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Choosing the correct hard drive (HDD) requires you consider, the data connector, the drives capacity, the rotational speed, the optional memory buffer capacity, and the physical size. This important device allows you to store, programs, data, graphics, photos, music, and videos on your computer. Giving you access to them at any time without being connected to a network or the Internet.

The data connector should be either PATA (Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment) or SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment). Keeping in mind that PATA represents both IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) and EIDE (Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics). PATA is an older technology and is being phased out. SATA on the other hand has faster data transfer speeds and has greater availability.

Disk capacity is totally at your discretion, but, be aware that the larger the storage size the more it will cost. For a basic end-user 100 gigabytes will be sufficient. For someone that has lots of photos or videos maybe a 300 gigabyte drive is adequate. Users with greater needs can find drives with capacities up to 2 terabytes and larger disk drives are coming.

The rotational speed of the HDD is currently at 5400 rpm and 7200 rpm. The higher speed drive has the advantage of faster data reading and writing and therefore greater throughput. These are the most popular speeds for PCs. Just now disk drives that will run at 10,000 rpm are becoming available, but they are expensive.

The optional memory buffer is starting to appear on some of the newer disk drives. It allows data to be moved in and out of the hard drive faster. The buffers are available in sizes of 8 Megabytes, 16 Megabytes, and 32 Megabytes; and larger sizes are coming. The advantage of the larger size buffer is greater throughput.

The physical size of the drive tells you how it will fit in the computer case. The most commonly used sizes are the 2 1/2 in., the 3 1/2 in., and the 5 1/4 in. disk drive. The 2 1/2 in. drive is used almost exclusively in laptops. The 3 1/2 in. drive is used for desk-top and tower computers. The 5 1/4 in. is being phased out for PCs. Other sizes are used for special purpose computers.

Looking at all of the disk drives available at your online computer storeicon, you must decide which one is of interest to you? Is it the one with greater speed, or greater capacity, or greater reliability; and which one fits your budget? This is what you have to decide by checking out those that are available.

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