Within our hard drive category you'll find separate buying guides for internal HDD and external HDD (portable) hard disk drives, together with non-mechanical equivalent SSDs (both internal SSD and external SSD variants).
Mechanical hard drives spin at different rates, with an average speed of 7,200 revolutions per minute (rpm). Faster spinning 10,000 rpm drives are also available, though one of the other major factors on performance is the interface connecting the HDD to the motherboard. Serial ATA (known as SATA) is the industry standard today, with faster 6Gbps (SATA III) ports being the preferred option for best performance.
An SSD does an equivalent job, although it relies upon flash memory chips to retain data, as opposed to less robust mechanical HDDs. Factory shipped latops with SSDs may be installed on the system's motherboard, though in many cases they connect via standard PCI/PCIe expansion slots.
SSD-equipped PCs are able to boot in seconds, access and write data at far higher speeds and load applications in a fracton of the time taken by traditional HDDs.
Our buying guides for internal / external HDD and SSD pages go into more detail on available models, though for anyone upgrading their hard drive, where two drives are used we recommend using a RAID configuration to mirror data (guarding against loss) with a RAID 1 set-up or striping drives to distribute data among two or more drives RAID 0 or RAID 5.
To find out more on RAID set-ups visit: http://www.pcworld.com/article/194360/raid-made-easy.html (external link).
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