5 things you need to know before buying a hard drive in South Africa

Least and most reliable hard drives

Buying a hard drive can be a very big purchasing decision.

Chances are this new storage unit will house some of your most important information, meaning it needs to be big enough, fast enough, and secure enough to meet your specific needs.

Check out the 5 things you need to know before buying a hard drive in South Africa below:


SSD vs HDD

At one stage (not too long ag0) it was easy to decide which drive to buy when building a computer: a spinning drive (HDD).

A solid state drive (SSD) option was simply too expensive and could not offer the required capacity.

That is certainly no longer the case, with SSD not only being cheaper than ever before, but around 900% faster and twice as reliable as a standard HDD.

So which option should you choose?

A 120 GB SSD will be more than enough to install Windows and a few applications, while 256 GB should be enough room to store a modest number of games along with all of your other applications.

Despite the lower costs, SSDs still haven’t replaced mechanical hard drives, which offer the best GB-per-Rand on the market.

We suggest a bare minimum 500GB HDD if you plan to just use you PC for day-to-day work and at least 1 TB if you plan to do any sort of modern gaming.

Our advice is to get both an HDD and SSD if possible. Install your OS and a few apps installed on the SSD and your larger files such as movies, music and games on the HDD.

SSD vs HDD


Specifications

SATA is still the most popular interface available, although other formats like SATA express and M.2 are slowly becoming viable.

There are three generations of SATA, with the latest, SATA 3, capping at 6Gbps (about 770MBps).

The earlier SATA 1 and SATA 2 standards cap data speeds at 1.5Gbps and 3Gbps respectively.

The performance of a consumer-level HDD is determined by many factors, but revolutions per minute (RPM) is an important one.

Higher RPM means faster data transfer to and from the drive.


Capacity and Cloud Storage

Before buying a hard drive, you first need to be certain of what exactly you plan to use it for.

Media-holics may need to get a larger drive if you plan to save your entire movie and music collection (at least 1 TB).

Many hard drives now feature the option to automatically back up your storage directly into the cloud.

This allows you to download documents on any compatible device around the world, and gives extra peace of mind should one of your drives fail.

Depending on your line speeds, this might be an obvious bonus as you can back everything to the cloud (size permitting).

Alternatively, if you don’t wish to tie yourself down to a specific cloud service, you can find a complete list of Cloud Storage options here.

Private Cloud


External vs Internal

This really does come down to personal preference and ease of use.

When considering external drives, there are four main peripheral connection types: USB, Thunderbolt, FireWire, and eSATA. Most, if not all, new external drives now use just USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt.

There is also no clear performance difference between bus-powered (an extra power connector) and non bus-powered drives.

While internal drives may not offer the portability of external hard drvies (for obvious reasons) there is an added layer of security knowing you can’t accidentally misplace your whole drive on the way in to the office.

As can be seen in the pricing table below, internal hard drives are also slightly cheaper than their external counterparts.

In our personal experience, we have typically stored larger multimedia files (like movies and music) as well as work documents on an external HDD, as these are the files we are most likely to carry around with us.


Pricing

Perhaps the most important factor in any hardware purchase is how much you are going to end up paying.

We took a look at what one could typically expect to pay for hard drives in South Africa. Check out the table below:

Hard drive pricing table
Type Size Price Store
Western Digital Blue, 3.5″, SATA 6G, 7200rpm (Internal HDD) 1 TB R850 Rebeltech
Western Digital Blue, 3.5″, SATA 6G, 7200rpm (Internal HDD) 2 TB R1,399 Evetech
Western Digital Blue, 3.5″, SATA 6G, 7200rpm (Internal HDD) 4 TB R2,499 Evetech
Sandisk SSD Plus (Internal SSD) 128 GB R899 Makro
 (Internal SSD) 480 GB R2,099 Evetech
 (Internal SSD) 960 GB R4,799 Evetech
Samsung T3 250GB USB 3.1 Portable Solid State Drive (External SSD)
 250 GB R1,999 Evetech

Samsung T3 Portable SSD (External SSD)

 500 GB R3,599 Makro
Toshiba Canvio Basics (External HDD) 1 TB R899 Takealot
Western Digital MyPassport X (External HDD) 2 TB R1,499 Evetech
Seagate 3.5″ External (External HDD) 4 TB R2,199 Makro

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  • Faux Grey

    Just saying, avoid the seagate 3TB drives. More specifically the model: ST3000DM001 drives. They might as well have a 100% failure rate over 3 years for how bad they are.

    I usually pick up the 250Gb Samsung Evo 750 or Crucial BX200 SSD drives when they’re on sale on takealot for less than R999. They’re good drives.

  • Johann Botha

    Bought 4 at the same time 3.5 years ago and all three said cheers at about the same time. Lost first one then 3 weeks later lost 2 in a space of 2 days, then the last one died 2 months later. Sadly they were just out of warranty.

  • So high failure rate sounds almost impossible.
    But those SSD are great.

  • Faux Grey

    I did the same mistake, got all my broken drives in my junk box.
    There was a lawsuit filed against seagate in the US. wonder what happened to it.

  • Helldriver Phoenix

    I’ll stick to my HDD’s for now.

  • Corné Cornoster Bergakker

    Nice article. I might point some of my colleagues here.

    I have a 128SSD (OS) and 3TB (GAMES) internal and a 3TB external. I wish it was a 500GB SSD, 8TB HDD and 5TB external but a budget is a budget

  • Common Sense

    I gotta say I lost all my faith in any type of hard drive.
    Cloud syncing seems to be the only viable option.
    Of course my OS is on a SSD and once you do that you’ll never go back. But then again SSD also doesn’t last forever.

    If only drives was actually built to last for 25+ years, but then how would they make any revenue out of it? So it’s pretty obvious drives are specially made to brake one way or another.

    I still got a scsi nas coming from 1993, and it still works! funny how older tech lasts longer than any of the todays tech..

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5 things you need to know before buying a hard drive in South Africa

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