Help Me Choose: Hard Drive

When choosing a hard drive, consider how you currently use a computer and how you plan to use it in the future:

•    If you frequently use multimedia-intensive applications (such as video-editing software and videogames) or store digital photos and MP3 audio files, you’ll want a solid-state drive
•    If you typically use your computer to browse the internet, check email, work on documents, and do light photo editing, you may be fine with a standard hard drive.
•    With Intel® Optane™ memory your computer becomes more responsive to you by memorizing your frequently used commands for a faster, smoother, and easier user experience. Click on the Gaming Performance tab to learn more.

Be sure to plan today for the activities you want to do tomorrow—especially if you plan to use your computer for a couple of years or share it with a family member.

Solid-State Drive (SSD)
  • No moving parts
  • Run quiet and cool
  • Can consume less energy
  • Outperform 10,000 rpm HDDs in read/write speeds

Solid-state drives are similar to the flash-based memory that you find in USB memory devices and have no moving parts, making them more secure and less prone to failure than standard hard drives. Because SSDs have no moving parts, they also don't have speed ratings. This type of drive is great for multimedia that require a lot of space on your drive, as it has a large storage capacity. SSDs also pull your data from the drive faster, meaning you’ll also get faster load times on game maps and other information that’s stored on your hard drive. Available Solid Sate Drive (SSD) options provide longer battery life, quicker responsiveness, quieter performance and improved shock resistance compared to conventional hard drives.

For people on the go, the potential benefits are significant.
  • Improved performance — faster boot times, faster application launches and faster access to all your documents
  • Durability — helps protect your important files from potential drops
  • Longer battery life — lower power consumption by SSDs leads to longer battery life
  • Quieter than standard hard drives
  • Lightweight and cooler than standard hard drives

SSD's come in two different interface's SATA or PCIe. PCIe has up to 4 times the theoretical bandwidth of SATA and is supported by the NVMe host protocol. SSD's come in two form factors, M.2 and 2.5" (SATA only).

Capable of up to 5.3 times the bandwidth of previous generation SATA SSDs. Games, media and everything else you loves loads faster, and gets you into the action sooner.

Standard hard drive (HDD)
  • Moving mechanical parts
  • Speed measured by rpms

Standard hard drives use mechanical parts to write information on to platters or disks. These drives generate heat through moving parts on the inside and are measured by their speed in revolutions per minute (rpms) or how fast the disk spins. These standard hard drives are also sensitive to shock and vibration. This sensitivity can make the drive susceptible to failure or damage. The general rule for standard hard drives is that the more hard drive your computer has, the more files, pictures and documents it can store, and the higher the rpms, the faster data is read and written on the drive.

Intel® Responsiveness Technologies

Wakes fast:
With an optional solid-state drive and Intel® Rapid Start Technology* wakes up within seconds, ready to jump right back into everything you were doing when you closed the lid. This enables it to resume in a flash when you’re ready and ultralow power consumption when you close the lid for standby mode.

Thinks fast: Get fast access to your favorites with an added SSD and Intel® Smart Response Technology*. It quickly recognizes and caches your most frequently used files and applications, allowing you to access them right away.

Dual hard drives (two hard drives) are available on select offerings. If you work with large product files, such as high-resolution photography or video, you'll appreciate the extra storage room. Using an SSD as a boot drive and a standard HDD for capacity is another popular option.

RAID (redundant array of independent disks) is a storage technology that enables data to be divided and replicated across multiple physical drives. The benefit of RAID is that the drives operating in tandem are able to work much faster than a single drive, which can occasionally become a bottleneck for data.

Caching is a system function by which certain data is stored in order to facilitate faster recall when needed. When a CPU or web browser attempts to access a given piece of data such as a file or a website, 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 that can be retrieved from the cache, the more quickly you will be able to access the data you want. Because the cache continually accumulates data over time, it is advisable to clear it periodically in order to manage your 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

*Only available on Alienware Aurora and XPS Tower

Intel® Optane™ Memory accelerates game level-loading on computers with a 7th Gen Intel® Core™ processor for a smooth and seamless gaming experience.

Did you Know?
Adding Intel® Optane™ Memory to a Dell Gaming system increases performance in major areas, providing for the ultimate Gaming experience.

With 16GB Intel® Optane™ Memory:

  • Experience up to 65% improvement loading the next level of your game*
  • Move to the next level during gameplay up to 65% faster*

By adding 32GB Intel® Optane™ Memory, you can experience:

  • Overall system performance up to 31% faster*
  • Everyday tasks are up to 2.1 times more responsive*

Together with a Hard Drive Memory performance up to 21 times faster than just a hard disk drive* plus delivers up to 21 times better storage performance*

Content Creation & Small Business
Intel® Optane™ Memory accelerates your computer’s most frequently used tasks, from system start-up to searching for files fast, so your computer helps you work smarter, not harder.

Did you Know?
By adding 16GB Intel® Optane™ Memory to a Dell system, you could receive major performance enhancements such as:

  • Speed increases up to 14 times faster on everyday tasks when coupled with a hard drive*
  • 5 times faster on a web browser than just a hard disk drive*
  • Powering on your computer faster*
  • Overall system performance up to 28%*
  • Open large media projects up to 4.1 times faster*
  • Launch business applications faster*
  • Games launch up to 67% faster*

 If you... Choose...
Run multiple applications16GB Intel® Optane™ memory
Task switch between applications16GB Intel® Optane™ memory
Often have multiple browser tabs open16GB Intel® Optane™ memory
Run a variety of data intensive applications data files extensively32GB Intel® Optane™ memory
Play multiple mainstream games32GB Intel® Optane™ memory
Use content creation applications and large data files extensively32GB Intel® Optane™ memory

*Based on Intel internal testing using 16GB Intel® Optane™ Memory Engineering Samples.