Perhaps it is from this parameter that you should build on. 500 GB and 1 TB drives are suitable mainly for office computers. If you are an active user who regularly downloads movies and installs games, we would recommend paying attention to models with a capacity of 2 TB or more. Why not 1? It’s simple: some modern AAA games take up 200–250 GB. 4 games and the hard drive is full.
In the current realities, the trend of increasing hard drive space will not disappear and will only accelerate in the coming years. Graphics are getting better, resolutions are getting higher, game worlds are getting bigger. Hence it turns out that a terabyte is eaten up by just a couple of projects.
When it comes to data storage (for example, backups or archives of professional photos and videos), take a HDD of at least 4 TB. Options from 6 TB are still expensive (in terms of 1 TB of memory).
SSD or HDD?
At the moment, an interesting situation has developed in the hard drive market. HDD drives, which have been accustomed for many years, are being replaced by progressive SSD hard drives. There are both technical and structural differences between them. So which hard drive is better for a gaming pc, SSD or HDD? First, SSDs are much smaller than HDDs. This solid state drive is much easier to install even in a miniature system unit. Secondly, thanks to technological innovations, the SSD has many times the speed of writing and reading data. And this directly affects the performance not only in conventional programs, but also in games. Levels and locations will load faster, and overall performance will also increase. But reliability is still higher for HDD hard drives. For example, if an SSD fails, then it is impossible to repair it, as well as restore information. But otherwise, the HDD noticeably loses to its young and developing competitor.
This is the main parameter that affects the speed performance of the hard drive to the maximum extent. Today, there are two main types of HDD: with a spindle speed of 5400 and 7200 rpm. There are models with up to 15,000 rpm, but they are very expensive and rare. So these hard drives are beyond the scope of home use.
We recommend 7200 rpm drives because they are on average 1.5 times faster than 5400 rpm. However, 5400 rpm is better for a laptop because it generates less heat and less vibration. And low-speed HDDs are considered more reliable due to less wear and tear on components.
How to choose a hard drive
Simply put, the form factor is the size, in this case the size of the storage medium in the PC. Also, the form factor describes the appearance of the device.
The standard HDD form factor is 3.5″. It is for this size in modern computer cases that slots for hard drives are designed, but there are exceptions. For example, in some cases without a special stand-tray for a hard drive, it simply cannot be fixed to the side walls with screws.
Now there is a tendency to reduce the form factor of drives. There is a smooth transition to 2.5 inches, because huge devices are no longer required to store large amounts of information, as before. In addition, some manufacturers are already announcing that they will stop producing 3.5‑inch drives. If you fundamentally do not want to use the new format, then take a closer look at 2.5‑inch drives installed in a 3.5 case.
Also, the 2.5″ format is used in storage drives for laptops and as a form factor for external media connected via USB. When such a drive is connected to USB 2.0, the data transfer rate can reach 480 Mbps, and when connected to USB 3.0, the throughput increases to 5 Gbps.
Most modern SSD drives are produced in 2.5 ” format.
There are also M.2 form factor SSDs, mSATA, and others. In appearance, they are more reminiscent of ordinary boards with microcircuits, and some are easily confused, for example, with RAM. In fact, this is a new stage in the evolution of drives. Motherboards have PCI-Express slots, which have much more bandwidth than SATA. For example, PCI-Express 2.0 has a bandwidth of 8 Gb/s (about 1 Gb per second), while PCI-Express 3.0x4 is capable of transferring data at 32 Gb/s. For home use, such disks are practically useless and it is not worth overpaying for them, but for work computers that work with large amounts of information, they are a real must-have.
mSATA (micro SATA) is an SSD form factor that is available for installation in laptops, tablets, netbooks, and other devices. Although sometimes they can be installed in regular motherboards, but for this they must have a special slot that supports the required voltage.
It is also worth mentioning the sizes of M.2 drives. Usually it is indicated in the form of numbers, for example, 2280. In this case, the first two digits are the width of the board in mm, and the last two are the length. It is important to take this parameter into account when selecting a drive for a small system unit, and even more so for a laptop, where every millimeter counts.
If the very principle of reading / writing information on a magnetic medium remains unchanged for many decades, then the method of communication between the hard drive and the motherboard has repeatedly undergone modifications, sometimes revolutionary ones. For example, the IDE interface, which was equipped with the first PCs, is hopelessly outdated, although it is still found, perhaps in modified versions (EIDE, ATA).
An alternative HDD drive is an SSD drive.
Currently, SATA is considered the most common connector for a computer HDD, but external drives are connected via a USB port. The mentioned SCSI interface is practically never found in ordinary PCs — it is intended for organizing disk arrays with an associated infrastructure.
And so, a few results.
When buying a hard drive, first of all, you need to focus on the spindle speed and cache size. Further, pay attention to the random access time, and also do not chase large disks, because they are characterized by reduced performance, heat dissipation and reliability.
As always, I will be glad to your questions, additions, thanks and everything else. Write in the comments
PS: Have you bought a disk, but its size is smaller by several gigabytes? Read the article “Problems of recalculation” or “Confusion with dimensions”. Part 2″PS2: Let me remind you that you can measure the speed of your disk using the program that I wrote about here: “How to find out the speed of a hard disk”
Checklist for choosing a hard drive
- Decide on the type of drive: internal or external.
- Estimate the required volume. Keep in mind that the real will be less than the nominal.
- Check the connection interface. Make sure your PC has the correct ports.
- Choose a form factor depending on the installation location.
- Find out the rotation speed. Keep in mind that fast drives are more expensive and noisier.
- Specify the size of the buffer. For basic tasks, a standard cache is enough; for professional work, the larger it is, the better.
Many users trust some companies and completely ignore others.
I can recommend WD, Toshiba, Seagate and Transcend as trusted suppliers that produce good hard drives. And here are some good HDD models for you, which I would buy myself if necessary:
- Western Digital Black 500GB 7200rpm 32MB WD5000LPLX 2.5 SATA III;
- Toshiba P300 1TB 7200rpm 64MB HDWD110UZSVA 3.5 SATA III;
- Seagate BarraCuda HDD 2TB 7200rpm 64MB ST2000DM006 3.5 SATA III.
You can find out how and where it is better to buy components for the system unit from this article. Thank you for your attention and see you on the pages of my blog! Do not forget to share publications in social networks and subscribe to the newsletter.
Sincerely, blogger Andrey Andreev
Popular Choice — Seagate FireCuda (1TB)
The 1TB Seagate Firecuda has all the same bells and whistles as the 2TB model, but it’s much more affordable. 1TB for us is the sweet spot between size and price. When you combine this with hybrid technology, the Firecuda is a fantastic all-rounder.
As with the 2TB FireCuda, you get both speed and capacity here. You have 1TB of storage space for games: Enough space to store all your major AAA games. In addition to that, Firecuda has flashy download speeds and load times that rival SSDs, making it far more efficient than your regular HDD storage options.
The higher the rotation speed of the magnetic plates on which the information is recorded, the more productive the HDD will be. Accordingly, this parameter also significantly affects the speed — this requires a high-quality reliable electric drive motor, which will rewind the resource laid down by the designers.
The most common models have the following spindle speed:
For a home PC, the first two options are enough. They are heated a little, almost do not make noise and are quite economical in terms of energy consumption. The data transfer rate for such modifications can reach 150 MB / s.
The rotation speed affects the life of the device: the lower it is, the longer the hard drive will last. For this reason, the same devices are used in servers.
For top-end hardware, the third and fourth options are more suitable. The read speed from such a disk reaches 180 MB / s.
Decide on the type of storage
Everything is extremely simple here: hard drives are internal and external.
Internal are installed in the PC system unit or laptop case. They are connected to the motherboard with special wires and fixed with screws in the slots provided for this. Internal HDDs cannot be quickly removed and connected to another computer.
External ones have their own case and are connected to one of the PC ports using a cable (usually USB, but there are other options). In most cases, such drives are powered through the same cable that transmits data, but sometimes a separate wire with a network adapter is used for this. External hard drives can be carried around and easily connected to any other computers and laptops with the appropriate port.
Best Blank HDD — Seagate Barracuda (3TB)
If you want the best all-around gaming hard drive that’s fast and big, then look no further than the Seagate Barracuda (3TB). It’s big enough to store all your games, leaving enough room for media files, even 4K!
The Seagate Barracuda has 3TB of free storage space. This space is enough to house all your Steam games, media files and important files, making it the perfect choice for $60k-$70k builds. In many situations, it still leaves you with a ton of room to play.
Keep in mind that modern games require less than 20 GB. That being said, you can easily store around 120 games per 25GB without any issues. This is without a doubt the best internal hard drive for gaming.
A buffer is a kind of “intermediate” memory, which serves to smooth out the difference between the speed of information transfer and its reading or writing. The buffer also allows you to read data from closely spaced areas on a magnetic disk, collecting them into a single file.
Accordingly, the larger the buffer, the better in terms of performance. However, this is not always necessary: for example, a computer that is used only to access the Internet or run office applications does not need a hard drive with a large buffer at all.
A 32 MB buffer is enough for a laptop. For a home PC, this value can be doubled. A gaming PC and a buffer of 128 MB will not be superfluous.
Calculate the required volume
On sale there are drives from 500 GB to 20 TB. Obviously, the more space, the better. However, there are several important points here. Firstly, with the increase in volume, the price increases significantly. Secondly, all HDDs last an average of 5–7 years, and if you choose a drive that is too large to grow, it may break before it is completely full.
For a standard office computer, 500 GB is enough. For a home PC that is used for games, it is advisable to take a 1–2 TB disk. If you intend to store a large number of media files, then you need to proceed from their volume.
Also, do not forget that the actual capacity of the disk will be less than the declared one. We are used to the decimal number system, and manufacturers, trying to adhere to it, and also based on their marketing goals, indicate the volume of drives on the basis that 1 terabyte is equal to 1,000 gigabytes. But computers use the binary number system, and in 1 TB it is not a thousand, but 1,024 GB. This difference must be taken into account when choosing.
Here is how much free space will be available on disks of various sizes after formatting:
- 500 GB → 465.66 GB;
- 750 GB → 698.49 GB;
- 1 TB → 931.32 GB;
- 2 TB → 1,861.64 GB;
- 3 TB → 2,793.96 GB;
- 4 TB → 3,725.29 GB;
- 8 TB → 7450.58 GB.