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Best Internal Hard Drive 2021 • 7 Internal Hard Drives Reviews

Can you imagine losing all your documents in an instant due to a hard drive failure? Or simply not being able to store everything you need because the space available is too limited? Choosing the right internal hard drive can help you avoid these frustrations.

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What is an internal hard drive and how does it work?

This piece of hardware is built into electronic devices for which it performs storage functions. The primary task of an internal hard drive is to save and store files and programs. This is different from external hard drives that are generally connected to your computer using a USB cable.

Nowadays, internal hard drives are present in virtually all electronic devices: computers (desktop and laptops), cell phones, tablets, TVs, and video game consoles, among others. This is why they are designed to store a wide variety of files, from photos, videos, and audio files to software and video games.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Internal Hard Drives

In modern times, when the amount and the size of data are rising in accordance with our need for storage space, internal hard drives are a necessity. In the customers’ opinions, they are very useful, but they also have a couple of disadvantages.

Advantages 

  • Data storageThis piece of hardware is built into electronic devices for which it performs storage functions.
  • Large capacity
  • Fast storing and retrieving of data
  • Reasonably priced compared to other storage media
  • Replaceable and upgradeable
  • Usually fixed to the inner components of a computer, so they cannot be mislaid

Disadvantages

  • Not easy to move to another computer
  • Regular head crashes can damage the disk’s surface

Shopping Criteria for Internal Hard Drives

We have introduced you to some of the most popular models of internal hard drives currently available on the market. Let’s now delve into the features that you must consider when making your purchase. The following vital shopping criteria will help you identify the model that matches your needs and meets the characteristics of your computer.

  • Storage capacity
  • Size
  • Reading and writing speeds
  • Compatibility
  • Cache

Storage Capacity

As we mentioned at the beginning of our guide, this is often the first factor that people analyze when choosing a new internal hard drive. It is also a good tie-breaking criterion if you find yourself stuck between several similar models. This will directly influence the number of files and programs that you can store on your device, which is why you cannot overlook this element.

Storing photos, documents, and basic software isn’t the same as having video games, movies, and other large files such as presentations or works in design programs. For this reason, this criterion is linked to the user’s needs and the device — computer, tablet, or gaming console, among others — to which you will add it.

Size

As we have just mentioned, size is particularly crucial if you are looking for an internal hard drive to integrate into an existing device. It won’t matter as much if you are building your computer from separate components as you can adjust it to your liking. Internal hard drives come in different sizes that may prevent you from installing them on your device.

Keep in mind that the size of a hard drive in a desktop computer (usually 3.5 inches) differs from that of a laptop (usually 2.5 inches). Besides, the models found in the most popular video game consoles also generally measure 2.5 inches. Don’t hesitate to consult the manufacturer of your electronic device if you have any doubts.

Keep in mind that not all internal hard drives are compatible with all devices.

Reading and Writing Speeds

The speed of the hardware, when writing and reading data, is another factor that users often pay attention to.This factor will determine how long it takes for your internal hard drive to store and read files when you access them. This is essential because we are no longer used to waiting for our electronic devices to perform these tasks as they are becoming faster.you now know, the measurement parameter varies depending on the type of model you opt for.

In the case of HDDs, the speed is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm) – 7200 rpm being the most common value on the market. Aim for a model that matches or exceeds this value. Since SDDs use flash memory, the unit of measurement is megabytes per second (MBps). As you can imagine, a higher speed also means a higher price.

Compatibility

The compatibility between the internal hard drive and your device is absolutely critical. As we discussed in the previous criterion, the size is a factor of compatibility that you must evaluate. However, it isn’t the only one. Besides the size, there are two other vital aspects: your device’s operating system, and its connectivity.

If you need a hard drive to add to an old computer, for instance, a Serial ATA III model will be of little use to you. While it should work without any problem (SATA III is backward compatible), you will never be able to take advantage of its reading and writing speed with a device that was built during the SATA I series era. Regarding operating systems, on the other hand, most internal hard drives are now compatible almost universally.

Cache

Also known as the buffer of the hard drive, the cache is the space reserved for the storage of the digital files you access most frequently. In that sense, consider the types of files you open most often.

Knowing the range of values is key to picking the cache that you need for your electronic device. The higher the capacity, the more information you can store in the buffer. In the case of HDDs, the cache will generally range between 8 and 256 megabytes; for solid-state drives, it starts at 32 megabytes.

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(Source of the featured image: Unsplash / Benjamin Lehman)

FAQs

What are the types of internal hard drives?

We can generally identify two main types of internal hard drives. On the one hand, you will find hard disk drives (HDDs or magnetic disks); on the other hand, we have solid-state drives (SDDs). The main difference between the two is that the former creates physical storage, while the latter do so through flash memories. HDDs have one or more disks linked by a spindle and heads that write and read the contents as the spindle moves. SDs have no moving element; instead, they store data in non-volatile memory, without heads or other mechanical components.

How does an internal hard drive work?

As we briefly explained above, the functionality of your internal hard drive will depend on the type of device you choose. In the case of hard disk drives (HDDs), reading and writing processes occur through the rotation of the disks, which in turn move the spindle that unites them. This causes the needles to rest on the disks while writing or reading.

Since they lack mechanical elements, solid-state drives (SSDs) store data in microchips with flash memory. Instead of the heads found in HDDs, they integrate a processor that executes the reading and writing functions, increasing efficiency and avoiding potential mechanical failures.

How is the speed of the hard drive determined?

Once again, the difference between the two types of internal hard drives comes into play. In HDDs, the speed is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm), which indicates the number of rotations of each disk in that time span.

Solid-state drives, on the other hand, are much faster as they don’t rely on a mechanical component. In that regard, the speed is expressed in megabytes per second (MBps). Since there is no rotation to measure, this value corresponds to the speed at which the data passes through the interconnected microchips of the disk. This is typically how flash memory operates.

What is the hard drive interface?

If we want to simplify this concept, we can describe it as the form or method of communication between the internal hard drive and the device to which it is connected. The proper functioning of the hardware depends on this.

The two most common interface types are the Serial AT Attachment (SATA) and the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe).

How can I know if an internal hard drive is compatible with my device?

It is essential that you check whether or not the product is compatible with your device. Consider three main factors: the size of the hardware, the type of connection, and the operating system of your computer.

Size can be extremely restrictive and is often decisive since it is all about space: it either fits or it doesn’t. The other two factors are more flexible, in the sense that a SATA 3.0 disk is backward compatible with a PC that supports an earlier version. That said, note that the performance will not be optimal, and you won’t be able to make the most of your internal hard drive.

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