what hard drive do i need for my laptop?

This article describes What Hard Drive Need For Laptop, their types, and features. It also provides recommendations on how to choose the best hard drive based on the needs and requirements of your laptop.

What Hard Drive Do I Need For My Laptop

what is hDD and sSD in laptop?

HDD (Hard Disk Drive), or hard drive, is a device for recording information of a magnetic type. The data is recorded on aluminum or glass plates, which are covered with a layer of ferromagnetic material. Chromium dioxide is commonly used. One axis, called a spindle, uses one or a pair of plates.

Information from the surface of the disks is read using special heads. For rotation, an electric motor is used with a separate drive for each disc. The data is recorded as thin tracks, like on a vinyl record, but not from edge to center, but from center to edge.

The principle of information storage is based on a binary code, which is used by all computers without exception. The non-magnetized sector encodes zero, and the magnetized one. Already with the help of other hardware and software, the data is decoded into a form that is understandable for the computer user.

In working mode, the read heads do not touch the surface of the discs. This reduces operating noise and provides a longer service life. The head falling on the surface of the magnetic disk is a serious defect, for which you should contact the service center. As a rule, such a disk cannot be repaired, but engineers can help restore lost data. A special microcircuit is responsible for the synchronization of the components.

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In 2019, despite the development of data storage technologies, the hard drive as a local storage continues to hold its leading position. An alternative, but not competition, is SSD – solid state drives. The principle of operation of such devices is different. These are memory chips that use crystals to store data. The principles of data recording are also different, so these drives do not require defragmentation.

The main advantage of SSDs is a much higher operating speed compared to traditional hard drives. But the price of such data carriers is much more expensive.

Such devices are based on non-volatile memory such as NAND. The cost of the SSD is influenced by the specific type of memory used. Modern SSDs are of three types:

  • SLCs are single-level. Each cell can overwrite data up to 100,000 times. Most expensive type of memory used.
  • MLC – two-tier. Information can be rewritten 3,000 to 5,000 times. Medium cost type of cells.
  • TLC – three-tier. Designed for 1,000 rewriting cycles. The cheapest.

The main disadvantage of solid-state drives is that their lifespan is significantly shorter compared to traditional hard drives. Approaching the critical point, the disk begins to work intermittently and glitches, and when it is reached, it usually fails.

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What Hard Drive Do I Need For My Laptop?

A hard drive or solid-state drive is designed to permanently store user data – photos and videos, movies, music, documents, installed programs and games, as well as the computer’s operating system. Without such a component, the operation of a computer or laptop is possible only when connected to a network drive using a special technology. This is practiced in a corporate environment, which reduces the cost of workstations and also provides additional security. Since confidential information is stored on a corporate server, it is impossible to gain access to it, even by stealing a workstation.

The main requirement for a hard drive or SSD is reliability. Users store important data on their computers that are not backed up. The loss of such information is an unpleasant surprise for everyone.

Top HDD manufacturers include Western Digital, Samsung, Seagate, Hitachi and Toshiba. Trustworthy SSD manufacturers include Intel, Kingston, Samsung, Patriot, and Goodram.

Other technical specifications to consider when purchasing a new drive include:

  • the amount of information stored;
  • cache size;
  • connection interface;
  • spindle rotation speed;
  • dimensions and form factor.

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Form factor and dimensions

Winchesters are divided into external and internal. External ones, as a rule, are connected via a USB port and are used as an autonomous storage of information – such a voluminous flash drive. However, nothing prevents you from installing Windows or another OS on such a drive and using it as a recovery disk or an alternative boot device. Internal hard drives are installed in a laptop or desktop PC case, connecting directly to the motherboard. Special racks are provided for mounting.

A laptop hard drive is 2.5 inches because of its compact size, which is important for a laptop. In stationary computers, as a rule, 3.5-inch hard drives are used. A 2.5-inch can be installed if the chassis has a rack of this size. A 3.5-inch laptop doesn’t fit physically.

HDD capacity

To select a suitable hard disk, you should proceed from the area of ​​application of the device. If this is a device for work or study, a small volume is enough – 320 GB. Additionally, to store a family photo and video archive, you need more space – from 500 to 750 GB. A gamer who will not miss a single gaming novelty, as well as a videographer or blogger, needs more space on the hard drive 1-2 GB.

This is due to the fact that modern games are quite “heavy” – some take up to 100 GB on disk. Video, even captured in HD resolution, which does not quite meet modern quality standards, also takes up a lot of free disk space.

It should also be borne in mind that the operating system itself on the hard drive can take up to 30 GB – depending on the version. Add here the programs that are necessary for work – 40-50 GB will be enough for purely technical needs.

Music in FLAC quality or movies in Full HD resolution and higher takes up a lot of space on the hard drive. Audio format MP3, even with a bitrate of 320 kbps, and movies in HD resolution “weigh” significantly less. Today, in this quality, music and films can be found on many Internet sites and watched or listened to online, so there is no need to store this content on a local disk.

SSD capacity

Since drives of such a volume are an order of magnitude more expensive, it will not be possible to overclock too much – the user’s ardor can be tempered by a too high price. Currently, the best option for a laptop is a combination of an SSD for the operating system and applications and a suitable HDD in terms of capacity.

This assembly provides fast loading and launching of all necessary programs and sufficient memory to store all important data. An option for gamers is to purchase a larger SSD and install a couple of your favorite games on it. This will reduce the likelihood of lags due to the slow operation of the drive, where all the game files are stored. 256 GB is enough in this case.

Connection interface

Modern hard drives are connected via the SATA 3 interface. The data transfer rate through this bus reaches 6 Gb / s. It is fashionable to connect such a disk to an older motherboard, which has an older bus version, but the transfer rate will also be lower. Some SSDs can be connected in the same way.

A more advanced option is the M.2 port, created specifically for expansion cards, which, with some stretch, can be considered a solid-state drive. The data transfer rate is much higher. The drive connects directly to the motherboard.

When buying an M.2 SSD, consider the marking – for example, 2260. Here 22 is the width of the board, and 60 is its length in millimeters. The width of SSD drives is always 22 mm, but the length can be 42, 60, or 80 mm. Make sure that there is free space inside the case for mounting the part. You also need to remember about the so-called keys – exactly how the connectors are located on the slot. There are 3 types of keys for solid-state drives – B, M, and B&M. They are not interchangeable.

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Spindle speed

For SSDs, this parameter is irrelevant, since there are no moving elements in this type of drives. For a hard disk, the spindle speed depends on the drive. The following pattern is observed: the higher the rotation speed, the faster information is read from the magnetic surface, however, more noise arises in this case.

In older laptop HDDs, the spindle speed was 5400 rpm. (indicated as RPM in the labeling). Almost all modern laptops have a rotational speed of 7200 rpm. Less – only low-quality budget devices. Only high-quality hard drives for server stations have speeds of 10,000 and 15,000. Such discs are very expensive. At home, they are almost never used.

Buffer volume

Cache is a storage where all intermediate data is written. Since the processor and RAM during operation constantly refer to the hard drive to read the necessary information, the speed of the entire system depends on the speed of the procedure. For this reason, the data that the computer accesses most often is stored in the cache. Its operating speed is several times higher than that of the HDD as a whole.

For a modern laptop hard drive, a cache of 128 to 256 MB is sufficient. Solid-state drives do not need such “crutches” – everything is in order with the read / write speed.

Continuous working time

MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) is a characteristic by which you can predict the approximate life of a drive. However, this does not at all guarantee that bad sectors and other glitches in work will not appear in a month. This is a forecast period rather than a guaranteed one by the manufacturer.

On average, hard drives have this period of 300,000 hours. However, this is how long the device will serve in conditions close to ideal. Dust, mechanical damage, power surges and other factors reduce its operating time. The highest quality hard drives have a claimed runtime of 1,000,000 hours.

Average waiting time

The read head takes a short period of time to move to the desired sector above the surface of the magnetic disk. This causes minor delays in writing and reading data. A modern HDD has a latency of 7 to 40 milliseconds.

Because of this feature, you should periodically defragment the contents of the drive – collect scattered data “in a heap” that are scattered over the entire magnetic surface, but which relate to one file or library. Constantly moving around to read a split file — slows down your computer’s performance.

Energy consumption, heat generation and noise level

On average, a hard drive in a laptop consumes from 4 to 6 W of energy, depending on its model and operating mode. The higher the power consumption, the faster the battery will drain in battery mode. However, the hard drive in this regard is not the most “voracious” – for example, the processor consumes from 60 to 80 watts.

TDP is the calculated thermal power. This is the amount of heat that the disk drive generates during operation. For hard drives, this indicator is extremely low, so even the manufacturer does not always indicate it in the characteristics of the product on the official website. Compared to other components that get very hot – the chipset, video card and processor, a hard drive or solid state drive has a clear advantage.

Noise level is measured in decibels. For a modern hard drive, 15-20 dB is considered the norm. To reduce it, you can use a special box in which the product is placed. The noise level of a hard drive is lower than that of a small-diameter cooler, including a CPU cooler.

How to know the characteristics of a laptop hard drive

There are several ways in which you can find out the characteristics of the hard drive. Let’s consider all of them.

How To Know The Characteristics Of A Laptop Hard Drive

Visual inspection

The best option when buying new components. According to accepted standards, a nameplate must be glued on the top cover of the hard drive, which indicates:

  • Manufacturer.
  • Device model.
  • Capacity in GB.
  • Spindle speed.
  • Cache size.
  • Form factor.
  • Connection interface.

Also, the logos of the certificates received by the device should be applied here. Optionally, the manufacturer can specify additional data. But this is no longer necessary. Also, the characteristics are indicated in the article number of the product. For example, Western Digital Purple 4TB 64MB 5400rpm WD40PURZ 3.5 SATA III. Decoding:

  • Western Digital is a manufacturer.
  • Purple is the lineup.
  • WD40PURZ – model.
  • 4TB – capacity.
  • 5400rpm – spindle rotation speed.
  • 3.5 – dimensions.
  • SATA III – connection interface.

This data is enough to help you make your choice. The other characteristics mentioned above are considered minor.

Using Device Manager

Which hard drive is in the laptop can also be viewed using standard Windows tools. To do this, press the “Start” button, go to the control panel and find the Device Manager there. Winchester is displayed in the “Disk drives” section. There is no need to install a driver for normal operation of the disk drive, so there will be no problems with finding and identifying the device by the operating system. Further, according to the model name, you can find the technical parameters of the hard drive – for example, on the manufacturer’s website or in the online store.

Using computer information

To do this, press the key combination Win + R and enter msinfo32 in the search bar that opens. In the window that opens, go to the “Components” category, the “Storage Devices” section, the “Disks” tab. There are two tabs of the same name. The top one displays logical partitions, the bottom one displays physical HDDs installed in the laptop. You can view detailed information on the device, including the manufacturer, model and serial number.

Using disk properties

You must press the “Start” button and click on the “Computer” icon.
A list of logical partitions will be displayed in the window that opens. You need to click on the device of interest with the right mouse button and select “Properties”. The hard drive model is listed in the “Hardware” section.

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Specialized software

The necessary information can be obtained using special utilities from third-party developers:

  • AIDA64.
  • Everest.
  • Sandra.
  • HD Tune.
  • Speccy.
  • CryslalDiskInfo.
  • DiskCheckup.

By collecting information about computer components from built-in sensors, these applications display complete information on each of them.

Choosing a hard drive for a laptop is not difficult. The main thing is to know what the user needs from such a computer component and to consider the models available on the market based on their own needs.

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