Whether you're replacing an old hard drive in your desktop, looking for extra storage capacity in a laptop hard drive, or wanting a reliable backup hard drive, finding the best solution can be either simple or complicated, depending on your needs. Two fundamental factors for you to consider are capacity and speed.
Capacity is the amount of space you need for your files, determined by both quantity and quality, because better quality results in larger files. To illustrate using an MP3 music file example: A 16GB HDD will hold around 4,000 songs (4 minutes long/128 kbps bit rate), while a 1TB HDD will hold around 250,000 of the same size songs. (1TB/terabyte is equal to 1024GB/gigabytes.) Another example: If you’re a photographer and you store large, raw photographs on your computer before using photo editing software to enhance and manipulate the images, you'll need more capacity than if you primarily use your computer for typical business applications. So, bottom line, estimating whether your capacity requirements can be satisfied by a 1TB hard drive, a 2TB hard drive, all the way up to 16TB hard drive or larger, is essential to choosing the best hard drive for you.
Speed determinations are a little less cut and dried, because the internal speed of the computer hard drive itself works with the speed of the connection between the HDD and your computer to influence your load/save/transfer speeds. Speed is especially important if you enjoy playing PC games, where slow load times, stuttering and excessive lag can mean the difference between advancing and winning — and not.
Should I Replace My Hard Drive or Add a Standalone?
The storage solution you choose will depend on your needs. Generally, replacing your existing hard drive can provide additional built-in storage at top speeds, while a stand-alone hard drive gives you greater flexibility and enables you to expand storage capacity at any time, as you need it, quickly and easily.
Installing an entirely new, larger hard disk drive maintains the aesthetics of your setup, without adding any new components. If you decide to expand your storage capacity by adding a stand-alone drive — either a 3.5-inch drive that requires both an interface cable and an AC plug (mostly used with desktops), or a 2.5-inch portable drive that frequently runs on power from the host computer through the connection cable (typically used with laptops) — you'll need to be certain your computer is compatible with the new drive's connectivity interface, likely USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt.
Hard Drive Installation and Other Considerations
Especially after you invest in a new hard drive solution, using a surge protector is a good idea so you don't lose your PC and its contents to a lightning strike or some other type of power outage or surge. But, if you do experience an issue that requires data recovery, you can turn to Geek Squad to put you in the fast lane to restoring your lost files. Likewise, if you’d like help with hard drive installation, Geek Squad Agents can handle the process from start to finish, along with any other component installation or setup needs you may have.