Picking a hard drive


Hard Drive

This week we are addressing hard drives (aka hard disk drive, or HDD). Choosing a hard drive is relatively simple compared to choosing a CPU. There are only three factors, all of them easy: RPM, cache, and size. All drives use SATA now, so you don’t need to worry about interface.

The disks in hard drives spin, and the faster it spins, the faster it can read and write data. This is described as RPM, or rotations per minute. Look for a drive that has 7,200RMP or higher. If you want a budget computer and you can save a lot of money with something lower, it’s an acceptable sacrifice. You only need an RPM higher than 7,200 if you want a PC for gaming. If that’s the case, you’d be better off with a Solid State Drive anyway, which we will discuss next week.

Cache is measured in MB (megabytes), and like RPM, you want the highest amount you can get. Don’t worry too much about it though if you are trying to save money. Look for 3MB, but if you can get a higher amount for less money, go for it.

Now it comes to the final aspect, size. Your standard computer comes with such big hard drives that, for most people, anything is big enough. Unless you plan to install a lot of games, 500GB should be more than enough. It’s not uncommon to see desktops including drives with a terabyte (1024 gigabytes).