Top-notch graphics card, powerful processor, fast RAM – all this allows you to enjoy a high performance on your computer. But only if you remember to choose a good hard drive. A low-quality hard drive slows down both computer startup and OS operation.
Game fans will also have to watch the boot screens for a long time, and if you frequently copy and move files, then these procedures will also take a long time and it’ll make it difficult to work comfortably on the computer at such times.
In this blog article, we’ve picked out the best hard drives that you can install on any device, be it a desktop, laptop, or home server.
What type of hard drive to choose
The most common today is classic hard drives. They have a very low cost per gigabyte of volume, which allows such devices to remain very popular among buyers.
In terms of durability, they often surpass SSDs, which have a limit on rewrite cycles. It is true that hard drives are quite slow, so some buyers prefer an alternative in the form of SSHD.
Check our HDD vs SSD comparison.
SSHDs contain an additional SSD module, thanks to which access to frequently used files (for example, when booting the OS) is faster. Other cache tasks can be set on the solid-state cache.
Hence, through it, you can write to the hard drive, which speeds up this procedure. However, even with simple SSDs, these devices cannot be compared in speed. But the price of a GB remains very “tasty”.
The best hard drives under 1TB
The average consumer does not need a huge storage space. 500 GB or 1 TB is enough to store all their necessary files. Training materials, working papers and other similar data usually take up no more than 50-100 gigabytes.
Another one and a half can be occupied by a system with various programs needed for professional activity or recreation. The remaining volume can be left in reserve or loaded with various multimedia data, such as movies or TV shows.
1. HGST Travelstar Z7K500.B 500GB
If you are hearing about HGST for the first time and are afraid of buying an unreliable drive, then you just need to know that this brand was originally a subsidiary of Hitachi and today belongs to the world-famous manufacturer of high quality hard drives Western Digital.
Thus, there is no question about the durability of the Z7K500 and if the correct operating conditions are observed, the HDD will work for many years.
The measured sequential read and write speed in this model was 140 MB / s, which is quite good for its category. The internal data exchange takes place at a speed of 1304 MB / s.
With a 2.5-inch form factor, the affordable HGST device is suitable for both personal computers and laptops. At the same time, it has more buffer memory than conventional compact solutions – 32 MB vs. 16MB.
The average read access time in the Z7K500 is 12ms and the latency is about 4.2 milliseconds. At the same time, the drive turned out to be quite quiet, and even at a top speed of 7200 rpm, it is almost incomprehensible even in the laptop case.
- Low energy consumption
- very quiet operation
- access time
2. Toshiba HDWD110UZSVA
This is one of the most affordable 3.5-inch solutions, in addition to having many decent features. HDWD110UZSVA belongs to the P300 line. They are mid-range, aimed at home and office use.
The manufacturer also offers mobile devices L200, energy-saving E300, flagship X300 and several other lines for servers and video surveillance systems.
In terms of reliability, however, Toshiba hard drives are at a high level, regardless of the user-selected series. However, it has a warranty period of only 24 months, when competitors have it for three or even five years.
As for the characteristics of the reviewed model, it boasts of a quiet operation, good read/write speed, 64 GB buffer, and power consumption of 6.4 W.
- moderate price
- silence under load
- cold at work;
- quality of materials and reliability
- short warranty period.
The best computer hard drives starting at 2 TB
If you are an avid movie or gamer, even a terabyte of memory may not be enough for your needs. Recent movies are getting longer, and the high resolutions are significantly increasing in size.
Modern games also don’t stand still, with rich virtual worlds, advanced graphics, storyboards, and other data that can take up 50 GB of storage and even more.
For example, the last part of Far Cry with all the add-ons will take up no less than a hundred Gigabytes, and if you want to install several such projects and download a lot of movies, then the terabyte drive will fill up quickly. Therefore, it is better to buy a computer hard drive with at least 2 TB immediately.
1. Toshiba HDWD130UZSVA
If we close the first category with a Toshiba, then we need to start the second with a Toshiba device.
In fact, we are facing a similar solution belonging to the same P300 line, which has similar read and writes speeds, as well as comparable buffer size and average latency (4.17 milliseconds).
The discs differ mainly in volume and weight. The latter is due to the fact that a 1 TB hard drive has one board. But here, there are three boards.
At the same time, for twice as much memory, you will have to pay about twice as much money, which is very reasonable.
- low noise level (up to 28 dB)
- reasonable price/volume ratio
- rotation speed 7200 rpm
- good reading/writing results.
- unwinds slowly
- only 2 years warranty.
2. Seagate ST2000DM008
When it comes to what hard drive to buy so that it combines price, speed and capacity well, many users will prefer the ST2000DM008 from Seagate.
This device has a countertop with a pair of heads, almost noiseless, and supports NSQ (queue for hardware commands). The volume, as the name suggests, is 2 TB, but the buffer memory here is now 256 MB, which is quite good for a price of about $55.
And overall, the combination of price and quality of the Seagate HDD is a great solution. The read/write speeds announced by the manufacturer are 220 MB / s. In sequential mode, both are actually even higher.
I was also pleased with the silence with which the hard drive works. But the warranty for this model is also only 2 years. However, this is a fairly inexpensive hard drive, so some minor downsides are forgivable.
- excellent write speed – read
- a large amount of buffer memory
- very quiet operation under load
- durability and low cost.
3. Western Digital WD Blue Desktop 4 TB (WD40EZRZ)
Western Digital has several product lines to address different needs. For example, WD Green is suitable for use with hard drives, and if you want to install hard drives in CCTV systems, then you need the Purple series.
As for the “blue” hard drives, they are the most versatile. These discs combine a reasonable price, fairly high speed, and good quality.
Store movies and music, build a cheap gaming computer, it’s all WD Blue.
Other volume options are available in the same model range, ranging from 1 TB to 6 terabyte devices.
The WD40EZRZ model is one of the most interesting solutions in the price category of about $145 … Behind this brand, there are many alternatives to this option, but only a few are cheaper and at the same level to compete with Western Digital.
The read and write speed of this hard disk is 150 MB / s. These are not ideal values, but they will be sufficient for most users. In addition, if you use the device mainly to store video and other files that do not require quick access, then higher speeds are not even necessary. The hard disk buffer is 64 MB and the noise level is 28 dB.
- operating temperature is about 35 degrees
- no vibration
- optimal speeds and access time
- volume and presence in the line of solutions of different sizes
- value for money as well as reliability.
- for the price, the cache can be a little more spacious.
The best hybrid hard drives (SSD + HDD)
Over the last years, the price of hard drives has dropped significantly. Today it is relatively cheap to buy a high-quality and fast SSD. However, higher-capacity solutions still remain available to a narrow range of users.
To offer consumers high-speed features at a reasonable price, Seagate has released the hybrid hard drives we talked about earlier (SSHD). Other brands also have this type of device. But it is the Americans who offer the largest range of hybrid devices, from which we have selected the two best drives for review.
1. Seagate ST1000DX002
Do I have to choose a hard drive or SSD for my computer? This question is usually asked when the budget is insufficient to purchase two devices at once. As a result, the user installs only one device, planning an upgrade for the future. But, as a rule, this very “future” does not come very quickly, so you have to come to terms with either the lack of space or the slowness of the system.
If you need more volume, then there are solutions for 2 and 4 TB in this order. However, the price / quality ratio is a bit worse.
Fortunately, the ST1000DX002 is able to solve this problem. It has a standard 3.5-inch form factor, is equipped with a 1 TB plate and a pair of heads. The average sequential read speed in this model is 156 MB / s. The 8-gigabyte Toshiba chip was chosen as the flash memory. As a result, a device with a spindle speed of 7200 rpm shows results that exceed the more expensive models by 10,000 rpm.
- extremely quiet operation
- read and write speed
- perfect for a gaming computer
- attractive costs
- reliable microcontroller
- official 5-year warranty.
2. Seagate ST2000LX001
If you want to significantly speed up your old laptop without losing storage space, then the best option would be to purchase an SSD drive.
HDD, in turn, through a special adapter can be installed instead of an optical drive. But what if the latter is not available on a laptop and there is not enough money to buy a solid state with 2 TB? Then you need to buy the “hybrid” ST2000LX001.
This is one of the best laptop storage devices, which like larger models is equipped with 8 GB of flash memory. In general, the manufacturer’s range has a similar device without an SSD, but if you save about 15-20 percent of the price, the user will noticeably lose speed.
the ST2000LX001 exhibits a maximum sequential read and write of about 125-135 MB / s. For comparison, the alternative from the Momentus line with a spindle speed of 7200 against 5400 rpm is limited to 115-120 MB / s.
- compact size
- optimal capacity
- high speed of work
- reliability and practicality in the work
- noise level up to 24 dB.
The best hard drives for a laptop
If you are looking for a desktop storage device, then the range of suitable products will be very extensive. However, there are fewer options available for laptops and their prices are usually higher.
It is also worth noting that 2.5-inch hard drives usually carry a heavy load, they can be subject to shock and shaking. Hence, the reliability of such devices must be impeccable.
As for the capacity, it depends on your preferences. For this reason, we have selected the three of the best models of 500GB, as well as 1TB and 2TB.
1. Western Digital WD Black 500 GB (WD5000LPLX)
So, I will move on the growth of volume. The high-performance Black WD Series compact hard drive is one of the best options for buyers with moderate budget and space requirements.
As experience shows, 500 GB is enough for users who are not fans of computer games. Here, the large capacity is quickly clogged with movies, TV shows, and other files “just in case”.
The WD5000LPLX is based on a single magnetic plate and is equipped with two reading heads. Thanks to this, the manufacturer was able to achieve a low noise level during operation and idle time, not exceeding 23 and 25 dB, respectively.
Under static conditions, the disc can withstand shocks of up to 1000 G, and during activity – up to 400 G. The linear speed of the Western Digital HDD, according to the manufacturer, is about 116 MB / s.
- the access speed is about 13 ms
- affordable price below $50
- low noise and reliability
- Manufacturer’s warranty for 5 years.
2. Seagate ST1000LM049
This hard drive is the best option if you need 1TB of storage. The ST1000LM049 uses a dynamic bearing motor for the quietest possible operation. The access time tracking path (between songs) for this model is only 0.5ms, and the average latency is about 11ms.
When reading and writing, the drive consumes no more than 1.9 and 1.7 W of energy, and in standby mode, the value drops to 0.7 W.
The manufacturer claims an MTBF of 1 million hours and a permissible overload of 400 G (not more than 2 ms) for active device. The Seagate ST1000LM049 buffer has a capacity of 128 MB and the data transfer rate on the hard disk is 160 MB / s.
- self-diagnostics through the SeaTools software
- perpendicular recording heads
- reliability and quiet operation of the engine
- disaster recovery algorithms
- write speed up to 160 MB per second
- warms noticeably
- sometimes clicks at work.
3. Western Digital WD Blue Mobile 2 TB (WD20SPZX)
The review continues with the Western Digital hard drive from the Blue Mobile line. WD20SPZX is the perfect solution if you work with large projects, enjoy playing modern games that take up a lot of space on your laptop, or enjoy watching movies in 4K resolution. The volume of 2 terabytes is sufficient not only for a specific task but also for all of them combined.
Winchester WD is distinguished by its reliability, for which modern technology deserves credit. In particular, high-strength aluminum is used here, which makes the drive housings resistant to mechanical loads and a fixed shaft in the motor, which also increases the durability of the hard drive.
The Californian manufacturer produces its hard drives in its own factories in China, Taiwan, and Malaysia, equipped with the latest technologies.
Therefore, you can choose WD Blue Mobile not only for laptops but also for use in external devices and even in a number of industrial systems. The spindle speed of the WD20SPZX is 5400 rpm (up to 149 MB / s).
- low energy consumption
- turns off when inactive
- speed, both for its class
- thin and well built.
- bursting even at low activity.
The best server hard drives
Buying a home device and a server device are two completely different tasks. In the first case, problematic, unstable operation and even damage will be unpleasant but are unlikely to create serious problems for the user. But the failure of the hard disk in the server can lead to complete loss of data and as a result to serious losses for the company.
Poor performance, in turn, will not allow the processing of a large number of requests, and the slow response will make you wait a long time to process requests. In the final category, we have hand-picked the best reviewed hard drives, whose reliability, stability, and speed allow us to recommend them for installation on servers.
1. Seagate ST1000NM0008
The third line in the ranking of the best hard drives is occupied by the model from the Seagate brand. The best choice for the ST1000NM0008 will be if you need to organize a server in your home or small office.
This is a relatively inexpensive solution (about $100) with a capacity of 1000 GB. The MTBF announced by the manufacturer for this model is 2 million hours, and its operating temperature varies from 5 to 60 degrees.
The official manufacturer’s warranty for ST1000NM0008 is 5 years, which allows you to have no doubts about the reliability of the device. Like other modern models, the device is based on the SATA 3 interface with a maximum allowable speed of 6 Gb / s. But, of course, you will not get such numbers in the Seagate device. The read/write speed announced by the manufacturer is 216 MB / s. In fact, the maximum is about 180 MB / s.
- almost no noise during operation
- long warranty from Seagate
- good speed
- quality of materials
- value for money
- the declared speeds are too high.
2. Western Digital WD Red 4 TB (WD40EFRX)
WD Red was once the world’s first hard drive designed specifically for use in the home and office of NAS. A distinctive feature of the “red” series is the increased reliability and optimized software for server storage. The WD40EFRX model has a capacity of 4000 GB and can be used in groups of 1-8 disks or in computer RAID arrays.
In the inactive state, a good hard drive from the WD Red series can be stored at temperatures from minus 40 to plus 70 degrees, as well as withstand loads up to 250 G. The maximum operating temperature is 65 degrees and impact resistance is 65 G.
Concerning the transfer rate, the manufacturer declares it at 175 MB / s. In practice, if you read sequentially, you can get the result only 5-7 MB / slower.
- fast cache memory (430 MB / s)
- reliability and durability
- moderate heating of the drive
- floating speed of rotation
- redesigned firmware for NASware
3. Western Digital Ultrastar DC HC310 4 TB (HUS726T4TALE6L4)
If we talk about which hard drive is better, then the opinions of experts and users on this issue may differ. However, the DC HC310 from Western Digital is more likely than competitors to receive positive feedback from buyers.
Like the previous model, its capacity is 4 TB. But the rotation speed and the volume of the buffer memory increased to 7200 rpm and 256 MB, respectively.
In the reviews, the HDD is highly praised for its speed. If we talk about the read access time and the hall, then the average for HUS726T4TALE6L4 is 8 and 8.6 ms, respectively, and the typical delays only slightly exceed 4 ms.
The drive is noisily higher than conventional models (maximum about 36 dB), so it can be heard well during activity, and together with other similar discs can now create noticeable sound.
- MTBF of 2 million hours
- speed and access time indicators
- the cache size is larger than that of its competition
- operating temperatures and low heating.
- the noise level is above average.
Which HDD should you buy?
Hard drives seem to perform a minimum of functions, but much depends on their operation. That’s why it’s important to choose the best hard drive for your computer or laptop.
It is also worth considering server solutions where the Western Digital brand is leading. It also offers the best 2TB HDD for laptops.
In the hybrid arena, however, there are no alternatives to Seagate products. In addition, the company’s range includes both compact solutions and full-size options.