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Internal Hard Drives: Powerful and Cost Effective Storage

Hard disk drives or HDD offer a cost effective way to store huge amounts of data. These spinning magnetic drives still have the lowest per gigabyte cost of any digital storage method, making them a popular choice for operating systems that require massive storage capacity at an affordable price.

HDDs are high performance storage devices designed for seamless integration into desktop computers, network attached storage or NAS, and even notebooks. They are ideal for creative tasks like animation and video editing, as well as among streamers and PC gaming enthusiasts who need lots of storage space for game files and captures. Business owners also use them for NAS systems that centralize essential data, as well as for other storage intensive applications like security camera systems.

Selecting the Right Internal Hard Drive

How do you know what is the right choice for your internal HDD? Think about these factors when determining compatibility:

Storage Capacity: Internal HDDs offer very large storage capacities, starting at approximately 500GB to 1TB and going all the way up to 12TB and more. That means you have got great options whether you want simple desktop storage or you are creating an office NAS server.

Form Factor: The 3.5 inch form factor is the most common in desktop PCs and network storage, and it tends to offer the fastest performance and highest storage capacity for the money. However, if you are installing the drive in a laptop, you will probably need a 2.5 inch internal drive instead.

Interface: SATA 6GB/s is the standard interface that hard drives today use to communicate with a computer motherboard. The exception is in enterprise applications, where you might find the interface in use due to its ability to run constantly and serve large numbers of users.

Cache Size: An HDDs cache is its working memory or buffer that it uses to quickly access data, especially when working on multiple tasks. A larger cache means more ability to buffer data and can offer working speed improvements.

RPM: Revolutions per minute or RPM simply refers to the rotation speed of the platter that the drive stores data on. As you might expect, a faster RPM such as the 7,200 RPM drives common today will usually offer faster data access than a slower one. However, a 5,400 RPM drive will still be fast enough for most users, unless you are accessing huge files or running a server with many people accessing files at once.

Warranty: Since your HDD will probably be storing critical data, purchasing a new drive with a warranty is a smart move. Most new HDDs offer a multi year warranty on parts and labor from the manufacturer.

Find your perfect storage solution with Micro Center’s full selection of internal HDDs from industry leaders like Western Digital, Seagate, and Toshiba. Looking for solid state drives? See all of our internal SSD options.

Hard Drives and Data Storage for Your Most Important Files

Even in the age of streaming and cloud storage, all computers still need a primary local storage device. This type of storage must use non volatile memory, meaning it retains its data even when the computer is powered off, and must store the data in the end users location rather than in the cloud. In most systems, this is known as the hard drive.

Although the term hard drive technically means a traditional hard disk drive or HDD with a spinning magnetic disk, it is commonly used to mean all kinds of data storage devices, including todays hugely popular solid state drives or SSDs. SSDs use NAND flash memory with no moving parts, making them both faster and more resilient than traditional HDDs — although HDDs have advantages of their own, including lower prices.

Some users only need a fast and reliable internal drive for their computer, while others need high capacity external drives for storing multiple terabytes of bulky files.

Businesses, meanwhile, often need even higher storage capacity drives for their network attached storage or NAS systems, which use multiple drives to provide access to data across a local network and may use a redundant configuration called a RAID array. Whether you are looking for an SSD or HDD, internal or external, you will find the right option for you in Micro Centers extensive selection of storage drives.

Choosing Your Data Storage Solution

Considering these factors will make it easier to find the right data storage solution:

SSD vs. HDD: SSDs are the most popular choice for storage because they are extremely reliable and offer high speed performance on everyday tasks. HDDs, meanwhile, offer solid reliability in less strenuous environments and tons of storage space for an affordable price. See our SSD vs. HDD guide for more key information on this important choice.

Data Transfer Speed: The speed at which a hard drive moves data to or from a device can matter a lot, especially if you often send files to an external drive. If transfer speed is a priority on your external drive, look for USB 3.0 drives or higher, which offer faster speeds as long as your computer ports also support USB 3.0.

Interface: Most internal HDDs and some internal SSDs use the classic SATA interface, which attaches via a SATA port on your motherboard. SSDs might also use the newer NVMe format, which offers faster speeds but is not present on all motherboards. External hard drives almost always use either a USB A or USB C connector.

Form Factor: Pay attention to the physical size and shape of your drive, especially if it is an internal hard drive. Many newer SSDs, for example, use the slim M.2 design, while others may use the larger 2.5 inch form factor. HDDs, meanwhile, may use either 2.5 inch or 3.5 inch bays. Remember to check whether your motherboard includes an M.2 slot or the bay size of your computer or NAS server box.

Operating System: Some SSDs and HDDs are designed for compatibility specifically with Windows or macOS. This also matters for file formatting since you might have to reformat your drives storage system if it uses a file format that is not compatible with your OS.

Data Recovery and Backup: Some manufacturers offer data recovery options if your drive fails. Check the drives warranty and specs to learn about the conditions and capacities of each data recovery service. Of course, the best option is to create robust backups to minimize your risk of data loss in the first place, and we highly recommend using an external drive or cloud backup service to back up any local storage volume.

Micro Centers hard drive selection includes all of the top names in computer hard drives like Western Digital, Seagate, Samsung, Toshiba, and more. Find great deals on your data storage solution here, or check out our lineup of SD cards and USB flash drives for more storage options that perform whenever and wherever you need them.

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