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Data Storage

Best Hard Drive

Just 20 years ago it was a wonder to have a storage device capable of just a gigabyte. Today, drives have exploded in size to 4TB - 4,000 times larger since - and in all sorts of shapes and sizes. While Solid State Drives (SSD) are beginning to gain momentum in the market, Hard Drives continue to be the gold standard of storage because of their cost effectiveness, capacity, reliability, and longevity in the market. From usage in your notebooks and laptops to storage in your workstations to even mass storage for your NAS or Server, hard drives have and continue to be the very foundation of storage medium for millions of devices across the world. Here are some of the best picks out there from a variety of factors including capacity, usage, and more.

Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

Seagate's Barracuda drive is the one-size-fits-all of hard drive, looking to balance performance, price, capacity, and quality all to build the best drive for the majority of customers out there. Barracuda is the running series Seagate runs for its "Fast but not crazy fast" hard drives, referring to the now-standard 7200RPM speeds behind this drive. The 2TB capacity is a must now given how much storage is essential for our computers, and the 64MB cache is an added plus that ensures faster response times compared to the cheaper 32MB cache. Last, but certainly not least, the price of the Barracuda is not just fair, but a steal given how much the drive offers in capabilities, making it a must-have in every PC arsenal.

Western Digital WD VelociRaptor WD5000HHTZ 500GB 10000 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

Western Digital's VelociRaptor, per its name, is meant to strike fear in your files because of its verocious speeds. Okay, so verocious may be an exaggeration, but when all is said and done this 10,000RPM drive is much faster than the standard 7,200RPM drives on the market, and in order to keep the price low, WD cuts back the capacity to a modest (but still decent) 500GB. The VelociRaptor, looking not to be the best in speed, tries instead to keep a rather modest price and capacity but still faster than most drives on the market. For these reasons the VelociRaptor is still a good drive for those who want a bump in speed but can't break out a ton of cash for it either.

Seagate Cheetah 15K.7 ST3600057SS 600GB 15000 RPM 16MB Cache SAS 6Gb/s 3.5" Internal Enterprise Hard Drive

The latest edition of Seagate's running series of Cheetah hard drives serve purposes: one, to answer to Western Digital's VelociRaptor line of fast hard drive, and two, to compete against the SSDs that slowly but surely continue to steal the market share from hard drive manufacturers. While a 7200RPM hard drive cannot hold a candle to the speed and performance of a typical SSD, the new Enterprise-oriented 15,000RPM drives are more than twice as fast and look to close the distance between the two types of storage. This Cheetah 15.7 drive in particular offers just 600GB of storage, which may not seem much to a monster like a 4TB drive, but it offers a crazy speed at half the price of an equally-priced SSD. Though not quite as fast as an SSD, The Seagate Cheetah is a great compromise in speed, capacity, and price that most people will enjoy.

Western Digital SE 4TB 3.5-Inch WD Se SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache Hard Drive

Just six years ago you would have been on the bleeding edge of hard drive technology if you had a 1TB hard drive. Just a year ago Hitachi - now HGST - released the ridiculously large 4TB hard drive, and all the major hard drive manufacturers have since copied the design, offering their own takes on the latest high-capacity hard drive. Western Digital's SE 4TB hard drive is their attempt at the high capacity drive in a 7200RPM rendition, offering faster performance than the more typical 5400RPM speed, but also without breaking the bank either. Along with rave reviews and a guarantee of good 24x7x365 performance, the Western Digital SE 4TB drive is great for those in need of a huge capacity.

HGST Ultrastar 7K4000 HUS724040ALE640 4TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Enterprise Hard Drive

HGST - once Hitachi before Westerrn Digital bought the company - is known for its innovations in storage capacity, having been the first company to bring not only the 1TB hard drive to the world, but then also the 4TB hard drive just a year or so ago. Now HGST tries to be an innovator while carving its own niche in a market dominated by WD and Seagate, and the Ultrastar 7K4000 4TB Enterprise Drive tries to do just that. While WD and Seagate fight over both consumer and enterprsie markets, HGST looks to focus on enterprise with its high-capacity, 7200RPM hard drive. As a second edition of the original 4TB drive, the Ultrastar offers not just the same innovative performance, but added capabilities in performance that not just Enterprise but also performance-oriented customers would appreciate. For these reasons, the HGST Ultrastar is worth a look if you're willing pay a pretty penny for its technology.

Seagate Cheetah 15K.7 ST3300657SS 300 GB Internal Hard Drive

Seagate's Enterprise series of hard drives & storage solutions by far will often exceed the needs or interests of the average consumer. However, there are moments when the need may arise to take advantage of Enterprise level hardware, for anything from high data transfer needs alongside high capacity requirements, or the general wish for extremely fast computing. The Cheetah from Seagate offers this solution with an eye-popping 15,000 RPM drive complete with a 64MB cache, modest capacity (easily rivaling in cost & size to current market SSDs) and total SATA 6GB/s support. It's been a year since this drive came out and it's not only come down in price, but remains a leader in the market of performance drives. Backed by an impressive 5-year warranty, this drive is sure to offer extreme speeds for the extreme user.

Seagate 1TB Solid State Hybrid Drive ST1000LM014

If you want higher capacities than what the new 15,000 RPM platters can offer, but still the speedy boot-times and high initial performance of an SSD, then you will have to go for the Solid State Hybrid Drive. Seagate's 1TB SSHD offers an amazing way to boot quickly and initialize your drive for fast short-term needs, but offers an impressive capacity compared to faster drives. The SSHD claims to be up to five times faster than a 5400 RPM drive you'd typically find in a laptop, but this is only as it uses its small solid state cache to help boot OSes and initialize programs. The rest of the drive is still a regular-old 5400RPM drive and may slug with large file transfers. Still, with a high capacity, fast boot speed, and a fair price, the Seagate SSHD is still a good choice for many.

HGST Ultrastar 15K600 Hard Drive

Much like the Cheetah, HGST, now a Western Digital subsidiary, also offers you the Enterprise equivalent solution of a ridiculously fast 15,000 RPM drive for whatever your heart can desire. While you may wonder "why not just get an SSD?", the 15,000 RPM drive offers a higher capacity, competitive price, and exceptional features and offerings. Clocking in with up to 600 GB in capacity and up, this drive is more angled towards an enterprise server in need of quick data transfers, or for a PC user's OS system to be installed on for maximum efficiency. Backed by a five year warranty, HGST assures you this drive will stand the test of time in the wake of heavy competition in the SSD sector. If you can afford this drive, it certainly can be worth the investment.

Western Digital VelociRaptor Hard Drive

Western Digital’s recent lineup for 10,000RPM disk drives has left quite a mark on the world of high-performance hard drives. Even though things have changed now that the Enterprise world is showcasing high speed 15,000 RPM drives, these drives complete a circle of balance between the price factor, speed, and capacity of drives. Along with these important factors in bliss with the VelociRaptor, the drive is also packed with a heat-sink known as the “Ice Pak” keeps the quickly rotating hard drive platter cool while it blazes towards read/write speeds in excess of 100MB/s.

Because of these factors backed by a 64 MB cache, glorious 5 year warranty, and 1TB capacity, the VelociRaptor is a staple in performance storage.

HGST Ultrastar 7k4000 Hard Drive

Performance means more than just speed, but also capacity. As PC owners let their libraries of music, games, and videos grow into the terabytes, they'll be needing the right fast, high-capacity drives to meet this demand. HGST, formerly Hitachi and now part of Western Digital, offers one of the few affordable and high-capacity, high-performance drives on the market. Since coming to the market last year, the 4TB drives have become a wonderful option for those who are happy to have the 7200RPM speed but plenty of drive space for all your favorite movies, music and more. HGST is one of the big three hard-drive makers and this drive in particular is backed by a five year warranty. All in all this makes it a wonderful option for those who need fairly fast drives, but also a lot of space to hold their files with.

Hitachi GST Travelstar 1TB 2.5 7200RPM Hard Drive

The manufacturer Formerly Known as Hitachi may be a division of Western Digital now, but they still continue to run their own show, offering up budget-priced, but still performance-oriented hard drives. Their Travelstar series in particular has been around for a number of years across both the 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch form factor, and in this case the 1TB 7200RPM hard drive in the Travelstar just seems to be in some sort of hard drive zen. With a 1TB capacity, this drive has more than enough space for even the most adventurous of mobile users. The 7200RPM speed is common to those with desktops but still uncommon among laptops, making it above the rest in performance. Plus the 32MB cache helps to make this drive a bit faster with accessing files on your computer. Most of all though, the Travelstar's low price, modest 3-year warranty, and high-performance for 1TB of storage - not to mention great reviews - are what make this drive the very best thing out there for an "all-purpose" laptop drive.

Seagate SuperSpeed 1TB HDD + 8 GB SSD STBD1000400

One of the newest sights in the realm of hard drives is the notion of a Hybrid drive, which combines the cheap, high-capacity potential of a hard drive with the super fast read/write speeds of an SSD. The Seagate SueprSpeed line tries to merge this by offering a huge 1TB hard drive, but also throwing in an 8GB "SSD," which is really a type of NAND flash. While this may seem strange or even fishy in terms of design, trust us this is what makes the Seagate SuperSpeed a really fast drive without shelling out the premium price for 10,000RPM hard drive. While you won't get very fast sustained transfers, and it's still more pricey than typical hard drives, this drive is still a great choice among those looking for a little extra something in their hard drive's performance.

Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB 7200RPM HDD WD7500BPKT

As one of the big three (two if you count WD owning HGST now) Western Digital is already known among most avid hard-drive buyers for a number of things, such as reliability, performance, and often fair pricing for its products. When it comes to getting your money's worth with a Western Digital 2.5-inch drive for your laptop, the Scorpio Black line offers the very best investments for your portable computer. A step up from Scorpio Blue, the 750GB Scorpio Black in particular offers several features that boost performance compared to the Blue series, such as the 7200RPM drive speed and 16MB dynamic cache to help with quickly and efficiently grabbing files off your drive. Finally, the 5-year warranty is a solid choice with the Scorpio Black, making it a great, modestly-priced investment for your laptop

HP 507127-S21 300GB 10000 RPM SAS 6Gb/s 2.5" Dual Port Enterprise Hard Drive

HP isn't one of the big three names known for hard drives, but don't let that scare you away from their enterprise hard drives, which happen to occasionally make their way to market. In this case, the 300GB, 10,000RPM HP 50127-S21 doesn't have a very memorable name, but is still notable for having a great read & write speed, the HP brand in enterprise (which really does matter) and a modest 3-year warranty. For what you pay you may not feel like you're getting much capacity out of this drive, but it offers so much else in performance and potential that it really becomes an excellent option for those who need portable, performance-oriented storage on their laptops. These reasons all make the HP 507127-S21 enterprise drive a good choice.

Western Digital WD VelociRaptor WD1000CHTZ 1TB 10000 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 2.5" Enterprise Hard Drive

Western Digital's VelociRaptor can be, depending on how you see it, either a cross between speed and performance, or (for the more creative) a really cool name for something as boring as a hard drive. Still, the exciting stuff you can do with a 2.5-inch VelociRaptor are certainly worth noting. Though a desktop or workstation-oriented line of hard drives, it's great to see this line also among laptops for its ability to offer faster-than-average read and write speeds, not to mention just a better enterprise experience as a whole. Specifically the VelociRaptor in this case has an extremely fast 10,000RPM hard drive with 500GB of disk space. Though this may not seem like too much especially for its price, you're getting so much here between the extra bump in speed, fair capacity, and premium 5-year warranty. These factors all make the VelociRaptor a great choice in enterprise hard drive technology, especially if you want to get at least 500GB of space in your laptop.

Seagate Constellation ES.3 4TB Enterprise Drive

The Seagate Constellation series of hard drives are built solely around the needs of data centers and their desires for reliable drives that aren't exhorbinant in price, but still capable for small and large enterprise needs alike. Their latest member in the Constellation series is now capable of the impressive 4TB capacity, and along with this large capacity these drives have a massive 128MB cache, making it easier than ever to quickly access recently viewed files and indexes thanks to the larger-than-average cache. Along with these features, the Constellation is backed by Seagate's promise for the drive to last while under constant usage, not to mention an extended 5-year warranty. All in all these factors and more make the Seagate Constellation ES.3 4TB Enterprise Drive perfect for RAID, enterprise, and other needs.

Western Digital SE 4TB 3.5-Inch WD Se SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache Hard Drive

Just six years ago you would have been on the bleeding edge of hard drive technology if you had a 1TB hard drive. Just a year ago Hitachi - now HGST - released the ridiculously large 4TB hard drive, and all the major hard drive manufacturers have since copied the design, offering their own takes on the latest high-capacity hard drive. Western Digital's SE 4TB hard drive is their attempt at the high capacity drive in a 7200RPM rendition, offering faster performance than the more typical 5400RPM speed, but also without breaking the bank either. Along with rave reviews and a guarantee of good 24x7x365 performance, the Western Digital SE 4TB drive is great for those in need of a huge capacity.

HGST Ultrastar 7K4000 HUS724040ALE640 4TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Enterprise Hard Drive

HGST - once Hitachi before Westerrn Digital bought the company - is known for its innovations in storage capacity, having been the first company to bring not only the 1TB hard drive to the world, but then also the 4TB hard drive just a year or so ago. Now HGST tries to be an innovator while carving its own niche in a market dominated by WD and Seagate, and the Ultrastar 7K4000 4TB Enterprise Drive tries to do just that. While WD and Seagate fight over both consumer and enterprsie markets, HGST looks to focus on enterprise with its high-capacity, 7200RPM hard drive. As a second edition of the original 4TB drive, the Ultrastar offers not just the same innovative performance, but added capabilities in performance that not just Enterprise but also performance-oriented customers would appreciate. For these reasons, the HGST Ultrastar is worth a look if you're willing pay a pretty penny for its technology.

Seagate NAS 4TB 3.5-inch 5900RPM Hard Drive

As a NAS-designed drive, Seagate's NAS series 4TB hard drive is designed with a focus not on performance, but reliability and price. This holds true considering how much cheaper this NAS drive is compared to other Enterprise drives on the market, and while you're getting a slower RPM in the process, this drive is designed with the same endurance needs as the higher-end enterprise drive that can be hundreds of dollars higher in price. This drive is designed to be constantly in use to allow access to its massive 4TB capacity, and while it is only 5900RPM, it's still a very modest speed to operate for a RAID or Enterprise build. When you really bear in mind how much cheaper it is to other drives, it begins to look more and more like a great deal

Western Digital VelociRaptor 600GB Hard Drive

We wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't mention at least one high-speed drive with enterprise performance as an aspect in its design, and this is what the Western Digital VelociRaptor is all about. While performance can be argued for RAID and enterprise drives to be about capacity and long-term sustainability, it doesn't mean high-speed performance doesn't matter to some RAID users. In this case, the 10,000 RPM drive of the VelociRaptor will do the trick. The only concern here is the limited 600GB capacity, sadly encouraging you to be a large number of them to be able to achieve the capacity you desire. Still, the 10,000 RPM design offers wonderfully fast speeds compared to 7200 RPM and 5900 RPM drives, and the long 5-year warranty assures your drive for long haul. All in all, these factors all make the VelociRaptor still a fairly good choice for those who value speed over capacity in their RAID.

Western Digital Black 4TB 3.5 7200RPM Hard Drive

Western Digital's Black series of hard drives is the cream of the crop among the company's series of high-capacity drives, and their 4TB 3.5-inch drive is the very best high capacity drive in terms of capacity, speed, and value. At the core of the WD Black series is a 4TB drive, which is the largest possible capacity among consumer hard drives. To match the capacity though is the fast 7200RPM drive speed and SATA 6.0 Gbps connectivity, ensuring fast read and write speeds to help handle the huge capacity. Lastly, the 5-year warranty is longer than most hard drives and helps offer peace of mind for the long haul with your data. All of these reasons make the Western Digital Black series hard drive the very best for high-capacity computing.

Hitachi GST Travelstar 1TB 2.5 7200RPM Hard Drive

The manufacturer Formerly Known as Hitachi may be a division of Western Digital now, but they still continue to run their own show, offering up budget-priced, but still performance-oriented hard drives. Their Travelstar series in particular has been around for a number of years across both the 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch form factor, and in this case the 1TB 7200RPM hard drive in the Travelstar just seems to be in some sort of hard drive zen. With a 1TB capacity, this drive has more than enough space for even the most adventurous of mobile users. The 7200RPM speed is common to those with desktops but still uncommon among laptops, making it above the rest in performance. Plus the 32MB cache helps to make this drive a bit faster with accessing files on your computer. Most of all though, the Travelstar's low price, modest 3-year warranty, and high-performance for 1TB of storage - not to mention great reviews - are what make this drive the very best thing out there for an "all-purpose" laptop drive.

HGST Ultrastar 7K4000 HUS724040ALE640 4TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Enterprise Hard Drive

HGST - once Hitachi before Westerrn Digital bought the company - is known for its innovations in storage capacity, having been the first company to bring not only the 1TB hard drive to the world, but then also the 4TB hard drive just a year or so ago. Now HGST tries to be an innovator while carving its own niche in a market dominated by WD and Seagate, and the Ultrastar 7K4000 4TB Enterprise Drive tries to do just that. While WD and Seagate fight over both consumer and enterprsie markets, HGST looks to focus on enterprise with its high-capacity, 7200RPM hard drive. As a second edition of the original 4TB drive, the Ultrastar offers not just the same innovative performance, but added capabilities in performance that not just Enterprise but also performance-oriented customers would appreciate. For these reasons, the HGST Ultrastar is worth a look if you're willing pay a pretty penny for its technology.

Seagate NAS 4TB 3.5-inch 5900RPM Hard Drive

As a NAS-designed drive, Seagate's NAS series 4TB hard drive is designed with a focus not on performance, but reliability and price. This holds true considering how much cheaper this NAS drive is compared to other Enterprise drives on the market, and while you're getting a slower RPM in the process, this drive is designed with the same endurance needs as the higher-end enterprise drive that can be hundreds of dollars higher in price. This drive is designed to be constantly in use to allow access to its massive 4TB capacity, and while it is only 5900RPM, it's still a very modest speed to operate for a RAID or Enterprise build. When you really bear in mind how much cheaper it is to other drives, it begins to look more and more like a great deal

WD Western Digital Scorpio Blue 1 TB Internal Hard Drive

High capacity laptop drives are few and far between, and getting past 750GB can be a challenge for most portable PCs. Still, Western Digital's Scorpio Blue series looks to meet the challenge and offer high capacity laptop drives in the 2.5-inch form factor. While it does only have a 5400RPM drive, and SATA 3Gbps connectivity, the Scorpio Blue 1TB drive makes up for speed with an impressive 1TB capacity and excellent price. marketed as a drive for "daily computing," this drive is designed with the average user in mind, but one that really needs all the space they can get. The 2-year warranty is modest, and at least ensures you won't have any short-term concerns with your laptop drive. For these reasons the Scorpio Blue is a fairly good drive to have on your laptop and a reliable choice in the 2.5-inch department.

Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

Seagate's Barracuda drive is the one-size-fits-all of hard drive, looking to balance performance, price, capacity, and quality all to build the best drive for the majority of customers out there. Barracuda is the running series Seagate runs for its "Fast but not crazy fast" hard drives, referring to the now-standard 7200RPM speeds behind this drive. The 2TB capacity is a must now given how much storage is essential for our computers, and the 64MB cache is an added plus that ensures faster response times compared to the cheaper 32MB cache. Last, but certainly not least, the price of the Barracuda is not just fair, but a steal given how much the drive offers in capabilities, making it a must-have in every PC arsenal.

Western Digital WD Blue WD10EZEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

Western Digital's Blue series is meant for those on a budget and in need of a no-frills hard drive experience. Western Digital's Blue series does offer a really, really low price, and still meets the 1TB minimum that all modern PCs should have these days. Still the drive manages to pull this off without compromising in either speed or performance, offering the fast 7200RPM standard and 64MB cache alike. Meant for "daily computing," WD's Blue series is the best the company can offer for those who need a budget hard drive and just want something that works for cheap

TOSHIBA PH3200U-1I72 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

Toshiba is not the leading name in hard drives like Seagate or Western Digital - probably more known for its laptops - but that doesn't mean Toshiba is unable to offer decently priced, well-designed hard drives. Though they don't offer much of a series name behind their drives, the 2TB Toshiba 7200RPM drive offers all the performance and capacity of a Seagate or WD drive, but also with lower power consumption and a great price to top it all off. With a 64MB cache, this drive is able to handle many of the day-to-day tasks you'll throw at it with ease. The 3-year warranty, as opposed to 2-year from WD and Seagate, is also added icing on the cake for this drive. Overall, Toshiba offers a lot in this drive given the price it's at, making it a great choice for many PC Builders on a budget.

HGST 0A39289 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" x 1/3H ULTRASTAR A7K2000 25.4MM 32MB Internal Hard Drive

HGST, formerly Hitachi, was always considered a more Enterprise-oriented name in hard drive technology, but that doesn't mean their budget-oriented Desktar series of hard drives are not a good fit for many "everday-computing" builds looking for cheap hard drives. For a few dollars more than its competitors, HGST offers pretty much identical hardware, but a year more on the warranty. With a 1TB capacity, SATA 6Gbps connectivity, and 64MB cache, the 3-year warranty for a bit more is probably icing on the cake for those who want a little more added peace of mind. All in all, the HGST 1TB 7200RPM HDD is a great choice for many in need of Enterprise-level hardware and the slightly longer warranty.

Seagate Pipeline HD ST1000VM002 1TB 5900 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

Designed for those on a budget, but looking for good performance and decent transfer speeds, the Seagate Pipeline HD is meant for storing precious files you want to be able to find in a hurry ,but may not necessarily be so big and problematic you'll need the 7200RPM platter speed too. Coming in at a dirt-cheap price, but still with a hefty 1TB capacity, this drive is great for long-term storage on a budget. The 64MB cache is also great for the drive to stay snappy, and did we mention yet this drive is designed to consume less power, AND is made from recycled parts? If you are looking for a drive that gets the job done on a budget, but also win points for the environment, then you can't lose with the Pipeline HD 1TB Drive

Josh Sherman
An all-around tech expert from the NYC area, Josh has played with computer devices & hardware since he was in diapers. Having built his own computers from scratch, written on tech & hardware for top sites like DigitalTrends & MakeUseOf, and extensive knowledge of all things PC, Mac, and computer related, Josh is a true expert of the world of computers, hardware, peripherals, and more.
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