Buying a Desktop Computer? Understand Hard Drives
Ask the average person just how important the hard drive is in a computer, and they’ll tell you immediately that it’s probably the most important thing – even if they can’t tell you why. Office horror stories often begin with the hard drive being corrupted or wiped completely, and many an expensive repair job relates to the hard drive. So it’s obviously important to get the right one. But how do you know what to pick? Use this handy guide to help you make the decision.
So what does a hard drive do? Primarily, it is your storage facility for everything. Not only the data you want to download, like your papers, pictures you took, music you like and videos, but for the very programs that run your spreadsheets, picture viewers and even the operating system for the entire computer. All of that is stored on the hard drive.
So how much of one do you need? Think of the kinds of files you like to save and share. Word documents don’t take up much space, and neither do pictures, really. But music downloads can eat up a chunk of space and videos eat up the most. Hard drives are measured in megabytes (MB), gigabytes (GB) or even terabytes (TB). MBs are 1 million bites, GBs are 1 billion and TB are a whopping 1 trillion bytes. If you’re just backing up files, smaller drives (in the GB range) will do. Backing up your entire computer, especially if that includes a lot of video or audio, means you need a drive with TB.
Hard drives are so important that many people get a back up hard drive (an external hard drive that isn’t always connected to the computer) to make sure they don’t lose it all. But don’t choose your hard drive based on how fast you think it retrieves information. Pick it based on just how much you want to cram onto it!