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The Hard Drive Buyers Guide

Written By: Steve Jones

As home computers become more advanced, and our uses for them become more complex, the need for higher performance and capacity hard drives increases. It is now possible to choose hard drives with vastly different capacities and rotational speeds, making things more confusing for the consumer.

Thankfully for consumers the hard drive market is extremely competitive and the price at which a high capacity hard drive can be bought is quite astounding. Now that broadband internet is common place, with more and more people downloading music and movies, the need for high specification hard drives has never been greater.

When choosing a new hard drive it is important to consider What you use your computer for. Thos who just use their home pc for basic requirements such as word processing and surfing the internet will not need to spend as much on their hard drive as someone who may use music applications or lots of games. When buying a hard drive also try and anticipate any future requirements also.

Lets consider the following hard drive specifications:

1)Capacity

2)Rotational speed

3)Buffer size and transfer rates

In terms of capacity, hard drives can range from 30 – 300 GB. 40 GB hard drives are fairly standard these days. If all you will be using your PC for is to run a few basic software applications and games then this will provide you with plenty of space. But as most people these days are generally also using their home computer to store lots of music, videos and photos, I would strongly recomend buying something between 60 – 120 GB capacity. With hard drives being relatively cheap these days it is better to buy something that will continue to provide storage in the future, than go for a smaller option now and have to upgrade sooner.

The second factor we really need to consider is the rotational speed of the hard drives. This has become a big selling point for manufacturers. The speed is measured in revolutions per minute and you will find figures such as 5400RPM, 7200RPM, 10000RPM, 15000RPM quoted by the hard drive manufacturers. Hard drives work by reading information from rotating magnetic platters as they rotate, hence the faster the rotating speed, the quicker the information is read. There is a down side to faster rotating speeds though, and that is wear and tear. The faster a hard drive spins the quicker it will wear out and it will also be more vulnerable to crashes. Rotational speed is really important, so if your going to be using your PC for music or gaming then you need to buy a 7200RPM drive. If its just for basic usage then a 5400RPM drive will suffice. Again as the price difference between 7200RPM and 540RPM drives is minimal, you may consider opting for the faster speed as this will not need upgrading as soon.

The buffer size and transfer rates will not be of importance to many people, and only need to be considerd by people building dedicated games machines or for high end music applications. The buffer is used as a temporary store for data and the larger the buffer size the better your pc will operate. It is possible to buy hard drives with a buffer size of 8MB. Its best to buy a drive with as large a buffer as you can afford. The same is true for transfer rates, buy the drive with the highest transfer rate that you can afford.

This buyers guide should have covered all the points you need to consider when purchasing your new hard drive, but if you want more information then plenty is avaiable on the internet. For further information please visit http://www.officialharddrive.com
About the Author

Steve jones has worked with computers all his life and now writes for http://www.officialharddrive.com

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