The hard drive disk of a computer is the primary storage device of the computer. It is a non-removable device that retains all the information when the computer is turned off. A fast hard drive supplies the computer with data as fast as it needs. Hard drives are measured in Gigabytes (GB) and the larger the number, the more storage the computer has. When looking at purchasing a new home computer or laptop, it is important to understand how the hard drive works with your computer and how much storage capacity you will need.
When saving information on your computer, the application is recorded on a magnetic platter inside the hard drive. Most hard drives have several platters that allow them to spin up to 15,000 times per minute. The amount of hard drive space the computer has will affect how much data that can be saved. The data on a hard drive can be deleted or erased from the memory at any time and does not need a constant power supply to save the information.
It used to be that hard drives were small and had a capacity of no more than 5 MB, now most new computers and laptops have no less than 40 GB. Some hard drive capacities can exceed 120 GB. Today, computers with these capabilities can store a massive amount of information, videos and photos without getting bogged down.
Choosing a hard drive can be confusing if you are not familiar with what to look for. Hard drives can have a very high capacity and they can be very small. It is important when looking at hard drive for your computer or laptop to know what you need. Performance in a hard drive can vary dramatically. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to save information and learning your hard drive is full. If you plan on using your hard drive to store a minimum amount of information, you may not need to spend the extra money on a bigger hard drive.
For storing large files, videos, music and pictures, your computer will need to be equipped with a larger amount of hard drive space. You can purchase 160 GB and bigger of hard drive space on most computers. The general rule of thumb for purchasing hard drive space is to purchase the largest amount of space you think you will need and that you can afford.
Price is another factor when choosing the right hard drive size. The most common size of hard drive for the money ranges from 60 to 80 gigabytes. These hard drive sizes are readily available on most operating systems. They are a good economical choice for computer users needing the computer for everyday storage and use.
Besides the size of the hard drive and purchase price consider access times and transfer rates when looking at hard drives. The transfer rate is how much data can be transferred per second. This can vary though, depending on the condition of the computer. A computer that is nearly full may have a much slower transfer rate.
Transfer rates come in either internal or external. The internal transfer rate is how fast the hard drive can read the date. The external transfer rate is how fast the drive can speed data to whatever it is connected to. Usually, the transfer rate will be a little slower than listed, so it is best to get a faster transfer rate. The external rate is link to the type of hard drive that the computer is using.
Be aware that hard drive speed is affect by the computer’s capabilities. If your computer is slow, a bigger and faster hard drive will do you little good. Also, if your computer is operating slowly, a bogged down hard drive may be the problem. If your computer system is running slow, deleting unnecessary files from the hard drive. Defrag is another option used to optimize slow hard drive systems.
Fragmentation of the hard drive occurs when the operating system breaks a saved file into separate pieces and stores them in other places. This usually happens when there is not enough room to store all the date. Defrag takes those stored file fragments and pieces them back together again. The process can be time consuming, but is a good way to optimize hard drive space and the speed of the computer.