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The PC Storage Guide for the Masses

  1. Introduction
  2. Internal Drives Connectivity Options
  3. External Drives Connectivity Options
  4. Storage Method: Mechanical Drives
  5. Storage Method: Solid-State Drives
  6. Stuff to check before purchasing storage
  7. View All

While we obviously know if we want to buy external or internal storage and our budget, we often reach at a crossroads when it comes to performance, capacity, types and even warranty.  Sometimes spending a lot of money is not really needed, sometimes buying a better unit for a bit higher price is the best investment for long term. But here are some questionnaires you can ask yourself:

  • For which device you are purchasing?

Whether it’s for notebook, netbook, desktop systems, NAS or any other device, this is the first question you should have the answer to. Knowing the Form factor and interface type you need are important to know for certain devices.

  • Upgrade or Replacement?

Some people replace an existing storage device. Some are simply adding storage. This way you can set a priority where you need a fast storage, or a large storage drive.

  • What’s your requirement?

Is it speed? Is it space? Two basic questions you need to ask yourself whether you are buying an external or internal drive. Because at the end of the day, if you choose a quick enough drive, you may have to compromise on space especially if you’re on a budget. If you need large amount of space and don’t really care about speed, then it should be easier for you to choose?

The second set of question is more specific: Is it for your operating system and a set of applications? Is it for your network storage? Is it for your Surveillance Units? Is it for quick data transfer? Is it for real-time or scheduled backup? There are many specific-purpose storage drives, including external HDMI recorders for DSLRs which records from the camera’s HDMI port to a dock with a solid state drive for having uncompressed video recording. Every device has a purpose. Buying the wrong one would be a waste.

Third set: Do you simply need a barebone storage or do you need utility, software, accessories, kits, etc with it? Some manufacturers sell SSD in a basic packaging. Some provide an upgrade kit which comes with a bundled software and accessories required to clone your existing operating system to your new SSD so that you can swap them while having the same set of data. Be sure to check that at the least you have the same amount of used space in your new drive as you have with the old drive.

  • Compatibility

For some people, they will be swapping their storage from one system to another. While storage drives are usually either NTFS or exFAT, it’s still best to check the seemingly obvious before purchasing anything. Knowing the drive’s compatibility with interfaces is also useful. This wouldn’t be a problem for SATA or USB since they have backward compatibility.

But also it should be compatible with your existing systems, especially for internal usage when using a power supply. While for most who use a good enough power supplies won’t be bothered much, it would for those who have a minimum power output based power supply or a bad one with the risk of potentially damaging your hardware.

  • Warranty

Warranty is important, not just warranty period but also terms and conditions. Many people don’t know that manufacturers will only replace the defective unit, but are not responsible to retrieve data.  Experience with warranty differs a lot depending on where you live.

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