The 5 Best Internal Hard Drives to Step Up Your Game

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Your gaming skills are only as good as your hardware and the better that is, the better your game will perform. When it comes to hard drives, your PC will reflect the quality of the drive you use. So it is a good idea to invest in one of the best internal hard drives money can buy.

But how can you know which is the best? Should you get an SSD or HDD, what is the difference anyway?

There is a lot to sift through, but knowing the differences and what to look for will help you a lot in your search.

What Is a Hard Drive?

hard drive
Image source: Pexels

Before you even think about buying a hard drive, you first have to understand what a hard drive is.

A hard drive is a piece of hardware that stores all of your digital content. That means your documents, pictures, tunes, memes, computer programs, apps, and most importantly, your game saves. The bigger your hard drive, the more space you will have, and the better your system will run.

Hard drives come in a variety of sizes, but honestly, the bigger, the better. Most nowadays will feature a terabyte or larger storage space. Even one terabyte is a ton of space for you to make use of.

While HDD, or hard disk drive, is still the standard form of a hard drive, you often have to pay attention to the spin speed, or rotations per minute. The faster the disk inside your hard drive spins, the faster your computer can find that file and run it. Typically, hard drives will fall between 5400 RPM and 7200 RPM; you can probably guess which one is faster.

Hard drives can get technical fast, but once you understand the basics, it gets a lot easier.

HDD vs. SSD

Now here is where things get a bit technical. HDD has been the standard in hard drive technology for a while now, but SSD is quickly taking its place as the best of the best. SSD stands for “solid state drive,” which as you can probably guess is a lot different from a hard disk drive.

To keep things simple, think of an SSD as an oversized, more advanced USB flash drive. While an HDD will store information on a series of small disks, hence the name hard disk drive, an SSD will store data in microchips. Now, why is this better?

The difference is that an SSD is much faster because the information is readily available while an HDD requires more physical labor on the drives due to the mechanical arm that has to read all of the data.

Think of it like wanting to get a book from a library. With an HDD, you’ll have to go across the library for that book. An SSD will give it to you, as if by magic.

An SSD doesn’t have an arm to read and write the data. Instead, it relies on a processor called a controller to perform every operation. Now, of course, the speed of its processor can be faster or slower, which determines a good or lousy SSD hard drive.

An example of a good SSD processor speed is about 540 MB/s or megabytes per second. If your SSD falls somewhere around there, you have a great device.

These are also typically far smaller than HDD, with the average size being around 2.5-inches. They are also the latest technology to come to gaming consoles, which makes the future of gaming even brighter.

Types of hard drives

Toshiba 2TB Desktop Hard Drive

If you are looking through the sea of hard drives, you’ve probably come across abbreviations like IDE, SATA, SCSI, and others. While you may not need to know what they mean to find yourself the best internal hard drive, it doesn’t hurt to know.

PATA types include Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) and Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics (EIDE) drives. The difference between the two is the type of interface that connects the drive to the CPU board. However, SATA drives are replacing the old PATA drives.

SATA (Serial ATA) drives are thinner and faster than PATA drives. They are the current standard in hard drive technology but are quickly falling behind. Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) drives are even faster, spinning at 10,000 to 15,000 rpm.

Still, the latest and by far the fastest is the SSD, which outperforms all others with ease.

How to Choose

It’s easy to overwhelm yourself trying to pick between the best internal hard drives. But making a quick choice just because it looks cool is usually the wrong move.

There are some things that you should look for that can help you sift through the bad products and find the perfect one for you. In general, you want to look at the size of the drive, speed, and of course, compatibility.

Buying tips

Depending on your needs, the size of a hard drive can be an essential thing to look at. For gaming, a terabyte or more is better, as you will be able to store more games and save data. However, if you are buying one just for your work, you may not need that big of a drive.

The physical size of the drive is also crucial if you are building your PC. Knowing how much room you have in your rig could save you a lot of hassle with trying to stuff a 3.5-inch drive in a 2-inch space. Make sure you know your measurements before you go shopping.

Speed is key, as it will determine how fast you can access your information. If you go with an SSD, you probably don’t have to worry about how fast it is because no matter what it will be faster than an HDD. Otherwise, shoot for around 7,200 RPMs as your average speed.

How We Reviewed

While we have not physically gotten our hands on any of the best internal hard drives, we can assure you that the information here is accurate and reflects the best internal hard drive products on the market.

Our report was taken from various high-quality sources and Amazon product pages, all to give you all the information you need to make an educated choice.

The Best Internal Hard Drives

open hard drive close up
Image source: pexels
The best internal hard drives will be able to meet all of your needs within your computer. It will be compatible with your current system, or easily formatted for your system. And it will provide you with the best speed, storage space, and fall within your budget. Don’t settle for a sub-par hard drive; always strive for excellence.

Crucial MX500

Crucial MX500 1TB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal SSD, up to 560MB/s -...
  • Sequential reads/writes up to 560/510 MB/s and random reads/writes up to 95k/90k on all file types
  • Accelerated by micron 3D NAND technology
  • Integrated power loss immunity preserves all Your saved work if the power unexpectedly gets cut

The Crucial MX500 is a solid-state drive offers one terabyte of storage and 560/510 MB/s of read/write speed, respectively. It also features integrated power loss immunity, which can preserve all of your saved data if your power unexpectedly goes out.

This is one of the bigger SSDs available that is not overly expensive. It’s 2.5 inches, which is small enough to fit most laptops and it’s compatible with most systems as well.

With the speeds and additional features, this SSD is a great choice.

PROS

  • Great speed for an SSD
  • Power loss immunity feature
  • Huge storage

CONS

  • Possible limited compatibility

Seagate BarraCuda

Seagate BarraCuda 2TB Internal Hard Drive HDD – 3.5 Inch SATA 6Gb/s...
  • Store more, compute faster, and do it confidently with the proven reliability of BarraCuda internal hard drives
  • Build a powerhouse gaming computer or desktop setup with a variety of capacities and form factors
  • The go to SATA hard drive solution for nearly every PC application—from music to video to photo editing to PC gaming

This HDD offers two terabytes of data storage, which is perfect for gamers. Sizing in at 3.5 inches, the BarraCuda gives you speeds of 7200 RPM, making it the ideal choice for people looking for the right balance of storage, quality, and speed. You can also rest easy with a 2-year warranty that is included with each purchase.

While it is available in other storage options, the two terabytes should be perfect for the average gamer. Certainly a contender in the best internal hard drives.

PROS

  • Huge 2 tb storage
  • Fast 7200 RPM speed 

CONS

  • Requires you to download software before use
  • No Instruction

Western Digital Blue

WD Blue 1TB PC Hard Drive - 7200 RPM Class, SATA 6 Gb/s, 64 MB Cache,...
  • Reliable everyday computing
  • WD quality and reliability
  • Free Acronis True Image WD Edition cloning software

A newbie to the HDD game, the WD Blue offers one terabyte of storage and 7200 RPM, making it a great contender. This WD also offers free cloning software that makes it easy to transfer data from one hard drive to your new one. It also features IntelliSeek that can calculate the optimum speed to lower power consumption, along with noise and vibration to protect against data loss.

WD is also one of the leading names in hard drives, so you can be sure you have the quality behind the WD Blue.

PROS

  • Gigantic 6TB storage
  • 256 MB cache
  • Wide compatibility

CONS

  • Smaller cache
  • Expensive for 1TB

Samsung SSD 860 Evo

Samsung 860 EVO 500GB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E500B/AM)
  • INNOVATIVE V-NAND TECHNOLOGY: Powered by Samsung V-NAND Technology, the 860 EVO SSD offers optimized performance for...
  • ENHANCED READ WRITE SPEEDS: Sequential read and write performance levels of up to 550MB/s and 520MB/s, respectively
  • SECURE ENCRYPTION: Protect data by selecting security options, including AES 256-bit hardware-based encryption compliant...

While a bit smaller than its SSD competitor, the Samsung 860 Evo is just as capable. With Samsung V-NAND technology, this SSD will give you peak performance throughout your day. This drive is also a bit slower, with read/write speeds up to 550/520 MS/s, but the difference is very minimal.

The 860 Evo is compatible with nearly all systems, making it the highest ranking hard drive on our best internal hard drives list.

PROS

  • Affordable SSD
  • Wide compatibility
  • Ideal for all uses, business to gaming

CONS

  • Smaller storage
  • Slightly slower speeds

Get The Most Out of Your Game

Choosing from the best internal hard drives can prove to be a difficult task, but a rewarding one. There is a lot that goes into picking a hard drive, but with this information and your knowledge of what you need, surely you will be able to make the best choice.

Of course, we want to hear from you. Have you found the best internal hard drives or maybe you have a personal favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

Pat Sands

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