I’ve been doing a lot of repairing, upgrades, assembly and computer consultation this year and choosing the right hard drives can be a daunting task unless you really don’t care and go for whatever is available on shelf depending on your budget and how much storage you’re looking to buy.
This is a dumbed down, I-say-you-follow type of post and I will do no comparing as I’ve pretty much made up my mind and have done a ton of comparisons. I will not get into the nitty-gritty of my research – if I did that, I could write volumes. No. Instead, I will list down related sources below and give you my take on Hard Drives this year. (I think I’ll use the 2 paragraphs I just wrote as boiler-plate for future posts).
Types of Users
I wish it was a one size fits all type of world but where’s the fun in that right? Not everyone needs the latest and greatest – I mean you wouldn’t hook up grandpa with a 4TB hard drive when all he does is check Facebook on his desktop, would you? In which case you should probably just consider getting him a smartphone :/
Pro User = Someone who uses multiple, heavy installations of programs like Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Revit, ArchiCAD, 3D Studio Max and someone who generally installs a lot of programs!
Standard User = Someone who definitely uses office applications such as Microsoft Office, lightweight editing programs, email client, multiple web browsers and a lot of apps but nothing too heavy as defined under Power User.
Basic User = Someone you uses lightweight programs like an email client, adobe reader, and whose activities mostly rely on a web browser to check social media, read the news and watch YouTube videos.
Types of Hard Drives
There are obviously a lot more types but opted to keep things simple here. See “Sources and interesting reads” below for more info.
HDD = Hard Disk Drives (data stored on traditional spinning disc, uses SATA interface)
SSD = Solid State Drives (data stored on flash memory chips, uses SATA interface)
M.2 = formerly known as the Next Generation Form Factor (data stored on flash memory chips, uses PCI-Express interface)
Food for thought: SSD is 5x faster than HDD, M.2 is 5x faster than SSD, M.2 is 25x faster than HDD. Think about that for a second.
Hard Drive for your Operating System
IF your motherboard supports it, go with M.2 SSD for your C: drive. These drives are amazingly fast. I booted into Windows 10 in 5-6 seconds with this puppy. If your motherboard doesn’t support it, then go with 2.5″ SSD. These days I feel it’s worth it to stay away from HDD’s for your Operating Systems. The speed while launching apps and booting up makes it a no-brainer.
For pro users, get the WD 1TB 2D NAND M.2 2280 SSD for $289.99, for standard users get the WD 500GB 2D NAND M.2 2280 SSD for $149.99 and for basic users get the WD 250GB 2D NAND M.2 2280 SSD for $89.99. They are screaming fast!
For those of you with motherboards that support the M.2 drives… then pro users can get the WD 1TB 2D NAND 2.5″ SSD for $289.99, standard users get the WD 500GB 2D NAND 2.5″ SSD for $149.99 and basic users get the WD 250GB 2D NAND 2.5″ SSD for $89.99.
Hard Drive for your data
Choosing the right hard drive for storing data is debatable. I tend to lean towards being practical and aim to get as much storage for the buck I can get without sacrificing reliability. For reasons explained below, I stick with Western Digital these days. I also opt to go with HDD instead of SSD. My baseline would be any of the WD Blue drives and if the budget was there I’d step it up a notch and get the WD Red drives instead of the Blue drives since they generally run quieter compared to the WD Blue’s and consume less power – excellent for storage.
WD Blue (5400 RPM, SATA, 3,.5 inch)
- WD Blue 1TB Desktop Hard Disk Drive = $45.99
- WD Blue 2TB Desktop Hard Disk Drive = $64.21
- WD Blue 3TB Desktop Hard Disk Drive = $84.99
- WD Blue 4TB Desktop Hard Disk Drive = $109.99
- WD Blue 6TB Desktop Hard Disk Drive = $189.99
WD Red (5400 RPM, SATA, 3.5 inch)
- WD Red 1TB NAS Hard Disk Drive = $59.99
- WD Red 2TB NAS Hard Disk Drive = $84.99
- WD Red 3TB NAS Hard Disk Drive = $109.50
- WD Red 4TB NAS Hard Disk Drive = $133.99
- WD Red 6TB NAS Hard Disk Drive = $213.95
- WD Red 8TB NAS Hard Disk Drive = $274.00
Why Western Digital?
No – this is not a paid post nor am I being sponsored by Western Digital (WD). I’ve installed and replaced dozens of hard drives in my lifetime. The top 2 hard drives I’ve worked with are WD’s and Seagate’s and can tell you based on my experience that I’ve encountered more HDD failure with Seagate HDDs using both SATA and the old IDE interfaces. I can’t say how their SSD versions are doing as I haven’t worked with many yet.
Hopefully, this helps serve as a guide or simply additional info to help make your next hard drive purchase a much more effective one.