What exactly is a Hard Drive?
Hard drives are still a key component in modern computer architecture .A Hard Drive is the component on your computer that stores data semi-permanently. Unlike RAM, the hard drive is a semi-permanent storage device. It is non-volatile, in geek terms. That means it continues to hold data even when the power to the drive is turned off (or even if the drive is removed from the computer, for that matter).
It’s always a good idea to back up your computer. A properly functioning hard drive will retain data until the user or a program instructs it to delete or modify that data. This is why it's important to securely erase the data on a hard drive before discarding it. Hence also the need to choose the right kind of a Hard Drive as it stores very critical information
The absolute first decision to make as far as data storage is concerned is whether or not you want a Solid state drive (SSD). An SSD is a type of drive that uses something called flash memory for storing data instead the spinning metal disks you’d find in a traditional HDD.
The process of purchasing an external HDD can be overwhelming, considering the large amount of options out there, but we’re here to help.
#1.Storage capacity- Whether you want a flash drive and store a few important documents on, or a considerably larger one where you can keep all of your photos, songs, and videos, the possibilities are almost endless. A smart size for people looking to store videos would be 1TB or 2TB. If you’re mostly just storing emails and word documents, a smaller one could do. The more files you want to store, and the larger the file type (photos and videos are larger than word documents), the bigger you should go
#2.Transfer speed- The Performance of a Consumer Level HDD is determined by many factors, butRevolutions per Minute(RPMs) is an important one. Higher RPMs means faster transferring of data to and from Drive. If you’ll mostly be using it to store large files, such as videos, however, you may prefer a device that takes in data from your computer more quickly. In this case, a hard drive with a USB 3.0 interface, as opposed to one with a USB 2.0 interface, would be best. USB 3.0 is the fastest in terms of transferring files, eSATA is the next best thing, but tends to be expensive. FireWire is the third fastest, so ideally you want to find a drive that can handle USB 3.0 – assuming your computer has a USB 3.0 port.
#3.Portability- If you intend to keep your external hard drive at home, going for one that costs less but weighs more might make sense. If you plan to tow it back and forth from home to work, you may want to pay a little more for a pocket-sized device. If you plan to transport it often, another practical feature for your device is enhanced data protection, which will reduce the risk of failure caused by shock if you happen to drop it. A portable storage unit should also offer durability to protect your files from shock and damage. Avoid anything flimsy and look for drives featuring solid, durable materials like quality plastic or aluminum.
#4.Compatibility- Do you have a PC or a Mac? Make sure to keep this in mind when shopping since some hard drives are only compatible with PCs or Macs – but not both.
#5.Failure Rate- Since HDDs are Mechanical, wear and Tear are expected over time, that being said not all HDDs are made equal some are prone to fail within 6 Months while others have a lifespan exceeding 6 years. It’s your responsibility to research this on a per model basis prior to making a purchase.
#6.Cache Space- When a hard disk needs to transfer data from one section to the drive to another it utilizes a special area of embedded memory called cache or buffer. Larger cache allows data to be transferred faster because more information can be transferred at one time. Modern HDDs have cache sizes ranging from 8MB to 128MB.