Computers and their components have a shelf life. It is only natural to need to upgrade a component – or even your whole system – after some time. If you prefer to keep things custom, you can replace components as the need arises.
One of the most common components to replace is a hard disc drive. If your old drive is shot and you need to make a change, it helps to know what to look for when it comes to replacing that old drive.
Solid State or Hard Disc?
One of the very first things to ask yourself is, “Hard disc drive or solid state drive?” As far as accessories and add-ons go, hard drives offer a lot of flexibility. Most people simply look at storage size but there is a lot more to finding the right drive.
Solid state drives (SSD) are more expensive but with good reason. They read and write data faster, don’t have moving parts, and draw less power. If you are going for something more cost-effective, then a hard disc drive is the way to go. Some people like to piece their computers together using the cheapest parts they can find and this drive type fits the bill.
A common mistake that buyers make is not paying attention to the size of the drive. For the most part, you are down to two different sizes when choosing between the two drive types. Form factors generally come as 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch drives. Hard disc drives tend to be the latter for PCs. Since SSDs don’t have moving parts, the 2.5-inch is more common.
You shouldn’t run into any issues as far as connectors go. Almost all internal drives make use of SATA connectors, though you may run into an older internal HDD that came along prior to SATA cables. Stick with modern drives in order to keep yourself away from any potential issues.
There are generally two important specifications as it relates to performance of the drive. The first is storage capacity. The biggest available is 18TB but that is generally overkill. It’s commonplace to be at around 1TB, though gamers and programmers go with something in the 5-8TB range for their drives.
The other specification to worry about is transfer speed. Revolutions per minute (RPM) is probably the most important factor. The faster the RPM, the better the transfer speed. Since SDD doesn’t use spinning parts, the SATA speed becomes the most important part. No HDD can transfer as fast as a SATA connection, making it a superior option for faster transfers.
Cost is Critical
At the end of the day, many are going to pay attention to cost. Just about everyone is working within a budget and it isn’t as easy as buying the latest and greatest in drive technology. You will have to do a little digging to find something that not only fits your needs but stays within your budget as well. Thankfully, there are a plethora of options out there to choose from.
Manufacturers will have an important impact on the price. Another way to determine value is to divide the overall price by the storage. This is your “price-per-gigabyte” price. For the most part, you are going to find drives that are roughly in the $0.02 per GB range. There are others that can be a touch higher, depending on the features and storage capacity. It is wise to invest in a drive that is going to last otherwise you are just going to wind up paying for a new drive sooner rather than later.