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Computer Hard Drives: 5 Things to Consider Before Buying One

A hard drive is a vital component in any modern computer. 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 which hard drive do you pick, with so many options available?

The best thing about shopping for hard drives is that it’s not that difficult. Provided you follow the guidelines below, you won’t have to deal with getting the wrong drive or anything of the kind.

Lessons Learned from Years with Technology

The very first point to consider is whether to choose a solid state drive (SSD) or not. While an SSD works just like a hard disk drive (HDD), it has its own benefits and drawbacks.
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So, what are the differences between an HDD and SSD?

First, SSDs read and write data faster. Secondly, SSDs use less power, conserving energy and extending the battery life of laptops. Thirdly, since SSDs do not have moving parts, they do not make noise and last longer. The con is that they have less storage capacity and are costlier than HDDs.

What’s more important? If price’s a problem or you only need a backup drive, purchase a traditional hard disk drive. But if the drive will launch an operating system or contain numerous frequently-accessed files and applications, especially video games, choose an SSD instead.

Size and interface

After you’ve picked between a HDD and SSD, you’ll need to pick a form factor. Luckily, only two options are available and your current setup will dictate your choice. The form factors are 3.5 and 2.5-inch drives.

Desktop HDDs are typically 3.5 inches and laptop HDDs are 2.5 inches. On the flip side, SSDs are much smaller because they do not need moving parts. Thus, most SSDs are usually 2.5 inches.

Specs and performance

In terms of storage capacity, HDDs are available in all sizes, and storage capacity is capped at 4TB because of physical limitations. On the other hard, solid state drives are much smaller, with the storage capacity not exceeding 1TB. Still, many SSDs hardly go beyond 512 GB.

Many factors influence hard disk drive performance, but one vital factor is RPMs (revolutions per minute. A higher RPMs equals faster data transfer.


There are various prices for computer drives that really look the same on the outside. The onus is on you to pick which factors are important to your needs as well as which drive suits those parameters.

Internal versus external

The last factor to consider is where your drive will be housed. Will it be housed inside the casing? Will it be used outside? Either way, what you choose will be determined by your needs and preferences.