How To Buy A Hard Drive

The hard drive in your computer is one of the most important parts of your system because this is where the operating system, programs and data are permanently stored and accessed.    If you take lots of digital photos, make home movies, listen to music files or play games on your computer then a hard disk with a large capacity and fast access speed can improve the performance of your computer dramatically.  Multimedia on your computer requires a spacious hard drive. Here is a brief guide in what to look for when buying a hard disk.

Before you even look for a hard drive you need to know the type of connection your computer has for hard drives.  The two main types in home computers are IDE and SATA.  You can easily tell which is in your computer by looking at the cable that connects the drive to the motherboard.  If the cable is wide and flat like a ribbon then it’s IDE and if it’s thin (about 1cm) then it’s SATA.

Once you’ve discovered the connection type the next thing to consider is the storage capacity.  Digital video files such as those in home video cameras can take up a large amount of space especially if your camera is HD.  Just 7 minutes worth of video can take up a gigabyte of disk space so an hours worth of holiday videos, for example, soon adds up to a very large amount.  In such a case you should consider buying a hard drive of 1TB or more.  If, on the other hand, you only use your computer for emails and Internet use with occasional digital photos and music then a hard disk of about 120GB or less would be suitable.

Something else to keep in mind when buying a hard drive is how fast the disks spin.  This speed is measured in revolutions per minute or rpm.  The bigger the number the faster the disks spin and the faster the data stored on the disk can be accessed.  When editing home movies very large amounts of data are being moved on and off the hard drive.  If the hard drive has a rpm rate lower than 7,200 then editing home movies will be slow and tedious.  Even if you don’t have any intention of editing home movies a faster disk speed can enhance your computer experience making start-up time and everything else faster.  In this instance it’s best not to get a disk slower than 5,400 rpm.

 Other things to consider when buying a hard drive are warranty, support and what components are included such as a connection cable.  You should also check that you are buying a drive by a reputable brand such as those listed on HardDriveBuyer.

To sum up, when buying a hard drive for your computer you must know the connection type and carefully consider what size and speed to choose.