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Data Storage Device: What To Consider When Buying One?

Data Storage 101: Everything You Need To Know • June 10, 2020

Data Storage Device: What To Consider When Buying One?

Written by: Chelsea Sunico

Discover the most crucial things you need to consider before buying your own data storage device. Maximize your device today!

There are various types of data storage device options you can find today. These devices range from large networks that are suitable for multi-user environments to tiny drives that cater to portable and mobile devices. Data storage ideas even includes Wi-Fi drives and drives with Cloud features.



And because handling data and information is crucial, it is also important to select the best data storage device. It should not only hold your data but also capable of distributing it. So before heading to the store to buy one, here are the things you should consider first (e.g. various data storage example).



1. Storage Capacity

HDD Hard Drives data storage side by side with silver light color



Capacity refers to the amount of data that a data storage device can handle. We generally measure the total capacity of a drive or storage in gigabytes (GB). On average, 1 GB can hold about 200 songs or about 500 photos.



Hard disk drives come in a wide range of capacities. The highest capacity 3.5-inch internal hard driveCheck Latest Price for desktop can hold up to 10 terabytes (TB) or roughly 10,000 GB. The top hard drives and SSDs for laptops can offer up to 2 TB.



2. Transfer Speed And Performance

Data technology background. Big data visualization. Flow of data. Information code. Background in a matrix style.



The speed at which data transfers within a device or from one device to another refers to the storage performance. Many factors can determine the performance of a consumer-grade HDDCheck Latest Price , but RPMs (revolutions per minute) is an important one. Higher RPMs translates to a faster transfer of data to and from the drive.



Meanwhile, the Serial ATA interface standard (SATA)Check Latest Price largely defines the speed of a single consumer-grade internal drive. It determines how fast these drives connect to a host (such as a server or a personal computer) or to one another. There are three generations of SATA; with SATA 3 being the latest and most popular at 6 gigabits per second (about 770 megabytes per second). SATA 2 standards cap data speed at 3Gbps. Lastly, the earlier and largely obsolete SATA 1 caps data speed at 1.5Gbps.



3. Cache Space

Caching Memory Modern Communication Digital Web Technology.



The cache or buffer is a special area of embedded memory. It is used when a hard disk needs to transfer data from one section of the drive to another. A larger cache enables a faster data transfer because more information can be stored at one time. Cache sizes of modern HDDsCheck Latest Price can range from 8 MB to 256 MB.



4. Access Times

Hard disk drive hdd, solid state drive ssd and ssd m2 isolated on white.  Set of different data storage devices.



Other factors that impact performance include access times. It is the time it takes for the reader to position itself and read data from or write data to the drive. Although two 7200RPM drivesCheck Latest Price could perform differently (one might be slower), most hard drives perform at similar levels. There is no standard way of comparing access times.



For solid-state drivesCheck Latest Price , you might want to look for sequential read and write speeds (or sustained read and write speeds). As long as those speeds are within the max speed of the SATA connector, you should be fine.



5. Data Safety

Concept of data protection



The durability of the drive on which your data is stored is where the safety of your data depends. For single drives, you have to consider both the quality of the drive and how you will use it. Hard drives are generally more susceptible to vibration, shocks, heat, and moisture than SSDsCheck Latest Price . While you can opt for a product that comes with layers of physical protection when it comes to portable drives.



Internal Storage

Internal storage options include mainly primary storage devices. Internal storage consists of parts found within the chassis of any given system. It exists inside your desktop computer and laptop.



For laptops, the capacity can range from 500 GB to 1 TB, while it can go up to 6 TB for desktop computers. The benefits of internal storage are the following: it can often be plentiful, and it is almost always accessible (unless you encounter a problem with your hardware)



Types Of Internal Storage


Hard Disk Drives (HDDs)




Hard disk drive, also commonly referred to as hard drive, is one of the oldest data storage device. This device consists of mechanical components that store data by using electromagnetism. It is first introduced in the 1950s with IBM’s 305 RAMAC computer. This is the first magnetic hard disk that changed the world by allowing the user to instantly access their saved information.



But because of their mechanical components, hard drives are a bit more prone to physical defects. They are not great at withstanding shock damaged from being moved sharply or dropped. There is also a finite physical limitation to how fast your data can be accessed or moved because it has to spin extremely fast. Despite these, hard drives have continued to be a popular option for a data storage device. This is due to their solid performance and expanding storage space.



To expand your storage capacity in a desktop PC, you can add a second, third, or fourth hard drive. This is possible as long as the power supply, the PC case, and connectors on your motherboard allow space. However, on a laptop, you are left with whatever hard drive was installed into it.



HDD Form Factors

Data drives come in two form factors. These are the 3.5-inch drive and the 2.5-inch drive. Since data is stored on spinning metal disks in HDDs, more disks are needed for greater data capacity. This is why the drive form factor for a desktop is 3.5 inches with a maximum capacity of 12 TB. Meanwhile, the hard drive form factor for a laptop is 2.5 inches with a maximum capacity of 5 TB.



If you ever plan on replacing your laptop drive, remember that thickness is an important consideration. Thinner laptops can take 2.5-inch drives that are up to 7mm thick, while bigger laptops require 2.5-inch drives with a thickness of 9.5mm. Prior to attempting a replacement, it is essential to know which thickness your laptop supports.



Solid-State Drives (SSDs)




These drives have been manufactured with two goals in mind: to be faster and be more reliable. SSDs effectively function and are powered by way of electronic circuits and zero moving parts. They also come equipped with flash memory chipsCheck Latest Price (counterpart of HDD’s spinning disk), and a flash controller (its version of HDD’s magnetic actuator arm), along with some of the main parts found on most circuit boards.



This format ensures the quality and engineered-design of each circuit board, allowing for better speed and reliability. SSD is much faster in retrieving and writing of data. It also does not have any moving parts, making them silent in operation, lighter in weight, and less needy of power consumption. But compared to a hard drive, the limited capacity is the downside of a solid-state drive. Fortunately, you can find other solutions to this.



SSD Form Factors

Solid-state drives have evolved in many ways just like hard drives. It includes the form factor. For desktop PCs, the base consumer-level SSDs come in a hard-drive-like chassis. It is much lighter and small, and the most common size is 2.5-inch today. The mSATA and M.2 form factors, even in a smaller and lighter package, improve performance.



Most laptops with ultrabook-style have SSD drives of the mSATA or M.2 form factor. Rather than 2.5-inch drives that reside in a drive bay, these are stick-like devices that plug into the motherboard. Without drive bays, these notebooks cannot be upgraded easily and one should look at external storage solutions instead.



Here are the definitions of the other form factors of SSDs:


Type Of Form Factor How It Works
2.5” Form Factor This form factor is the most common size and installs just like a hard drive.
PCI-E Form Factor You do not need any more cables with PCI-E solid-state drives. They are connected via “teeth” to a compatible motherboard slot.
mSATA Form Factor The mini-SATA or mSATA is an offshoot of the PCI-E standard. This form factor is a much smaller card-like version of standard PCI-E devices.

The mini-SATA or mSATA is an offshoot of the PCI-E standard. This form factor is a much smaller card-like version of standard PCI-E devices.


M.2 Form Factor The M.2 is an updated form of PCI-E. It is the current standard for top speed and reliability. This form factor has also gone through some revisions.



Solid- State Hybrid Hard Drives (SSHDs)





SSHD is a type of hard drive that contains both components of a traditional hard drive in the same 2.5-inch form factor and the circuit board of a small SSD. Hybrid hard drives use a small SSD (8 GB, for example) as a way of speeding up the common applications and operating system that you use. There is a limit to SSD space on the SSHD of course, so make to check the specification before you buy one.





At the same time, the hard disk drive serves as a virtual storage room for your stationary files such as pictures, music, and videos. But things do not load or copy over as quickly on this side. The benefit of a hard drive though is that it can still be large (1 TB or more) while still giving you some of the characteristics of an SSD. And one thing to take note of SSHDs is that you will not be able to choose where certain programs or files go.



External Storage

Data Storage Device, External Drive



This secondary storage consists of storage devices that come equipped with their own chassis. External data storage devices Check Latest Price  connects to a desktop PC, laptop, or motherboard with the use of USB, eSATA cable, Thunderbolt or Firewire. These external hard drives require a wall adapter for power. They are available in a range of sizes, from 1 TB to 8 TB, or even more depending on its physical size and the model.



External storage is the simplest way and most convenient way to add storage to your computer. It does not require installation, just simply plug it in and let the system detect it. You can plug an external drive via USB to any computer, and also connect it to other supported systems such as TVs and set-top boxes.




Now that you’ve gone through our list of storage devices, we’re confident that you’ll be able to choose the best data storage device for your needs (whether primary storage devices or secondary storage devices).



Once you have chosen the optimal drive for your needs, you must not forget to use a backup. This is guaranteed to protect your data against loss, failure, or theft. The easiest way to back up your drive is by regularly putting copies of your data on multiple storage devices.

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