Storing data on computer systems is a regular and essential activity for all of us. While hard drives are the oldest and most widespread means of keeping data secure, they are still quite popular.
HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) are more affordable than SSDs (Solid-State Drives) as they give you more storage capacity. If you require a lot more storage at economical prices, then it would be recommended to go for HDDs that top the charts this year. These hard drives are highly reliable for saving, retrieving, and keeping your files safe and secure.
How to Choose the Best Hard Drive for PC and Laptop
Choosing the best hard drive for your PC becomes easy if you know some basic tips. Let’s consider the things you should consider while choosing the best hard drive for your desktop and laptop. Here they are:
HDD or SSD: First, you must decide whether you need an HDD or SSD. SSDs are similar to traditional hard disk drives but have pros and cons. SSD uses flash memory instead of the spinning metal disks found in traditional HDDs. They can read and write data faster, consume less power, are silent, and are long-lasting. However, they have a smaller data storage capacity. For data backups and long-term data storage, go with a traditional HDD. For speed and performance, choose an SSD.
Size and Interface: Data drives come in two form factors: the 3.5-inch drive and the 2.5-inch drive. In HDDs, data is stored on spinning metal disks. This means the more disks are, the greater the data capacity is. Therefore, desktop HDDs tend to be 3.5 inches with a maximum capacity of 10-20TB, while laptop HDDs tend to be 2.5 inches with a maximum capacity of 5-10TB. SSDs, on the other hand, don’t have any moving parts. So, they are smaller than HDDs. As such, most SSDs come in the 2.5-inch form factor. As for connections, most modern internal HDDs and SSDs use SATA connectors. External HDDs and SSDs, however, connect to your system through a USB port.
Hard Drive Specifications and Performance: The maximum storage capacity of HDDs is 18TB. SSDs have lower storage capacity, 5-8 TB at the maximum. The transfer speed of HDDs depends on the RPM (revolutions per minute). Higher RPM means a faster transfer of data to and from the drive. A hard disk utilizes a particular area of embedded memory called the cache (or buffer) to transfer data from one drive section to another. Therefore, a larger cache means faster data transfer. Modern HDDs come with cache sizes ranging from 8 MB to 256 MB. Regarding failure rate, HDDs tend to fail in 1 to 6 years. On the other hand, SSDs tend to last longer (average failure rate of 2.0 million hours) than HDDs (average failure rate of 1.5 million hours).
Cost of Hard Drives: When searching for hard drives, you’ll come across various hard drive prices for devices that all look almost similar. Select the hard drive that fits your needs.
So, whether you are looking for the best gaming PC or need a rugged external drive, we have the ten best hard drives for every requirement, small or big.
10 Best Hard Drives of 2023
But the question arises, which hard drive should you get? This post will list the highly talked about and best hard drives to help you make the right choice. These are:
1. Hitachi Ultrastar 7K4000 4TB HDD
For the perfect gaming experience, Hitachi offers the best capacity hard drive that takes your gaming experience to the next level. It will serve as an excellent HDD for your gaming PC. At just $100, you get 4TB of storage.
But you need to format the hard drive to use all 4TB. With standard MFT formatting, 2TB of storage will be left. No doubt, Hitachi is considered a trustworthy drive manufacturer than Seagate and Western Digital.
- 2.0 million hours MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures)
- Up to 4TB of storage capacity
- SATA 6Gb/s and SAS 6Gb/s models for configuration flexibility
- Rotational Vibration Safeguard (RVS) technology
- Dual Stage Actuator (DSA)
- Thermal Fly-height Control (TFC) with internal thermal sensor
- 24×7 accessibility for Enterprise-class, capacity-optimized applications
- Advanced Format SATA with 512-byte emulation (512e)
- Optional Bulk Data Encryption (SATA) and TCG Enterprise A (SAS)
- Enterprise-class quality
- 2.0 million hours MTBF
- 4TB storage capacity
- Temperatures/noise levels
- 5-year warranty
- Price Tag (For Some)
2. WD Blue 320GB HDD
If you don’t have a big budget for storage, then the WD Blue 320GB is the best option. Western Digital is among the most reputed complex drive providers and the prices are also pretty reasonable.
While the storage capacity on this drive is limited to an extent, the price is very pocket-friendly. The WD Blue 320GB HDD runs at 7,200 RPM and meets all your storage requirements.
- Low power consumption.
- Quiet while operating.
- Ideal for your everyday computing needs
- Available SATA 6 Gb/s interface
- Acronis True Image WD Edition Software, available as a free download on the WD Support site, makes upgrading your drive easy.
- Designed for thin and light mobile applications.
- Compatible with most standard 9.5mm bays
- StabiliTrak motor shaft stabilizes platters for accurate tracking during read and write operations.
- NoTouch ramp load technology ensures less wear to the recording head and media and better drive protection in transit.
- Provides high capacity, durability, and quiet acoustics on a proven platform for quality and reliability
- Higher speeds – 7200RPM makes it ideal for the primary drive and gaming use
- Highest density – best cost-to-performance ratio and speed, even over WD Black
- Relatively quiet for the speed
- Max 1TB capacity.
- 2-Year warranty.
3. Seagate Barracuda
This HDD has an average RPM of 5,400, but it provides a vast storage capacity, varying options from 500GB to 5TB. It is genuinely marvelous for a 2.5-inch HDD. Besides, it makes up for lower rotation speed with the help of an extensive 128MB of cache memory.
Because of its modest price per gigabyte and low noise levels, we highly recommend the Seagate Barracuda. It is a perfect storage drive and quite an attractive option as a primary drive for your computer storage.
- 3.5-inch internal HDD for Desktop PCs, home servers, DAS devices, all-in-ones
- Fast enough for gaming and editing
- 2TB capacity is large enough for multiple backups
- 7200 rpm spin speeds deliver snappy performance
- 64MB cache reduces lag and load times
- Supports transfer rates up to 6GB/s (600MB/s)
- 2-year limited warranty
- Excellent warranty and support
- Remarkable 250MBps sustained transfers
- 5-year warranty and two years of data recovery
- Strong HTPC and Gaming performance compared to other non-hybrid HDDs
- Only two years of recovery service
- Not as fast as flash
- Expensive, especially if you mirror two for data safety
4. Toshiba P300
Does your game take forever to load? Your game loading time will decrease significantly with a 64MB cache size and 7,200 RPM. With 2TB of storage capacity, you won’t face any trouble with insufficient space even after installing all the mods for your game.
With the caching technology of Toshiba, you will be able to allocate the cache space during the read and write cycles, which, in turn, provides faster access to your games. Toshiba takes all the measures to secure your data against any system vibrations.
- Designed for everyday desktop computing
- High performance with 7200 RPM and 64MB cache
- Built-in shock sensors and ramp loading technology
- Advanced Format technology helps deliver drive efficiency and reliability
- Includes Toshiba 2-year standard limited warranty
- Build quality (MTTF of 600.000 Hours)
- Overall performance
- Features (RV Sensor / Internal Shock Detection / Error Recovery / Heat Prevention)
- Low temperatures & noise levels
- 2-year limited warranty
- Only up to 6TB
- Continuous write performance
- Current availability & price
5. Seagate FireCuda Gaming
The Seagate 4TB hard drive is mainly designed for the Xbox. This self-powered hard drive might be a little wider than its 2TB counterpart but is better at gaming performance.
The Seagate FireCuda Gaming HDD features USB 3.0 ports that hasten data transfer. It does not take much time to copy Halo 5 which exceeds 50GB in size.
Another significant aspect of Seagate FireCuda is the plug-and-play setup, which means once the Xbox acknowledges the hard disk, it takes only a few seconds to load the game properly. Also, it does not take much time to load your game’s DLC compared to an internal hard drive.
- Compact, lightweight, industrial design complements premium gaming rigs
- Customizable RGB LED lights
- Uses NVMe SSD performance to optimize USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 technology
- Cutting-edge USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 technology
- Massive capacity and turbo-charged speeds
- Bus Powered, no external power supply required
- Immense capacity options, mainly the 16TB model tested
- Low cost per gigabyte
- Tasteful, showy RGB lighting
- Mature software suite
- Single-drive design can’t approach basic SSD speeds
- For a hub, you could use another port or two
6. Samsung 860 EVO
As a gamer, the high speed of this SSD HDD will amaze you. Using the modern NAND technology that can read at speeds of 550 MB/s and write around 520 MB/s, it is more than 2x the standard hard drive.
The Samsung 860 EVO has seen a 51% spike in performance from the 850 EVO, with 6 times more resilience. The fascinating aspect of the Samsung 860 EVO is that it comes with Self Encrypting Drive Technology that ensures your data is secure without impacting the hard disk performance.
There is an option available to download and install the Samsung Magician software, which will help you easily maintain the drive.
- 1TB storage capacity
- SATA III 6 GB/s interface
- 2.5″ form factor
- Up to 550 MB/s sequential read speed
- Up to 520 MB/s sequential write speed
- AES 256-Bit hardware-based encryption
- V-NAND technology
- Strong performance
- Exceptional software package with DRAM cache and cloning
- Class-leading endurance
- Name recognition and reliability
- Lower-than-expected native TLC performance
- The SATA performance ceiling
7. Fantom Drives 2TB External Hard Drive
It is among the best external hard drives for gaming. External hard drives are pretty helpful for console and computer gamers who don’t want the hassle of opening their machines for HDD replacement.
Moreover, the hard drive makes a great choice for gamers who use many machines for media usage and gaming. Fantom Drives 2TB External Hard Drive is the ultimate bet if you are looking for a high-performance external hard drive.
- 2TB Capacity
- 7200 rpm
- USB 3.0 Interface & USB 2.0 Compatible
- Data Transfer Rates up to 5 Gb/s
- Fan-Free Design
- Brushed Aluminum Enclosure
- Preformatted NTFS for Windows
- Windows and Mac Compatible
- USB 3.0 port makes it compatible with PS4
- Aluminum enclosure adds to its durability
- The fan-less design ensures virtually silent operation
- Comes preformatted for Windows and can easily be formatted for Mac
- Comes with a USB cable and is backward compatible with USB 2.0
- Short Thunderbolt cable
- Gets warm, although it dissipates through heat sinks
8. WD Blue 500GB Hard Disk Drive
This is the best budget pick that we have got for you. When you get 1TB of storage capacity at an inexpensive price, it’s always worth the shot. This has to be your ideal solution if you find yourself closer to the monetary limit.
Western Digital Blue series offers 7,200 RPM, a great alternative compared to other cheap HDDs that start at 5,400 RPM. It also has excellent build quality. As a beginner, the WD Blue 500GB is an excellent choice and once you start making money, the road is wide enough to explore other options on the market.
- 2.5-inch Internal 2TB solid-state drive for use with laptops and desktop computers (requires an adapter, sold separately)
- 560MB/s read speed; 530MB/s write speed
- Draws up to 25% less power than previous models for longer unplugged laptop sessions and less strain on your workstation
- Uses no moving parts for a more reliable performance
- 5-year limited warranty through Western Digital
- Excellent mainstream performance
- Software suite included
- High price
- Aging software toolbox
Price: From $28.99
9. WD VelociRaptor
If you are looking to opt for something old school and resisting buying an SSD then WD VelociRaptor is the best HDD for you. It is a lot faster than any other HDD available on the market today.
This drive offers a 10,000 RPM spin speed. With a storage capacity of up to 1TB, the VelociRaptor drive keeps big game libraries safe. The fast platters will enable your games to launch and load at new speeds.
- 10,000 RPM
- Rock-solid reliability
- Ultra-cool operation
- Rotary acceleration feeds forward
- RoHS compliant
- Halogen-free design
- Sequential transfer speeds measuring 206MB/s read and write
- Improved random access over 600GB VelociRaptor
- Excellent thermal dissipation and lower power consumption
- Fell behind in HTPC trace
10. WD Black
Western Digital Black works as an upgrade for your computer’s hard disk. It provides ample storage space for all your game’s downloadable content. It is pretty cost-effective and surpasses all the performance levels.
The WD Black HDD is fully equipped with a dual-core processor and provides fast loading times with a read/write speed of up to 200mbps. It provides 64 MB of cache, which increases game load and access time.
- Perfect storage solution for your gaming rig
- Equipped with StableTrac Technology (2TB and larger models)
- Impressive cache sizes of up to 256 MB of DRAM on high-capacity models
- A dual-core processor that offers better processing capability
- Backed by an industry-leading 5-year limited warranty
- A sequential write speed of 6300 MB/s and a 600 TBW endurance rating
- Sturdy, compact design
- Good grip
- Appealing gamer aesthetic
- USB Type-C cable not included
We have compiled this list of the ten best HDDs to help you find an excellent hard drive that matches your requirements. Irrespective of whether you play video games on a laptop, desktop, or gaming console, this list will help you find the most suitable hard drive for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which brand of hard drive is most reliable?
WD and Seagate are the most popular and reliable hard drives available on the market.
2. How many years does a hard drive last?
Usually, a hard drive can last for three to five years on average. SSDs last more than HDDs. They can last up to 20 years.
3. How often do Seagate drives fail?
The failure rates of Seagate drives were low, with an average AFR of 1.01% across all drives, although smaller drives (those below 12TB) made up the majority of the issues.
4. Does brand matter for the hard drives?
Yes, the brand has a role to play in selecting hard drives. Therefore, when buying a hard drive, look for a good and reliable brand. Choose the hard disk with high storage capacity and data transfer speed, data security, and a smaller size.
5. Can you fix an external drive?
Yes, corrupt or failed external hard drives can be repaired. However, it is recommended not to use them after repair as they are unreliable. So, after repair, transfer the data immediately to another hard drive.
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