Everyone wants to have as many files, pictures, music and video that they can store in their PC. People seldom find out that there is one particular part in their desktop PC that will make up most of it.
The Hard Drive acts as permanent storage for files of all sorts as needed by the user. The Hard Drive is not limited to storing created documents, valuable photos, entertaining music and most-loved videos. It also houses the applications that will run your PC and other supporting programs to create, maintain and delete files in your hard drive.
Hard drive capacity is measured in megabytes (1MB = 1,000,000 bytes), gigabytes (1GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes) and terrabytes (1TB = 1,000,000,000,000 bytes) as given by manufacturers. This numbering convention, where prefixes like mega- and giga- denote powers of 1000, is also used for data transmission rates and DVD capacities. However, the convention is different from that used by manufacturers of memory (RAM, ROM) and CDs, where prefixes like kilo- and mega- mean powers of 1024. (Source www.wikipedia.org)
Hard drives are accessed and connected to computers via different interfaces. Commonly it is the IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) or PATA (Parallel ATA) and SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) interfaces that are used in a standard desktop or laptop PC. SATA drives are more available as of today compared to the IDE, for they provide better file access and transfer rates (measured in bandwidths) compared to the IDE. Aside from support for higher bandwidths, SATA drives offer more flexible options like increased cable length and ‚Äúhot plugging‚Äù (simply put as the ability to plug in a device to a hot pluggable port without the need to turn off your computer) just like our USB flash drives.
Hard drives also come in different sizes or form factors. Famous form factors are 3.5″ and the 2.5″. 3.5″ HDDs are usually installed on desktop PCs while 2.5″ HDDs which are smaller are usually found on laptops, notebooks and netbooks. The small 2.5″ HDDs can also be used on desktop PCs provided that the chassis can support this form factor.
A decent amount of storage space will vary on the need of the user. As of this time, 250GB is enough for most people and is usually issued on pre-built desktops and notebooks, enough to do online browsing and word processing. Most hard drives nowadays are offered at higher capacities. If you plan to store a lot of files especially multimedia, I suggest considering getting hard drives at 500GB to 1TB range.
If you are planning to build a desktop PC, check on the available IDE or SATA ports on your chosen motherboard for possible expansion in the future. Laptops have limited slots in this case so evaluate if you need to get higher capacity disks or might as well buy external portable hard drives for mobility.