How to Shop For a Hard Drive

Hard drives are the most common type of storage used in PCs. They come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 16 GB and above to 2 TB. This amount of space is enough for most people, but users with many large files or heavy games may need more storage.

When shopping for an HDD, it is important to balance performance and cost per TB. A key consideration is the type of recording technology, which impacts performance and reliability. We recommend conventional magnetic recording (CMR) drives over shingled (SMR) models, which have performance and operational issues.

Other important factors include form factor and RPM. Most desktop PCs use the 3.5″ form factor, though smaller 2.5″ drives are available. In terms of rotations per minute, lower RPM drives offer better power efficiency and less noise.

Unlike SSDs, which are more resilient and tend to die in increments rather than just stopping working, HDDs have multiple possible failure points, including mechanical, electrical, and software. As such, a good warranty is an important consideration when selecting a hard drive. We recommend a 3-year manufacturer warranty, but longer warranties are also available for higher-end drives. At the current time, Seagate Exos Enterprise, Toshiba MG Series, and WD Gold are the only vendors with 24TB consumer-grade CMR options. However, these drives tend to have high prices compared to other drives at the same workload rating. We recommend a 180 – 300 TB/yr workload rating for most consumers, as this provides adequate longevity and reliability. Hard drives

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