4 Things to Look at When Choosing a Hard Drive

With so many different types and sizes of hard drives available today, it can be a daunting task trying to find the right one. Choosing the right hard drive for your particular needs will ultimately allow you to enjoy your computer more. Here are several important attributes to consider prior to purchasing a new hard disk drive.


The amount of data a hard drive can store is typically measured in gigabytes (GB), the equivalent of 1000 megabytes (MB). The latest models can now be found in terabyte (TB) or 1000 GB sizes. If you plan on downloading a lot of movies, music, or games on your computer, you should probably opt for one of the newer 1 TB or 2 TB drives. If you don't plan on storing large files like movies for example, you will be fine with a significantly smaller drive.


You could buy one of these massive new TB drives, but it will be next to worthless if it is not fast enough. A disk drive has platters sitting on spindles that spin, kind of like a CD. The speed at which a drive spins is measured in RPM, or revolutions per minute. The higher a drive's RPM is, the faster it will perform for you. Most desktop computer drives are 7200 RPM, while most laptop drives are somewhere between 4200 and 5400 RPM. You can find drives with RPM's of 10,000 or more, but these are typically designed for servers, gamers, and hard-core computer users.


Another significant hard disk drive performance indicator is its cache. This cache holds frequently accessed data giving you faster access to the information you use more often. A decent hard drive should have a minimal 8 MB of cache. As is the case with RPM, the more cache a hard drive has, the better it will perform.


Most hard disk drives will have either an IDE or SATA connection. This connections determines how you will connect your drive to your computer's motherboard. SATA is the newer type of connection and typically performs better than IDE. However, IDE drives perform just fine in most real world situations and are cheaper than SATA drives.

Once you decide how you will be using your computer, it will be much easier to determine which hard drive you should purchase.

Jeff has been writing online for nearly 4 years now and specializes in the topic of computers and technology. He has a new website at terabyte external hard drive where he discusses the latest 1.5 and 2 terabyte hard drive models available today.

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