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General Desktop Hard Drive Tips
An internal hard drive is a critical component, as it is used to store the operating system, programs, documents, and other files. So when shopping for a hard drive, you will want to ensure that it is reliable, offers enough storage capacity, fast enough for your needs, and is compatible with the system. To help guide you, NeweggBusiness provides the tips below for buying an internal hard drive.
Before shopping for a drive, check to see what type of interface the motherboard supports. Older desktops may use Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) or Parallel ATA (PATA) connectors while newer desktops will usually have Serial ATA (SATA™).
If you are buying internal hard drives for a server or workstation, you may have Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) or Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) connectors in place of SATA.
Buying for a Mac®
If you are shopping for a Mac hard drive, you will first need to check which internal hard drive form factor your particular model is compatible with. Desktop Macs such as the iMac® or Mac Pro® will typically accept 3.5 inch hard drives, but some such as the Mac Mini® will require 2.5 inch hard drives that are exactly 9.5 mm tall. Most new Macs support SATA hard drives, but some older models may require IDE drives.
A hard drive’s cache can be used to store recently read data in case the operating system needs to retrieve the data again. It can also be used to store data that will soon be written onto the disk. Generally, a larger cache will allow for better performance.
If you are purchasing an internal hard drive for general office-use and do not expect it to store very large files, several hundred gigabytes will be more than adequate. However, if you are using the drive to store large amounts of data, such as in a server environment, then you will want a drive with several terabytes of storage.
The two most common SATA hard drive speeds for desktop and laptop computers are 5,400 RPM and 7,200 RPM. There are faster options, such as 10,000 RPM and 15,000 RPM, but they are typically found in high-end or enterprise hard drives for workstations and servers. For general office use such as reading and writing e-mail or web browsing, a 5,400 RPM or 7,200 RPM drive is more than sufficient.
Internal hard drives are susceptible to heat, with some more so than others. Ensure that the computer is properly cooled, or you will risk failure of the hard drive and other system hardware. If you notice that temperatures are consistently higher than normal, you may want to utilize an internal hard drive cooler or install additional chassis fans.