Laptop Hard Drives

Laptop Data Storage Drives

Documents, spreadsheets, emails, video clips, music, and more – after a while, you can end up with a lot of data on your laptop. And that means you need to store this data while keeping it accessible. This will involve some kind of data storage drive, internal or external.

Sometimes it's a good idea to purchase a hard drive. Computer hardware doesn't last forever. So, if your computer's internal drive breaks or begins to underperform because of its age, you'll need to replace it. Or perhaps you want to upgrade your computer's once-standard HDD drive with a newer and faster SSD one.

Laptop Hard Drives

The most common reason for purchasing an external hard drive? Computer data needs to be backed up. No internal drive is fail-safe, and it's a very bad feeling to watch all of your work and files disappear down the "data hole" when your main drive fails. Much better to have it all backed up! Just in case.

An external drive is also useful for sharing data between computers. In fact, with some portable drives, you can carry hundreds of gigabytes of information with you and connect with virtually any computer, no matter where you happen to be.

HDD and SSD – What's the Difference?

When it comes to internal drives, whether you're upgrading your machine or replacing a defective drive, your choice is between either a hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid-state drive (SSD).

HDD drives utilize a physical disk and other moving parts. These are the traditional drives that computers have relied on for years for storing data and programs. Their main advantage is the ability to offer large amounts of storage for relatively little cost. On the other hand, they are slower than SSD drives and somewhat more prone to malfunction because of their more "mechanical" nature.

SSD drives contain no moving parts but, as their name indicates, rely on solid-state circuitry to store and move data. Their main advantages are their speed and relatively greater reliability. But SSD drives tend to offer less storage, and at a higher price, than comparable HDD drives. For example, where you might find a 256-gigabyte (GB) HDD drive for, say $60 or so, the same amount of memory for an SSD drive might cost $180. And SSD drives currently top out at about one fourth of the maximum capacity available for HDD drives.

To begin shopping for your next internal storage drive, look into devices from such trusted manufacturers as Samsung, Western Digital, Seagate, Corsair, and Crucial.

More External Drive Options

When it comes to external drives, you still have your choice of external hard drive or solid-state drive, but a few other factors come into play. First, SSD external drives are not as common as HDD drives, probably because they're more expensive on a per-gigabyte basis and because their capacities tend to be smaller, usually in the 64GB to 512GB range.

Next, you can choose either a desktop-type external drive or a laptop-type drive. Desktop external drives, despite their name, can be used with laptop computers. It's just that they're not portable, being designed to sit permanently in an office space and usually needing their own power cord. They offer storage of up to 3 or 4 terabytes (TB).

Laptop-style external drives, though, are truly portable, with many models small enough to fit into a shirt pocket. They usually connect via a USB port and draw power the same way, making them very convenient. It's common to find capacities in the 500GB to 1TB range.

When shopping for external drives, consider models by companies like LaCie, G-Technology, Seagate, Western Digital (WD), and Transcend.

Flash drives, small memory sticks that connect to your computer via your USB port, are similar to SSD drives since they rely on similar technology and don't utilize moving parts. On the other hand, they have smaller capacities and are much more limited in how many times they can add and erase data before they begin to lose their integrity (i.e., they're not simply "small SSDs"). Still, they're useful for many data storage and transfer purposes and incredibly easy to use. Look into manufacturers such as Corsair, SanDisk, Kingston, and Verbatim.

Have You Considered the Cloud?

Finally, it's worth mentioning cloud-based storage services as being a sort of external drive. Basically, using the cloud means that you utilize a service provider's servers to store your data "virtually." By connecting with the server via the Internet and logging in, you have full access to your data no matter where you happen to be. Thus, as long as you have Internet access and an authorized device, you effectively have an external drive that's available practically worldwide and yet doesn't require you to carry any extra devices. Your data just exists "in the cloud." Take a look at providers such as Dropbox, Egnyte, Mozy, Carbonite, and Barracuda.

Solid-state, conventional disk, or flash-based – you can extend your laptop's storage capacity in so many ways. Just determine the amount of capacity you need, your need for portability, and your budget, and you'll be ready to find the laptop storage drive that's best for you.