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Selecting a Hard Drive

It seems that each time I say that a computer can't get too much faster and a hard drive can't store too much more data, the chip and storage manufactures humble me by tripling the speed and storage limits of their respective products.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the digital age is truly upon us. Consumers are driving prices down with demands for the latest in technology that continues to change very rapidly! In particular, I have seen a great deal of changes in primary storage. The latest hard disks access data very quickly with the increase of their rotational speeds. With this increased capacity along with faster access speeds comes higher demand for the product, coupled with a great deal of competition creates a very affordable product. But, be smart, only buy what you need or you will be wasting your hard earned money!

In this tip, I would like to help you with your next hard drive purchase decision.

Hard Drive Capacity:

The best way to determine what you need for capacity, is what did you have last? Was it a 10gb hard drive that filled up pretty fast and you had to install a second 20gb hard drive?

You should also determine the time frame involved. Did you have this computer for 2 years? 4 years?

A little common sense will go a long way in determining your next storage capacity requirement after looking at your past capacities and the time it took to fill them.

Specific Needs:
  • If this is to be your first system and you are only interested in surfing the Net and loading a few games and songs here and there, I would recommend going with a 40gb hard drive. This is plenty of capacity for your operating system and tons of reserve space for your files and such. This, being the most common of hard drives today, will be an extremely affordable choice.
     
  • If you are a gamer or a graphics designer, you will probably want a hard drive with at least 80gb of capacity.
     
  • Then there are those of you who enjoy recording movies and songs which require extremely large storage space, you will probably want to purchase a hard drive with 240gb of storage capacity.

When selecting the proper speed that you would like, I have found that there isn't a big enough difference in price between a 5400 rpm and a 7400 rpm hard drive to worry about. Pay the extra money and get the 7400 rpm drive. You'll be much happier with the higher access speed.

Be sure to stick with a brand name, one that has been proven in the industry. Those that I recommend are:

  • Hitachi
  • Maxtor
  • Samsung
  • Seagate
  • Western Digital

Lastly, before making your final decision on a manufacture. Check the warranty. I have seen warranties that provide coverage for as long as 3 years.

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