Internal Hard Drive Buying Guide

By Bryan Austin,2015-01-30 16:04
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Internal Hard Drive Buying Guide

Internal Hard Drive Buying Guide

What is an internal hard drive?

    The internal hard drive is a data storage device installed and used in desktop PCs, workstations, and servers, as well as certain consumer electronic products (these mainly use small form factor internal hard drives) such as digital cameras and digital audio/video players. Internal hard drives provide massive storage capacities for all types of data including images, documents, movies, music, games. This means more fun for you and greater functionality for your computer and devices!

Technical Information

    This type of storage device is non-volatile, i.e. it does not require constant power to maintain data. Inside the internal hard drive, there are one or several platters for data storage and read/write heads used to access or record data. A set of components drives the platters and the heads perform data operations on the platters as they spin. The internal hard drive uses a mechanical design, which is very different from that other white hot permanent storage solution - Flash Memory.

Applications overview

Personal storage

    Nearly all storage applications on the desktop PC can be classified as personal storage. Personal storage applications do not require the hard drive to work non-stop, meaning they make fewer read/write operations. Most personal storage applications don’t require extreme

    performance, but high reliability is still a very desirable trait.

Consumer electronics

    The consumer electronics domain is an exciting new playing ground for internal hard drives because digital cameras, digital audio/video players are constantly throwing up new requirements regarding capacity and cost, which are exactly what the internal hard drive does best. Since most consumer electronic devices try to be as small as possible, fitting the standard 3.5” hard drive has proven unfeasible. Manufacturers have opted to use the much smaller Microdrive” instead.

Enterprise storage

    Enterprise applications are closely related to workstations and servers, for example, CAD/CAM, digital video editing and production, as well as database. Enterprise storage applications have higher performance and reliability requirements than other applications, and the hard drive workload is very heavy. Server hard drives are expected to run normally without the slightest interruption 24/7.

Understanding Hard Drive Specifications

Form factor

    There are several form factors to ensure the compatibility of the internal hard drive with a variety of different devices.


    The 3.5 inch hard drive is the mainstream form factor for the desktop PC and workstation/server hard drives. Though the size of such hard drives is relatively big, they provide the largest data storage capacities. Moreover, desktop PCs and workstations/servers chassis provide more than enough space to install these hard drives.

    3.5-inch hard drive


    Notebook users should be familiar with the 2.5-inch hard drive. You can find more detailed information about the 2.5-inch hard drive in our notebook hard drive buying guide. (link to

    Notebook hard drive guide). Currently, the 2.5-inch drive is also used as enterprise storage as it offers usable space savings, reduces power consumption and heat, and increased reliability as well.

    2.5-inch hard drive


    1.0-inch hard drives (called the Microdrive by Hitachi) are designed for small consumer electronics such as MP3 players, digital cameras and PDAs. Due to its diminutive size current capacities are only in the several of GBs, but this already represents a significant amount of storage for handheld consumer electronics products.