Internal hard disk drives (HDD) are storage devices used to back up data from your desktop computer, workstation, laptop, notebook or server.
They can range in capacity from 500GB to 1TB for laptops, all the way up to 6TB for desktops and are most commonly available in 2.5 inch & 3.5 inch forms which use a SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) interface.
3.5 inch hard drives up to 3 terabyte in capacity are typically used with desktop PCs, workstations & servers, while 2.5 inch hard drives are a well-liked choice when upgrading a laptop or a notebook. Being smaller in size they are available in capacity up to 750 GBs.
Aside from adding more memory to an existing laptop / desktop, increasing storage capacity in your computer with a bigger, faster internal hard drive is another popular upgrade path (and a relatively low-cost solution versus buying a whole new PC).
In a desktop PC, you can add a second, third or fourth hard drive to expand your storage capacity, as long as space within the PC case and connectors on your motherboard / power supply allow. On the other hand, in a laptop it's not unusual to be stuck with the factory installed hard drive, unless a DIY upgrade is within your technical capabilities.
When upgrading it’s important to first check which form factor and interface your existing components require, the most common being SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) and SATA (Serial ATA). With traditional hard drives, the reading/writing of data involves spinning mechanical parts (with drive speeds measured in revolutions per minute or RPM). In such cases, the overall cost of a hard-drive is usually a trade-off between storage space / spindle speed and transfer rate.
Generally speaking, lower spindle speed drives (5400 rpm) with a capacity of around 250 GB are entry-level options – often for laptops – and cost in the region of £30.
Higher spinning 7200 RPM choices are often paired with increased capacity of 500 – 750 GB, while 10,000+ models are geared towards more demanding users and enterprise applications (and feature higher cache buffering to hold more active data).
In addition to high capacity drives, users either upgrading their PCs or building from scratch can also opt for lightning fast solid state drives (SSD). In terms of function, they usually connect in a similar way to traditional hard drives (SATA interface) although mechanical read/write components are replaced by non-volatile NAND flash memory, meaning that longevity, durability and performance are usually much improved.
Another recent development are hybrid drives which mix standard hard drives with solid-state memory (their advantage being cost, capacity, and manageability).
For network users, Misco carries a selection of (Network Attached Storage) NAS hard drives that are suitable for both home and business use, while Enterprise Network Drives are available for those requiring storage with a capacity of between 2 and 6 terabytes.
A further useful guide to the various options available can be found at: http://www.cnet.com/topics/storage/buying-guide/
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