Help Me Choose: Hard Drives

The hard drive is where the operating system, software applications, files and data are stored on a PC.
Traditional hard drives are classified by speed; the higher the revolutions per minute (rpm), the faster you can access your data.
Alienware™ offers different types of hard drives:
  • Raid 0 hard drives are two drives of equal capacity that are linked to form a new, larger hard drive. Two 500GB drives in a RAID 0 configuration can give you 1,000GB, or 1TB, of capacity. Files are broken into two parts, each part being stored on one of the drives in a process known as striping. This means when you access a file, each drive only needs to retrieve half the data, helping to speed up retrieval times.
  • RAID 1 hard drives have two drives of equal capacity that are linked to mirror each other. This does not give you an additional storage space. But, when a file is saved, a copy of that file is placed on both drives. The copy acts as a backup in case one of your hard drives fails. So, two 500GB* drives in a RAID 1 configuration still give you 500GB of capacity.
  • RAID 1+0 hard drives are four drives that are linked in a combination of RAID 0 and RAID 1 configurations. Four 500GB drives in a RAID 1+0 configuration can give you 1TB* of capacity. These give the benefits of both increased performance and data backup. 
  • Solid-state drives (SSDs) use flash memory as opposed to spinning platters and, therefore, do not have speed ratings. However, flash memory technology significantly outperforms even 10,000 rpm traditional hard drives in both read and write speeds. Also, because flash memory requires no moving parts, SSDs run quiet and cool and can consume less energy. SSDs can also be more stable because, unlike traditional drives, they do not have heads and platters — parts that can be damaged by falls or other physicals shocks.
  • The 500GB Seagate® Momentus® XT solid-state hybrid drive combines a traditional 7,200 rpm hard drive with a 4GB solid-state cache to achieve performance levels of up to 5,400 rpm, 7,200 rpm and 10,000 rpm drives, though not as high as solid-state drives. The drive’s Adaptive Memory™ technology can track which files and programs you open most often, and then stores a copy of the file in the 4GB solid-state cache, enabling faster launch and retrieval times. The drive is designed to improve in performance as it learns the most commonly accessed files. As new files are accessed more frequently, they too will be added to the solid-state cache by the drive’s Adaptive Memory technology. Files that are no longer accessed with the same frequency are removed from the cache the same way. Files stored on the cache are copies only and, therefore, a file being removed from the cache does not mean the file is being removed from the drive itself.

How Big Should I Go?

Average File Size*






1000GB* (1TB)

1500GB* (1.5TB)

2000GB* (2TB)


4MB per 4-minute song

Up to 62,000 songs

Up to 80,000 songs

Up to 125,000 songs

Up to 160,000 songs

Up to 187,000 songs

Up to 250,000 songs

Up to 375,000 songs

Up to 500,000 songs

Video (HD)

8.3GB per hour

Up to 30 hours

Up to 38 hours

Up to 60 hours

Up to 75 hours

Up to 90 hours

Up to 120 hours

Up to 180 hours

Up to 240 hours

Photos (JPEG)

3.5MB per 6 MP image

Up to 71,000 images

Up to 91,000 images

Up to 142,000 images

Up to 180,000 images

Up to 213,000 images

Up to 285,000 images

Up to 425,000 images

Up to 570,000 images

DVD Quality Movies
(1.5-hour length)

2.2GB per hour

Up to 66 movies

Up to 94 movies

Up to 133 movies

Up to 185 movies

Up to 200 movies

Up to 260 movies

Up to 440 movies

Up to 560 movies

Note: The system you are customizing may not have all the options listed above.