Hard drives have become so crucial an element to the internal operations of a personal computer that all PC’s come with them. These are called Internal Hard Drives or Primary Storage Devices and often come loaded with an operating system and other popular programs already installed.
The term “hard” is used to distinguish it from a “soft” or floppy disk. A hard disk is part of a unit, often called a “disk drive,” “hard drive,” or “hard disk drive,” has short and fascinating history. As incredible as it seems, hard disk drives actually evolved from huge room-size structures of three decades ago to today’s hand-held miniature devices.
In addition to their small size, today’s hard disks are more versatile, smaller, faster, and can store larger amounts of data than was ever dreamed by their distant predecessors. Best of all, as their storage capacities and speed continued to increase, their cost decreased (almost in proportion) turning them into affordable devices to a vast majority of people.
As a result, the demand for hard drives grew by leaps and bounds and this insatiable appetite for greater performance and bigger storage space finally resulted in the proliferation of all types of hard drives that we see in today’s market. Unfortunately, this also made choosing a hard drive an increasingly difficult undertaking for the average customer.
Table of contents
What is an External Hard Drive?
Desktop drives, 3.5-Inch
Portable drives, 2.5-Inch
Evaluating Hard Disk Drives
Storage Size / Capacity
Solid State drive – SSD
HDD vs SSD
Hybrids – these are Magnetic Drives with SSD storage
Drives External interface speed
USB 2.0 (High-Speed, a.k.a. Hi-Speed)
USB 3.0 (SuperSpeed)
FireWire (IEEE 1394/i.Link/Texas Instruments)
About Mbps and MB/s
Hard drives almost never achieve maximum throughput
Larger files go more quickly than smaller files
Graphics. Transfer speed
About data security or hardware encryption
So what exactly is encryption?
Knowing Authenticity of a Message
Types of Cryptography
Public key cryptography
Secret Key Cryptography
Hash Key Cryptography
Now back to hard drives
Hardware-based full disk encryption (FDE)
What is SED and how built-in hardware encryption works
Chief Benefits of SEDs
Enclosed Hard Drive Full Disk Encryption
Chipset Full Disk Encryption
External Hard Drive Compatibility with Various Operating Systems
What Is ExFAT?
FAT32 issues and problems
The Advantage ExFAT Offers
Warnings and Tips
In conclusion, selecting a hard drive is all about matching your needs to what is available and what you can afford. If you can afford it, by all means, go for the fastest hard drive with the largest storage space you can find. If you cannot, you need to prioritize and determine what features are most important to you. As bewildering as the options are, they are generally reducible to a few core features that we outlined above.
Ask yourself three questions:
- How much money am I willing to spend on a hard drive?
- How much disk storage space do I need to store my data?
- How much speed do I need to be able to accomplish daily tasks?
As you answer the above questions, make sure you take into account not only your current or immediate needs but also what you anticipate your future needs will be at least two or three years ahead. You should also try to stay away from devices or parts that may soon be obsolete even if they cost less!