If you’re either looking to expand the capacity of your PC, want to upgrade or that trusty old drive has finally failed you. The truth is unless you’re like me you probably haven’t been keeping up with the hard drive advancements over the last few years and you’re now staring down a list of drives that while they appear to look the same are very different.
Most home computers are used for word processing, internet browsing, playing music and of course games so in most cases a standard SATA hard drive will be suitable however these drives now come in different models and sizes and are geared towards different uses and let’s not forget that the alternative SSD (Solid State Drives) which perform much faster and use a lot less power. So which drive is right for you? Let’s explore these drives in more detail and hopefully clear that grey haze to make your next drive purchase black and white.
While there are a number of different companies that develop drives such as Seagate Hitachi and for this example i’m going to use Western Digital. I’ve chosen Western Digital because they offer a clear difference between their drives options and I with over 6 years of playing with their offerings I can speak from hands on experience.
This is WD’s entry level drive and it’s geared towards home users for day to day use. These are low cost drives that spin at 7,200RPM, with storage capacity ranging from 250GB to 1TB (1,000GB) making this drive a great choice for those that just want a hard drive and are no concerned about performance or large storage.
This is Western Digital’s attempt at saving the planet. These drives feature something that Western Digital have named IntelliPower, which essentially keeps the drive spinning at a low 5,400RPM and when needed such as times where the drive is under load then ramps the drive rotational speed up to 7,200RPM. What does this all mean? Well it saves power and runs cooler and quieter therefore saving planets, whales, tree’s, birds etc. I must note however that they are by no means fast and I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone as a primary hard drive. Keep this drive in mind as a backup drives or secondary storage. Capacity ranges from 500GB to a massive 3TB (3,000GB) so if you have a lot of
movies documents to store then this drive is a winner.
I personally love the Caviar Black, it’s Western Digitals performance 7,200RPM hard drive and they definitely deliver. You will experience dramatic performance increases over not only the Western Digital range but also a lot of their competitors and they also come with a 5 year warranty which makes them a great option for those who like performance, size and peace of mind. Sizes range from 500GB to 2TB (2,000GB) so you get plenty bang for your buck but with great power comes great price so expect to pay a premium over the Blue and Green drives, I did a quick Google search and 20% is about the average.
The Veloci Raptor is the fastest SATA drive in the world. Western Digital have been producing these tasty treats for years and with their latest revision the Veloci Raptor has gone through some changes, firstly they were once marketed as an Enterprise drive though they never came with a feature names TLER which is essential when used in RAID arrays so they have dropped this branding, the second change is that they now come in a 500GB and 1TB version which is a massive increase over their previous largest drive which was 600GB. So what makes these drives so fast? Well they are actually 2 ½ inch drives that are mounted in a 3 ½ heatsink (yes they get hot), they also spin at a blistering 10,000RPM and are packed with 64MB cache and their latency is down in the single digit milliseconds instead of the double digits which all other SATA drives feature. These drives are a great option for someone that wants high performance and capacity without the cost per GB that you find with Solid State Disks .
SSD (Solid State Drive)
An SSD or Solid State Drive has no moving parts, instead it uses flash memory to store data. SSD’s outperform every other drive on the market and performance can easily be 25 x that of a SATA or SAS disk. Nearly all SSD’s come in a 2 ½ size and the only real downside is the price. For a decent 120GB drive you will spend between $200-$300 and over $1,000 for a 600GB or larger drive. Price aside they make incredible primary hard drives and in most cases you have enough room on a 120GB drive for your operating system and files.
As you can see the drive or drives that could suit you really depend on how you want to setup your PC as well as the money you’re willing to spend. I personally have a 600GB Veloci Raptor in my home PC because that suited my needs. Other friends run an SSD as their primary then either a high capacity Caviar Black or Veloci Raptor for their storage.
What are you running in your PC? If you have a multiple drives or a serious RAID array I’d love to hear about it.
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