Gaming Computer Components: How to Choose a Hard Drive

best hard drive for gamingWelcome back to our Gaming Computer Components series. We’ve already brought you a number of extensive guides on the different components in a PC, so that you can gain the knowledge you need in order to choose the best parts for your gaming computer.

Today, we’ll discuss how to choose a hard drive and why it’s important for your gaming computer. And, although the hard drive isn’t going to have a huge impact on your gaming experience, it will still play an important role…

Therefore, you need to know what to look for when searching for a quality hard drive for your gaming PC.

But, before we get into the details involved with knowing how to choose a hard drive, we first need to discuss what a hard drive is and does…

What is a hard drive?

The hard drive in your gaming computer is the permanent storage location for important data like your operating system, the different software you have, and your personal files.

However, hard drives are not the only kind of storage devices you will find on a high-end gaming computer

Other kinds of storage devices include: CD/DVD drives, flash drives, and floppy drives. The hard drive, though, is the most important of all of these devices and it will play a role in determining the quality of your gaming PC.

The hard drive works by the way of a magnetic, rotating disk. As the disk rotates, data is permanently written and stored on it.

With the hard drive, you can access and modify important information from your operating system and software. This ability to retrieve information comes into play while you are gaming.

Generally speaking, it’s acceptable to believe that the bigger the hard drive (more space equals a bigger hard drive), the better the hard drive.

Although, a hard drive’s storage capacity should not be the only thing that you should consider when purchasing one for your good gaming computer. You also need to take into consideration the speed of a hard drive as well as its ability to perform efficiently.

What To Be Aware of When Choosing the Best Hard Drive for a Good Gaming Computer

There are many different characteristics of a hard drive that you should be aware of so that you can choose the best product possible. These different aspects will be discussed below.

RPM

RPM, or revolutions per minute, tells you how fast a particular hard drive’s magnetic disk can spin. Typically, the faster the disk is able to rotate the better. However, a hard drive’s RPM output doesn’t necessarily determine performance and efficiency.

The reason for this is because the size of the disk plays a role, too…

Platter Density

Platter density is the term that describes the size of the rotating, magnetic disk in your hard drive. The size of the disk is important because it will determine the efficiency of your hard drive.

Also, if the hard drive lists a lower RPM rate than a similar device, but its platter density is a lot higher, then it may be a better product. This is because the disk is bigger and, therefore, at lower RPMs it will still write more data.

So, you should definitely check a hard drive’s platter density AND its RPM rate before making a purchase because checking one without the other would not be looking at all of the information.

Seek Speed

You should also check the hard drive’s seek speed. The seek speed tells how quickly your hard drive can find a specific piece of data or information.

Obviously, the quicker your hard drive can find certain data, the quicker your machine will operate.

Cache

Just like the memory cache on your gaming computer’s video card, the cache on your hard drive allows you to hold temporary information that is important. By allowing you to do this, you can quickly access this information and it will help your games play much more smoothly.

Hard drive’s are available with up to 64 MB of cache. The more you have, the better.

Hard Drive Size

As mentioned earlier in this post, the size of your hard drive is extremely important. You want to choose the biggest and fastest hard drive possible, in accordance with the budget you have set.

Modern hard drives range anywhere from 40-1,000+ GB of storage space. For gaming purposes, we recommend choosing a hard drive with a minimum of 250 GB of space. That way you’ll have enough room to hold all of your games and not have to worry about running out of room.

Connection Interface

The connection interface determines how the hard drive will communicate and send information to the rest of the computer. The quicker the connection, the more efficient your gaming PC will be.

There are really only three kinds of interface connections available: IDE, SCSI, and SATA. Currently, SATA is the only viable option if you are going to build a good gaming computer.

Know How to Choose A Hard Drive for Your Gaming Computer

When choosing a quality hard drive for your gaming PC, you should always remember to use our Elite-3 buying method. Basically, you’ll want to read as many consumer/expert reviews as possible on the product you are considering and you should also always purchase that product from a reputable manufacturer.

By following this method, you can almost guarantee that you will come away with a quality computer component–and even if something does go wrong with it, the fact that you bought a trusted brand will almost always ensure that that manufacturer will take care of any problems you may have.

Aside from our Elite-3 buying method, we recommend the following for those of you looking for an ideal hard drive for your good gaming computer:

  1. Choose a hard drive with at least 80 GB of space. (More extreme systems should be around 150+ GB)
  2. Make sure you get a hard drive with at least 8 MB of cache.
  3. Pick out a hard drive that hits at least 7,200 RPM.
  4. Ensure that it will be compatible with your motherboard. (SATA, SATA II, etc.)
  5. If you are going to combine two hard drives (RAID), make sure you get two identical drives.
  6. Buy from a trusted manufacturer, like Western Digital and Seagate.

By following these tips, you will have a much easier time choosing a quality hard drive for your gaming computer.

Get the Right Hard Drive for Your Needs

The hard drive may not be the component that stands out the most in a gaming computer, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. The hard drive will determine how many games and files you can hold and that can be a big factor for someone who likes to play a lot of different games. So, make sure that you know how to choose a hard drive for your gaming PC.

If you have read this guide, then we feel that you are more than capable of going out there and choosing a quality hard drive for your gaming PC. Just remember to do your research and buy from a trusted manufacturer.

For more information on good gaming computers, feel free to contact us. We’d be glad to help you out with your gaming computer build. And, don’t forget to bookmark this page, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and most importantly, subscribe to our newsletter and join us on the forums.

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