safety net in case anything goes wrong with your computer.
When buying an internal hard drive, the most important things you’ll need to check are the capacity, speed, and interface. Casual computer users can opt for lower capacity hard drives to save money, while heavier users will want to focus on speed and performance. Think about your specific needs and what type of data you’ll need to store on the internal hard drive before making your final choice.