Help Me Choose: Hard Drives

The hard drive permanently stores and gives access to the operating system, software applications, files and data on your PC. The hard drive is the only long-term storage on your PC, so it’s a good idea to buy one with more storage capacity than you think you'll need.

Before choosing a hard drive, consider how you’re currently using your system and how you plan to use it in the future:

    •    If you frequently use multimedia-intensive applications or store digital photos and MP3 audio files,
         you’ll  want a solid-state drive.
    •    If you share your PC with a family member or plan on keeping it for a few years, a solid-state drive 
         is also the best option.
    •    If you typically use your computer to browse the internet, check email, work on documents, and do light
         photo editing, you may want a standard hard drive.

Solid-state drive (SSD)

An SSD is available in two different interfaces: SATA or PCIe. PCIe has up to 4 times the theoretical bandwidth of SATA and is supported by the NVMe host protocol.

  • No moving parts
  • Similar to flash-based memory found in USBs
  • More secure and less prone to failure
  • Fast data transfer speeds and load times
  • Runs quiet and cool
  • Consumes less energy
  • Outperforms 10,000 rpm HDDs in read/write speeds
  • Provides longer battery life and improved shock resistance

Benefits of a solid-state drive

  • Better for mobile users
  • Improved performance
  • Durability
  • Lightweight and cooler than standard hard drives

Standard hard drive (HDD)

  • Uses moving mechanical parts to transfer data onto disks
  • Speed measured by rpms
  • Generates heat
  • Sensitive to shock and vibration, prone to damage

Benefits of a standard hard drive

  • The more hard drive storage your computer has, the more files, pictures and documents it can store
  • Higher rpms read and write data faster

Intel® Responsiveness Technologies and hard drives

Wakes fastWith an optional solid-state drive and Intel® Rapid Start Technology, your system is ready to jump back into everything you were doing before you closed your PC. Plus, you’ll enjoy ultralow power consumption in standby mode.
Thinks fastGet fast access to your favorite applications with an SSD and Intel® Smart Response Technology. It recognizes and caches your most frequently used files, allowing you to access them right away.
Renders fastDual hard drives are best if you work with large product files, such as high-resolution photography or video. Using an SSD as a boot drive and a standard HDD for capacity is another popular option. You'll appreciate the extra storage with either configuration.
Multitasks fastRedundant array of independent disks (RAID) is a storage technology that divides and replicates data across multiple physical drives. The drives operate in tandem, so they work much faster than a single drive and prevent data bottlenecks.
Recalls fastCaching stores data for faster recall. When a CPU or web browser attempts to access data, the cache client first checks the cache. If the cache contains the requested data, the client pulls the data from the cache (this is known as a cache hit). The greater the number of requests retrieved from the cache, the faster you’re able to access the data. Because the cache accumulates data over time, it’s best to periodically clear it to manage overall system performance.

How big should I go?Average file size*32GB* 128GB* 256GB*320GB*500GB*640GB*750GB*1,000GB (1TB)*1,500GB (1.5TB)*2,000GB (2TB)*
Music4MB per 4minute songUp to 6,200 songsUp to 31,000 songsUp to 62,000 songsUp to 80,000 songsUp to 125,000 songsUp to 160,000 songsUp to 187,000 songsUp to 250,000 songsUp to 375,000 songsUp to 500,000 songs
Video (HD)8.3GB per hourUp to 3 hoursUp to 15 hoursUp to 30 hoursUp to 38 hoursUp to 60 hoursUp to 75 hoursUp to 90 hoursUp to 120 hoursUp to 180 hoursUp to 240 hours
Photos3.5MB per 6MP imageUp to 7,100 imagesUp to 35,500 imagesUp to 71,000 imagesUp to 91,000 imagesUp to 142,000 imagesUp to 180,000 imagesUp to 213,000 imagesUp to 285,000 imagesUp to 425,000 imagesUp to 570,000 images
DVD-quality moviesNumber of 1.5hr Movies — DVD QualityUp to 6 moviesUp to 33 moviesUp to 66 moviesUp to 94 moviesUp to 133 moviesUp to 185 moviesUp to 200 moviesUp to 260 moviesUp to 440 moviesUp to 560 movies