If you’re looking to supersize your storage, then upgrade your PC or NAS drive with our pick of the best high-capacity HDDs
The ever-decreasing price of SSDs means that traditional hard disks are less universal than they once were. However, as media libraries grow larger, and 4K video becomes commonplace, there’s still very much a role for affordable, high-capacity storage.
The question is, which hard drive should you buy? Does performance matter, or should you just go for the cheapest model? Here’s our verdict on the five major hard disk models from the two industry giants (namely Western Digital and Seagate).
How to buy the best hard disk for you
Should I buy an HDD or an SSD?
Nowadays, if you’re buying a hard disk it’s most likely as secondary storage for a desktop system. Under all circumstances we’d recommend using an SSD as your system drive: the performance difference is simply too good to miss out on.
What if you’re using a laptop, or a compact PC that only has space for one drive? In that case, your best bet is to equip it with the largest SSD you can afford. Or, go with a modest solid-state system drive and use an external hard disk, NAS drive or cloud storage for your personal files. In this feature we’ll focus mostly on high-capacity 3.5in desktop drives.
How many terabytes do I need?
A terabyte is a hell of a lot of storage – it’s enough to store around 285,000 songs in MP3 format, or around three million Word documents. There’s a good chance that if you tot up all the files on your computer, and tucked away in various cloud storage services, they’ll come to much less than a terabyte.
That doesn’t mean you’ll never need more, however. Big collections of digital photos and media libraries are eating up space, especially with the rise of 4K video – and as working from home becomes more popular you might end up with big document archives to look after as well. You might also want to keep backups of your downloaded installers, now that games and applications no longer come on physical media.
So it makes sense to give yourself plenty of headroom, and make sure that you won’t have to go through the hassle of expanding your storage again in a year or two. As a rough guide we’d suggest that 2TB ought to be enough to cover modest storage needs for the foreseeable future: more hardcore users should consider going up to 4TB.
The best internal hard disks to buy
Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012 500GB 5400 RPM 16MB Cache
- Brand: Seagate
- Product Type: Internal hard disk
- Capacity: 500GB
- Interface: SATA 3Gb/s
- Operational Temperature: 60 degree Celsius
- Spindle Rotation Speed: 5400RPM
- Dimensions: 100 x 70 x 7 mm
Great Storage Space with Good Buffer Memory
Upgrade the performance of your laptop, notebook or PS3 with the Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012. With a storage capacity of 500GB, this hard disk lets you conveniently store all your media and digital files on your laptop. It features a 5400RPM spindle rotation speed for quick and efficient processing. Moreover, this hard ware runs on the SATA 3GB/s platform. Not just the storage capacity, the Momentus 500GB hard disk offers good buffer memory too. With the cache memory of 16MB, it facilitates quick booting.
Lightweight Hard Disk for Convenient Computing
This Seagate hard disk is one of the best hardware accessories to own for the ones who do memory-intensive work on their devices. With height of 7mm, the hard disk is thin and compatible with most laptops, notebooks and PS3 players. Thus, you can get it for your personal device and enhance its performance, considerably. It features an operational temperature of 60 degree Celsius. The Momentus 2.5 internal drive by Seagate comes with the assurance of durability to back the good performance of the hard disk.
Toshiba 1TB Desktop 7200rpm Internal Hard Drive
- Extended-capacity hard drive with up to 3TB of storage
- Compatible with Windows Mac and Linux
- Intelligent Serial ATA interface ensures compatibility with most major brands of Serial ATA enabled laptop PCs
- Native Command Queuing (NCQ) support enhances seek-time performance
- Internal shock detection and ramp-loading technology help protect your drive and data. Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) technology offers higher capacities, excellent reliability and robustness
Toshiba’s P300 Desktop 3.5-inch internal hard drive offers all the capacity you need—up to 3TB (1)—plus advanced performance, drive and data protection and rock-solid reliability from a name you can trust.
Think of the minutes you’d save if you could crack open files that much quicker. Imagine the extra fun you’d have with less waiting for videos, music or slideshows. And game chapters loading faster? How great is that? A new internal hard drive in your PC may be just the ticket.
Put more drive in your desktop
Boost performance and extend your PC storage capacity—up to 3TB (1) — with the reliable and rock-solid P300 Desktop internal hard drive.
hard disk 1tb laptop wd internal
|Item Weight||440 g|
|Product Dimensions||14.7 x 10.2 x 2.5 cm|
|Item model number||WD10EZEX-60WN4A0|
|RAM Size||1 GB|
|Memory Storage Capacity||1 TB|
|Flash Memory Installed Size||1 TB|
|Computer Memory Type||DDR3 SDRAM|
|Digital Storage Capacity||1 TB|
|Hard Drive Size||1 TB|
|Hard Drive Interface||Serial ATA|
|Hard Disk Rotational Speed||7200 RPM|
|Hardware Interface||SATA 6.0 Gb/s|
|Buffer Size||64 MB|
|Included Components||Hard Drive|
|Screen Size||3.5 Inches|
|Audio Wattage||3 Watts|
|Data Transfer Rate||750 megabytes_per_second|
- Upgrade and backup with ease
- Future-proof storage
- Improve PC performance
- 1TB capacity
- 3.5-inch internal hard drive
- 64MB buffer size
- 7200 RPM Class
Boost your PC storage with WD Blue drives, the brand designed just for desktop and all-in-one PCs. The WD Blue family now delivers data storage capacities up to 6 TB.
Trust in WD: If you know WD, you know our reliability is legendary. Every WD Blue drive is designed, tested and built to last, and ships with a 2-year limited warranty.
NoTouch Ramp Load Technology: Safely positions the recording head off the disk surface to protect your data.
Data LifeGuard: Advanced algorithms monitor your drive continuously so it stays in optimum health.
IntelliSeek: Calculates optimum seek speeds to lower power consumption, noise and vibration.
Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD
|Item Height||20 Millimeters|
|Item Width||14.7 Centimeters|
|Item Weight||358 g|
|Product Dimensions||10.2 x 14.7 x 2 cm|
|Item model number||ST2000DM005|
|Hard Drive Size||2 TB|
|Hard Drive Interface||Serial ATA|
|Hardware Platform||Desktop or all-in-one PCs|
|Included Components||1 HDD|
- Versatile HDDs for all your PC needs bring you industry-leading excellence in personal computing
- Advanced Power modes help save energy without sacrificing performance
- SATA 6Gb/s interface optimizes burst performance
- Capacities up to 8TB for desktops, BarraCuda leads the market with the widest range of storage options available
- For over 20 years the BarraCuda family has delivered super-reliable storage for the hard drive industry
Seagate BarraCuda 3.5-inch 2TB HDD desktop, versatile HDDs for all your PC needs bring you industry-leading excellence in personal computing.
Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5-inch Internal Hard Drive
- Cache: 64 MB, Interface: SATA 6Gb/s, Capacity: 2TB, Desktop storage, all-in-one storage, home servers, DAS devices
- All hard drives in the BarraCuda family come equipped with Multi-Tier Caching Technology (MTC)
- Fast, versatile, durable. The fiercest hard drive you've ever met
- The BarraCuda family of reliable hard drives is here to stay, for years to come
- This drive is an excellent solution for taking your external hard drive to the next level or bumping up the storage on your all-in-one or slim PC
Versatile and dependable, Seagate’s fierce new BarraCuda drives are inspired by the past but ready for the future. BarraCuda drives are a cost – effective way to handle all your PC needs – working, playing storing your movies and music, and more.
For over 20 years, the BarraCuda family has delivered ultra-reliable storage for the hard drive industry. BarraCuda drives even feature Self-Encrypting Drive (SED) technology to prevent data breaches. Certain models also offer Seagate Secure* hardware-based data security with Instant Secure Erase for easy drive retirement.
*Seagate Secure models are not available in all countries. May require TCG-compliant host or controller support.
Western Digital HDD WD10EZEX 1TB SATA 6Gb/s Desktop 7200rpm 64MB Cache Bare Drive
- SINGLE BULK PACK WD Caviar Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB SATA 7200RPM 6 Gb/s Internal 3.5-inch Desktop Hard Drive
- WD Caviar Blue SATA hard drives deliver solid performance and reliability
- The 1 TB capacity provides you with all the space you need to hold an enormous amount of photos, videos, and files which makes them a perfect solution for family and business computing.
SINGLE BULK PACK WD Caviar Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB SATA 7200RPM 6 Gb/s Internal 3.5-inch Desktop Hard Drive. WD Caviar Blue SATA hard drives deliver solid performance and reliability. The 1 TB capacity provides you with all the space you need to hold an enormous amount of photos, videos, and files which makes them a perfect solution for family and business computing.
Western Digital Western Digital20EZRZ 2TB Internal Hard Drive (Blue)
|Item Height||26 Millimeters|
|Item Width||10.2 Centimeters|
|Item Weight||599 g|
|Product Dimensions||14.7 x 10.2 x 2.6 cm|
|Batteries:||1 A batteries required.|
|Item model number||WD20EZRZ|
|RAM Size||2 GB|
|Computer Memory Type||DDR3 SDRAM|
|Hard Drive Size||2 TB|
|Hard Drive Interface||USB 1.1|
|Lithium Battery Energy Content||1 Watt Hours|
|Lithium battery Voltage||5 Volts|
|Lithium battery Weight||25 Grams|
- Upgrade and backup with ease
- Future-proof storage
- Improve PC performance
- 2TB capacity, Compatibility: Note: Compatibility may vary depending on user’s hardware configuration and operating system, Acronis True Image WD Edition designed to work with Windows systems only
- 3.5-inch internal hard drive. 64MB buffer size
WD expands their award-winning desktop and mobile storage line-up with WD Blue PC hard drives. Extensively tested and built to WD’s high standards, WD Blue offers a wide variety of capacities – ranging from 250 GB to the massive 6 TB – in both desktop and mobile models. Drive WD Blue with confidence – our colours never fade. Boost your PC storage with WD Blue drives, the brand designed specifically for desktop and all-in-one PCs. The WD Blue family now delivers data storage capacities up to 6 TB.
Customers around the world know that WD’s reliability is legendary. Every WD Blue drive is designed, tested and built to last and each ships with a 2-year limited warranty. WD Blue storage is tested and recommended for use in desktop and All-in-One PCs, notebooks and external enclosures. Desktop / Consumer RAID Environments – WD Blue PC Hard Drives are tested and recommended for use in consumer-type RAID applications.
Western Digital Caviar Green 1 TB Desktop Internal Hard Drive
- 1 TB CAPACITY
- 2 YR WARRANTY BY COMPANY
- 64 MB CACHE
- ONE OF THE BEST DRIVE IN DESKTOP SEGMENT
- COOL QUIET OPERATION
Computer hard drives allow you to store data, information, software, movies, music and much more. It is an integral part of the computer system and is a must have to ensure smooth running of the computer system. So, if you are looking for a suitable hard drive for your computer device, then you must avail the WD Caviar Green 1 TB Desktop Internal Hard Drive. This hard drive is equipped with all the necessary features that are required. So, before you shop for this product online, here is a quick look at all the features.
Key features of the WD Caviar Green 1 TB Desktop Internal Hard Drive
- This WD hard drive is conveniently designed and sports a sleek frame and measures 3.5 inches
- This hard drive comes with the GreenPower Technology and it allows the drive to operate in cooler conditions with increased reliability
- The best part about this hard drive is that its does not require the aid of additional fans and there is also no increased power consumption
- This Hard drives not only uses less power but it also supports quieter running desktops
- The next generation technologies like IntelliSeek, strikes a perfect balance when it comes to performance and power
- This hard drive is also very reliable and the advanced 4K HDD formatting makes it a perfect solution for all your storage needs
- This WD internal hard drive comes with 1 TB storage capacity and has SATA 6.0 Gbps Interface
- The best part about this internal hard drive is that its can be easily installed in your desktop computer
- This WD internal hard drive also comes with easy upgrade features
Western Digital Caviar Green 2 TB Desktop WD Internal Hard Drive
|Data Transfer Rate||6.0 gigabytes_per_second|
|Included Components||Seagate SkyHawk Model No. ST2000VX008 2TB Surveillance Hard Disk Drive 1Pcs.|
|Is Assembly Required?||false|
|Item Weight||499.0 grams|
|Number of Items||1|
|Special Features||Seagate SkyHawk 2TB Surveillance Hard Disk Drive 1Pcs , 2TB HDD is 3.5 inch HDD interface with SATA 6GB/s and 64 Cache (MB) , Lower Power Consumption, Reliability in Surveillance Solutions , High Quality Branded Product|
- Seagate SkyHawk Model No. ST2000VX008 2TB Surveillance Hard Disk Drive 1Pcs.
- HDD Description: Seagate SkyHawk 2TB HDD is 3.5 inch HDD interface with SATA 6GB/s and 64 Cache (MB). Image Perfect firmware supports 24×7 surveillance-optimized workloads tuned to record about 90% of the time and play back video footage the remaining 10%, and supports more cameras recording at higher resolutions than traditional drives.
- Lower power consumption means a reduction in heat emissions, which improves reliability in surveillance solutions. Tarnish-resistant components help protect drive from environmental elements, increasing field reliability. Best-Fit Applications are Network Video Recorders (NVR), Embedded Surveillance DVRs (SDVR), Hybrid Surveillance DVRs, and Surveillance DVRs.
- Workload rating of 180TB/year allows SkyHawk to perform reliably in write-intensive surveillance system. It implies 3x the workload rating of a desktop-class drive. ATA streaming support sustains recordings from up to 64 HD cameras for smooth, uninterrupted footage. NVR-ready design allows drives to maintain performance in RAID and multi-drive systems, giving customers the flexibility to grow with the booming NVR market and scale their systems when more storage is needed.
Seagate SkyHawk Model No. ST2000VX008 2TB Surveillance Hard Disk Drive 1Pcs. HDD Description: Seagate SkyHawk 2TB HDD is 3.5 inch HDD interface with SATA 6GB/s and 64 Cache (MB). Image Perfect firmware supports 24×7 surveillance-optimized workloads tuned to record about 90% of the time and play back video footage the remaining 10%, and supports more cameras recording at higher resolutions than traditional drives.
Lower power consumption means a reduction in heat emissions, which improves reliability in surveillance solutions. Tarnish-resistant components help protect drive from environmental elements, increasing field reliability. Best-Fit Applications are Network Video Recorders (NVR), Embedded Surveillance DVRs (SDVR), Hybrid Surveillance DVRs, and Surveillance DVRs. Workload rating of 180TB/year allows SkyHawk to perform reliably in write-intensive surveillance system. It implies 3x the workload rating of a desktop-class drive. ATA streaming support sustains recordings from up to 64 HD cameras for smooth, uninterrupted footage.
NVR-ready design allows drives to maintain performance in RAID and multi-drive systems, giving customers the flexibility to grow with the booming NVR market and scale their systems when more storage is needed. 1 Year warranty of HDD. (Physical Damage and Burning are not covering in warranty.)
WD Purple 3TB Internal Hard Drive
- Improve performance with AllFrame for upto 32 HD cameras
- Surveillance storage for peace-of-mind
- 3TB capacity
- 3.5-inch internal hard drive
- 64MB buffer size
- 3 years warranty from the date of purchase
WD Purple surveillance storage is built for 24/7 always-on surveillance in high-definition security systems that use up to eight hard drives and up to 32 cameras. The exclusive AllFrame technology works with ATA streaming to reduce error pixilation and video interruptions that occur when desktop hard drives are incorrectly used as storage in security systems.
It’s very hard to determine a single best top pick amongst all internal laptop and desktop hard drives, because of their vast diversity. Some of them are manufactured for NAS, some for backup or surveillance systems. For more options, go to our separate best internal hard drive top list, or check out the fastest internal HDD list for the best-performing consumer hard drives currently available.
To find the best internal hard drive, you definitely must know where you will put it and use it, which is why we built our list from what we consider to be the best 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives for various uses. We focused on the fastest and most reasonably priced drives for each category, so most drives on this list are 7200RPM hard drives. You’ll find all of the important specifications for all hard drives on our top list, as well as an explanation for all of those specs after the list.
How we picked the best HDDs
Customer reviews on major retailer sites represent reliability via real-life user experience rather than just numbers provided by the manufacturer. This was the first step in picking the best internal hard drives for our list as all other characteristics become irrelevant if the drive breaks a day after its warranty ends.
We also looked at Backblaze data and other similar sources to determine the most reliable brands and drives. Cloud backup companies can offer a massive amount of hard drive reliability data because they have thousands of hard drives running non-stop all the time.
We looked at various benchmarks from users and other reviewers, but our main focus was UserBenchmarks. Their benchmark results, aggregated from hundreds if not thousands of users, are more objective than separate speed measurements, and they also give us a unified platform on which to compare the drives to one another. A thing worth noting is that UserBenchmarks’ results are usually lower than those of separate benchmarks.
Sequential read/write speeds of fastest capacity model in series
Internal hard drive performance
The speed of HDD data transfer is one of the most important factors you need to look at before buying a hard drive. Capacity is displayed upfront and you can at least roughly tell how much you’ll need but transfer speeds and even spindle speeds often remain as under-the-hood characteristics. Regardless, to improve the overall performance of your PC/laptop, you need a fast hard drive, since your whole system is almost always as slow as its slowest component and that component is often times the hard drive.
But what exactly do we mean by speed and how does it affect how fast a computer is? Well, there are two main speeds that can be attributed to HDDs, them being spindle speed and data read/write speed.
Hard drive spindle speed, 5400RPM, vs 7200RPM
This is the most basic core characteristic of a hard drive’s performance. It describes how many Revolutions Per Second (RPM) the drive’s platters can achieve. This correlates to how quickly the mechanical parts (drive platters and read/write needle) can interact to locate the data you want to read and how quickly data will be written on the drive platters (more on that later).
The two most widespread spindle speed standards are 5400RPM and 7200RPM, both of which have a respective data transfer speed range you can expect from such a drive. You can find various other standards, like 5900RPM and 10000RPM but these are much rarer than the previous two. The price difference between the two spindle speeds is much smaller than the RPM difference – you can expect to pay $10-20 on average more for a 7200RPM drive than a regular 5400RPM one.
Because of technical reasons, like aerodynamics, centrifugal forces, etc. faster spinning drives can hold fewer platters, so finding 2.5-inch 7200RPM drives with higher capacities is more difficult than finding 3.5-inch ones. What might also concern you is the extra energy needed to spin the platters at higher speeds, meaning 7200RPM drives will always use more energy than 5400RPM drives, and will more likely than not be a bit noisier. However, the extra energy usage might add less than a dollar to your yearly energy bill, so whether this is an important enough trade-off is up to you to decide.
Hard drive data transfer speed
This is the much more complicated performance metric of a hard drive that depends on many smaller and larger factors. Data transfer speeds or read/write speeds represent the amount of data that a hard drive can deliver to the computer via its interface. These speeds are usually measured in megabytes per second (MB/s), not to be confused with megabits per second (Mb/s, Mbps). Both values represent data speeds, however, 1 byte = 8 bits, so the same measurement in megabits will result in an 8-times larger number (like the math between inches and feet).
In a magnetic hard disk drive, a read/write needle has to seek out the place on the drive’s platters where data has to be either read from or can be written to. The read/written data is sent to/from the computer through the drive’s controller, which decodes signals from both sides so that the HDD and the computer can “understand each other”. The seeking, decoding/encoding, and many other forms of latency add up, making, let’s say, one megabyte of data to be transferred more slowly. The time it takes for it to be transferred can be measured precisely by sending set amounts of data in a controlled manner and measuring how long it takes to transfer them.
You may have heard about sequential and random (4k) read/write speeds being mentioned here and there, but what are they exactly?
Sequential speeds determine how quickly a long, continuous (sequential) string of data can be read/written.
Random read/write speeds represent how quickly tons of randomly placed, small (usually 4 kilobyte or 4k) files can be read/written.
The difference between the two is huge – sequential speeds are usually measured in hundreds of megabytes, while random speeds of even 7200RPM hard disk drives rarely exceed 5MB/s. This is because moving the mechanical parts between multiple positions is much more time-consuming than having them move in one “line”. Random speeds correlate to loading games or operating systems, where tons of smaller configuration and source files have to be loaded, while sequential speeds are equal to moving large movies or documents to/from the hard drive.
Although the former will likely be the more accurate representation of real-life performance, there are many more minuscule factors that can add up and drastically change this speed between different benchmarks. However, in broad strokes, if a drive has high sequential speeds, it will most likely have fast random access as well. Seeing how random speeds of HDDs are much more difficult to pin down to a certain number, we, as all other reviewers, will focus only on sequential speeds.
As we mentioned before, you can generally expect100-130MB/s from 5400RPM drives and 150-200MB/s from 7200RPM drives, but these values can vary a lot between different computers, different software, and even different units of the same drive. Most of the time manufacturers won’t display any estimates since real-life benchmarks can differ a whole lot from idealized benchmarks. These speeds are often displayed on newer OSs when you paste large amounts of data on a drive but are measured much more precisely and reliably via third-party benchmark software, like CrystalDiskMark.