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.
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.
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.
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|
|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)
Samsung T3 Portable SSD (External SSD)
|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|