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Hard Drives & SSDs

Hard drives are a fundamental component of any computer and are responsible for two very important functions; to store data and to boot the computer on startup. Sluggish computer performance can often be attributed to a hard drive that is nearing its capacity or that has experienced damage, so before you write your computer or laptop off as ‘old’ and in need of replacing, you should first consider upgrading your hard drive.

Here’s a brief overview of the three main styles of SSDs and HDDs available and the benefits and drawbacks of each:

HDD Hard Drives

Hard Disc Drives (HDD) are generally less expensive and feature higher storage capacities than the newer Solid State Disks (SSD). However, HDDs don’t offer the same levels of speed, durability and noise reduction as their newer solid state counterparts due to the presence of the spinning magnetised plates.

The type of HDD that you’ll require will largely depend on your own individual requirements for your computer. Generally, desktop computers require 3.5 inch hard drives whereas laptops normally use 2.5 inch hard drives.

SSD Solid State Drives

Whilst Solid State Drives feature lower storage capacities than traditional Hard Disc Drives, they offer higher levels of performance thanks to their interconnected flash memory chips. As there’s no moving parts SSDs are much quieter than their predecessors and generally offer a higher level of reliability and durability as there’s no mechanical components to get choked up in dust or wear out over time.

SSDs are optimal for operating systems since they are quite fast. SSDs are built with NAND Flash memory and the most common form factors are M.2 SSDs and 2.5 inch SSDs.

External Hard Drives

External Hard Drives are useful for increasing your storage space if you’re not confident in installing either a HDD or SSD into your computer and are also great for carrying larger files in a portable fashion. They are available in both HDD and SSD styles with the later offering increased speed and durability but less capacity and a higher price tag.

Transfer speeds are an important consideration when buying an External Hard Drive as it will largely influence how quickly you can save and export large files from your computer. External Drives featuring USB 2.0 technology will only offer speeds of up to 480 Mbps whereas the newer USB 3.0 equipped models can produce speeds of up to 5Gbps.