By Mark Knapp
The best hard drives may not be as fast as the best SSDs, but they’re certainly more affordable. Plus, the best hard drives feature huge amounts of storage space at a bargain, rather than charging you an arm and a leg for a glorified flash drive. You won’t find the best hard drives in the best Ultrabooks, but they’re definitely capacious.
Picking out the best hard drive will ultimately depend on what you need it for. For the best laptops and game consoles, you’re going to want to pick up a 2.5-inch or external hard drive. But, if you’re looking for some archival storage for the best gaming PCs, you’re going to want to go for the fastest and most capacious hard drive you can find. We know, it’s confusing, but we’ve done all the heavy lifting and have brought you this list of the best hard drives. No matter what you need to do, you’ll find the best hard drive for your needs right here.
Seagate’s BarraCuda lineup is the indisputable face of the best hard drives. And, it’s not without good reason – they offer a great ratio of gigabyte per dollar and speed benefits to top it off. The 2TB model hits a sweet spot by balancing high performance and affordability. Since this drive combines 7,200rpm platters and high density data, computers outfitted with this drive will be able to read data extra fast.
Toshiba is a huge name in computing. Even if its laptops aren’t as popular as they once were, it has a lot to offer in the component market. When it comes to hard drives, the Toshiba X300 is a high-capacity, high-performance champ worth taking a look at. The X300 drives boast great gigabyte-to-dollar value without sacrificing on the performance side. These drives all spin at 7,200RPM and include 128MB of cache for fast operation. The only downside is the warranty only lasts two years, which feels short for a drive meant to store so much important data.
When it comes to PC gaming, speed is everything. So, for anyone resisting the allure of an SSD, and looking to kick it old school with one of the best hard drives, it’s time for something that spins just a bit faster. And, with the WD VelociRaptor and its insane 10,000rpm spin speed, you’re going to want to pay attention to it. With capacities up to 1TB available, the VelociRaptor drives are ready to store large game libraries, ad the super fast platters will help those games launch and load quickly.
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Seagate FireCuda
Western Digital offers a solid bargain with its line of WD Blue hard drives. With a wide variety of storage options from a small 500GB to a capacious 6TB, the WD Blue is a viable pick for almost any type of PC build that’s sticking to a budget. The best value comes from the larger drives – they’ll give you much more storage per dollar spent. And, if you’re looking for a bit more speed, there are also 7,200rpm models available that don’t come with too much of a price hike.
When it comes to hybrid hard drives that include a small amount of solid-state storage to bump up their speed, there’s virtually no competition against the Seagate FireCuda. The FireCuda can fit up to 2TB of data, and then its 8GB of solid-state storage learns and stores the data you use most frequently to make accessing it even faster. That flash storage speed boost is made even sweeter by the fact the hard drive itself is spinning at a fresh 7,200rpm. Tack on a 5-year warranty and a reasonable price tag, and it’s easy to see why this drive is a winner.
It’s a little unfortunate that the Seagate IronWolf NAS drives come at a premium, but they aren’t priced much more expensively than a standard hard drive at their capacity. However, their native NAS optimization makes that premium totally worth it. These drives are capable of running at a fast 7,200rpm spin rate 24/7 without having to worry about drive failure. Really, if you have one of the best NAS devices for your business or home, the Seagate IronWolf NAS really is your best bet.
Upgrading the storage in a laptop in a hard drive can be tough, since they typically require a smaller drive to fit. A lot of the 2.5-inch options aren’t terribly attractive, as anything fast comes with a serious markup, but Seagate’s 2.5-inch FireCuda hybrid drive strikes a nice balance. It offers an easy way to add lots of storage to a laptop while also giving it a speed boost thanks to 8GB of flash storage. A 5-year warranty on the drive will also help ensure it for as long as almost any laptop’s lifespan.
Game consoles hard drives fill up fast with massive libraries. And, like laptops, the upgrade path for 2.5-inch hard drives isn’t all that great, but that’s where an external drive comes in. The WD My Book strikes an amazing balance of storage and price, offering enough room for massive game libraries. Running on USB 3.0, it may not be quite as fast as an internal drive upgrade, but it will run games and offer more storage at a cheaper rate.
As time moves on and the best SSDs become more and more ubiquitous, there are many who are quick to declare the death of the best hard drives. Luckily, devices like the G-Technology G-Drive are here to show these naysayers the life that remains in spinning disks. Not only does this external hard drive offer huge amounts of storage, up to 10TB, but thanks to Thunderbolt 3 compatibility, it can even charge your laptop while you work. If you have a MacBook Pro, it’s hard to think of an external hard drive that would be a better companion.
Read the full review: G-Technology G-Drive