In today’s article we will focus on such an important part of every computer as a hard disk drive or, as is often said, winchester. We will discuss together what are computer hard drives generally and which new hard drive to choose.
What is hard disk drive in computer?
A computer hard disk drive (HDD) is the main device for storing information on your PC. Hard drive is one of the main parts of the PC architecture together with the video card, CPU and RAM.
It’s called a hard drive, because the information in it is written to the hard plates coated with a special magnetic alloy. You can also hear a magnetic hard disk sometimes.
There are several stories about why the hard drive called winchester, but all of them are connected with a rifle Winchester.
You need to pay attention to a few basic hard drive options, listed below, when purchasing this product:
1. Hard drive capacity.
Hard drive capacity shows the amount of information which it can hold. This value was measured in megabytes once upon a time (the first drives have about 60 MB), but now the disk capacity is measured in gigabytes or even in terabytes. The smallest disks currently have a capacity of 160 GB, which can be now compared with memory capacity of newest portable MP3 player. The largest hard drive can hold 6 TB of information or more.
Remember that 1 Terabyte contains 1024 GB and 1GB contains 1024 Megabytes.
What size of hard drive you should choose? You can rely solely on your financial possibilities – larger disk can hold more information, but it also costs more.
However, there are some rumors, that 2TB and more hard drives are not very reliable at present time.
So, I would advise you to pay attention to drives up to 500GB, 750GB or 1TB.
2. Hard disk rotational speed.
This parameter indicates how many revolutions per minute (rpm) the computer hard disk spindle does. The speed of data reading from the hard drive depends on this speed. The most popular models of hard drives have rotation speed 5400 rpm or 7200 rpm.
Winchester with greater speed will be a little bit loud, but it is not very critical. Therefore, the optimal speed for fast hard drive can be considered at level 7200 rpm.
3. Hard drive cache memory size.
Hard drive cache is also called hard drive buffer. Piece of information that is most commonly used is stored in this buffer. This feature increases the speed of the disk due to the fact that there is no need to make more inquiries and necessary piece of information can be taken from the buffer.
Hard drive buffer size can be from 8 to 64 Megabytes. The disk is faster if it has a larger cache memory size.
Cache up to 16Mb is enough for drives up to 1TB (for 500-750 GB even 8 MB). Drives with larger capacity have larger cache.
4. Connection type.
The hard drive can be connected to the motherboard via two types of connectors: IDE and SATA.
IDE connection is used only on older computers, new PC mainly used SATA.
SATA connections are divided depending on bandwidth.
There are such types of SATA:
– Simple SATA – bandwidth is up to 1.5 Gbit per second (now it is not very common);
– SATA 2 – bandwidth is up to 3 Gbit/sec
– SATA 3 – bandwidth is up to 6 Gbit/s.
Winchester will work faster with higher bandwidth.
All types of SATA connections have the same interface, but before you choose the type of connection – see which type your motherboard supports.
If tour motherboard only supports SATA 2, why should you pay extra money for HDD SATA 3?
Look for hard drives with IDE connection if you have an older computer.
5. Hard drive size (hard drive form factor).
Standard 3.5 inch hard drives are used in standard home computers.
Smaller 2.5 inch HDD are used in laptops.
6. Disc location type.
There are two types of hard discs depending on their location – internal and external disks.
Internal hard drives are installed inside the system block of computer.
External (removable) hard drive connected to the computer from the outside, preferably via a USB or other ports.
Each PC should have at least one internal hard drive on which the operating system and other critical files will be saved. Most users use only the internal disks on a habit.
You can buy an external hard drive if you need to transfer large amounts of data or all your internal drives are already filled.
We hope this information will help you to understand how to choose the best HDD from the variety of computer hard disks drives present on the market.