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Saturday, March 17, 2018
Article written by Peter Dobler

How to Select A Hard Drive For Your PC

Deciding on the appropriate hard drive is a personal decision made according to an individual’s computing needs. These days, 20 gigabyte, up to 40 gig, 80 gig, 100 gig and even larger are common. When pricing hard drives, it is common to see very little price differences between smaller size drives and larger. For instance, the price difference between a 20 gig and a 40 gig may be only twenty dollars. An old rule of thumb among the computing community has always been to buy the largest hard drive that you could possibly afford since everyone loads and uses more software than they initially imagine they will, and since that will put off the need to upgrade the computer the following year. However, if your budget is limited remember that a 20, 30 or 40 gig hard drive is plenty for the average user.

These hard drive sizes would astound a computer user from the 1980’s or early 1990’s. Back then hard drives were sized in megabytes, not gigabytes. The original IBM PC commonly had a ten Meg or twenty Meg drive, and when the thirty Meg drive came out it was considered absolutely gigantic. However, that was a time of smaller programs, less software and before Windows dominated the home computer world.

When choosing a hard drive you should always remember that the type we are most familiar with is called Parallel ATA type. A new type, serial ATA, is gaining popularity. This type is much faster – as much as twenty percent – and has other benefits including improved airflow. Your hard drive will need flowing air because it is constantly rotating at extremely high speeds and generates heat. The airflow helps the hard drive stay cool and run properly.

Most of the name brand hard drives are fine quality and it is hard to go wrong if they are purchased from an authorized reseller. If you buy your hard drive from an OEM – original equipment manufacturer – or from a discount store be sure to check out the warranty.

When choosing a new hard drive, keep several things in mind: size measured in gigabytes, size physically measured in inches, speed, and brand.

When looking at brands, there are many good choices. Choose a brand you’ve heard of and trust. Possibilities from good companies include Maxtor, Quantum, Western Digital, Fijutsu, Toshiba, and IBM among others.

When looking at price, remember the old adage “you get what you pay for.” A wise shopper will look around for the best price, but price isn’t the only thing here. A low price without a warranty, or from a dealer you don’t trust, could just cost you more in the long run. Fortunately with hard drives the manufacturer provides warranties on new drives, but a company willing to back up their product and replace a defective drive out of inventory can save you lots of hassle and downtime.

Size of drive in gigs, as said before, will have little price difference in certain increments and are usually very small. Figure out what each gig is costing you on each drive. Take a calculator into the store and do the math, then make your choice. Size physically is important because you must have a hard drive that fits the slot in your particular computer. Hard drives come in two primary sizes. The smaller, standard size is the size of a 3.5 inch floppy disk drive. The larger type is the size of a CD ROM drive. Larger drives tend to cost less, but most computers have enough slots for smaller, standard drives and most computer users consider them a little more preferable.

Speed is used to describe the revolution speed of the spinning hard drive. The faster the better of course, but check out the price difference when going from a relatively slow hard drive to a faster drive and see if the price difference is really worth it. After all, the hard drive is really spending most of its time waiting for you to type in data. In summary, choosing a hard drive is as individual as choosing a car, but most people want as much size and speed as they can afford. Ask your friends, check online message boards, and perhaps members of a local computer users group to see what other people’s experiences have been, analyze all of your options and then make a wise decision.
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