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Internal Hard Drives (HDD)
Are Hard Drives still relevant?
Hard disks are still found in all manner of computer devices - from laptops and desktops to servers and NAS (Network attached storage) units. Today hard disks are primarily used for the mass storage and backup of data thanks to relative low cost and high capacity. A hard disk can store any type of data, from large software applications to photos, audio, video and data such spreadsheets and word documents.
Although SSD’s (Solid State Drives) are becoming ever more attractive thanks to performance advantages, they are still not a substitute for hard disks mainly due to capacity and price point advantages. Hard disk are a great budget primary storage device or a perfect secondary storage solution – used for the backup of important data and storage of media.
A hard disk is what’s known as a non-volatile memory device, which simply means that data is saved regardless of whether or not the device is turned on. Because of this, it’s considered one of the most secure methods of storing and protecting information.
"HDD" stands for "hard disk drive" and refers to the operating principle of hard disks, in which rotating magnetic disks ("platter") store the data which is called up by a head. A cache of several tens of megabytes holds the most frequently used data for quick access.
What is the difference between a Computer HDD and a Computer Hard Disk?
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, there is an essential difference between a computer HDD and a computer hard disk. A computer hard disk drive (computer HDD) is the device that controls the reading and writing of the computer hard disk. However, because they are packaged and work as a single unit, the terms are used equally.
To learn more about the types of computer hard disks and to find out which is the right one for your system, read the guide below.
Are there more than one size and speed of HDD?
There are two main physical size categories for computer hard disks: 3.5” and 2.5”. Both of which utilise the latest SATA (Serial ATA / Serial AT Attachment) connection which replaced the older IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) interface and the associated use of ribbon cables.
In general 3.5” HDD's are generally faster and have a higher capacity whereas 2.5” drives usually require less power and are a little slower. If required you can even use the smaller 2.5” drives in a desktop environment. This is especially useful in small form factor machines or when building a lower power system. Both 3.5” and 2.5” HDD’s are interchangeable as long as the chassis of the system can physically take the dimensions of the drive.
HDD’s come in a variety of capacities and speeds including the faster 7,200 rpm or the energy-efficient 5,400 rpm models. Drives additionally use either the SATA 6G interface with transfer rates up to 600 MB/s or the SATA II with a 300 MB / s transmission speed. Its also worth noting that SATA 6G drives are backwards compatible and will work with the slightly older SATA II interface.
What are 3.5” Hard Disks used for?
The most common size of hard disk is the 3.5” which is utilised across a broad spectrum of consumer and professional devices. 3.5” drives come in a variety of thicknesses depending on the capacity - This is because with higher capacity comes the need to increase the amount of platers contained within the drive. Generally any 3.5” HDD will fit in desktop, server, NAS or 3.5” external enclosure applications due to the design of the devices internal storage brackets.
2.5” Hard Disks: What are the benefits?
Because the standard 3.5” computer hard disks are large, power hungry and heavy, some small form factor electronics devices such as laptops and games consoles such as the PlayStation (PS3 / PS4) and Xbox (360 / One) use a 2.5″ HDD. They are relatively cheap, reliable and high capacity.
When installing a 2.5” HDD into a laptop, external 2.5” enclosure or other device it is important to be aware of the thickness of the drive. A 2.5” laptop hard disk will come in one of three sizes: 12.5mm, 9.5mm, and 7mm. The 12.5mm drives are uncommon, and are usually found in larger laptops. As a general rule, 9.5mm thick is the most common size. However, it is possible to install a 7mm laptop hard disk with the use of a special bracket to hold it in place. These brackets are sometimes included with the ‘drive’ so be sure to check the included HDD accessories if buying a 7mm thick drive.
What are the different types of drive?
Desktop drives are the everyday drives you will find in standard home or office computers. Ranging in capacities from 256GB to over 4TB and produced by the likes of Seagate (BarraCuda, FireCuda), WD (Blue, Black) and Toshiba (P300, X300). Desktop ‘drives’ are affordable, reliable and perfect for everyday use.
Available in 2.5” and 3.5” drives giving you the ability to upgrade your PC, laptop and even your games console.
SSHD combine the latest NAND flash technology as used by SSD’s with a traditional hard drive for a compact blend of capacity and speeds up to 5× faster than typical hard drives. SSHD drives offer faster software and game loading / installation times plus overall faster transfer speeds.
Seagate Firecuda ‘drives’ are perfect for your SSHD applications and as with desktop HDD’s, SSHD are available in 2.5” and 3.5” options.
Enterprise HDD are an amazingly versatile and have been designed for dependability and durability. This ensures you have complete peace of mind when storing your data.
Lightning-fast performance and the ability to store up to 12TB gives your desktop or creative professional system the edge. Enterprise ‘drives’ come in 3.5” sizes and are usually backed by an extended 5 year warranty. Some of the Pro models like the Seagate BarraCuda Pro additionally come with a 2 year data recovery plan (Seagate Rescue Data Recovery) as standard.
We sell a wide range of high quality enterprise HDD’s produced by both Seagate (BarraCuda Pro) and WD (Gold).
NAS hard drives are specially designed for reliable, high volume, cool and quiet, 24/7 operation. They offer optimum compatibility and are perfect for home users, small offices or even larger companies looking to store high volumes of data in one location.
The majority of NAS ‘drives’ come with a minimum 3 year warranty, with some of the Pro models such as the Seagate IronWolf Pro coming with a 2 year data recovery plan (Seagate Rescue Data Recovery).
Surveillance HDD’s come in capacities of up to 10TB and tuned for 24/7 workloads with support for upto 8 bays and 32 cameras*1. Equipped with special features such as enhanced firmware that allows for better playback and recording*2 and designed to have 3x the workload rating of a desktop ‘drive’*3. Unlike standard HDD’s, surveillance drives are particularly good at withstand the extreme heat fluctuations and equipment vibrations within a DVR environment.
High quality surveillance drives are produced by both Seagate (SkyHawk) and WD (Purple).
*1 WD Purple
*2 Seagate ImagePerfect, *3 Seagate