Hard drives are in all sorts of electronics these days, and the technically minded among us have taken to upgrading them wherever they are–in DVRs, iPods, laptops, cameras, gaming systems, and more. If you’re trying to figure out whether you should upgrade the hard drive in one of your devices, here are some things to consider before purchasing a new drive.
1. Capacity. The most obvious reason to upgrade the hard drive in a device is capacity, but there are a few things that you should know. First of all, many non-computer devices are programmed to only recognize a hard drive of a certain size, so be sure to do a Google search for “ugrade hard drive on (the device in question)” before making any purchases. Also, devices with small hard drives like iPods usually have specially built drives from model to model, so an 80GB iPod hard drive may be too large to fit in a 60GB iPod’s casing. Do some research on your device to make sure that a larger hard drive will actually work in it.
2. Speed. The speed of a hard drive affects its performance, and therefore the performance of your entire computer, so it’s important to make sure you’ve got a fast hard drive. Most hard drives these days are at least 7200RPM, but some laptop manufacturers use cheaper 4800RPM hard drives in their computers. If you’ve got one of these slower drives, it’ll be worth your time and money to upgrade, because you’re probably not getting the fastest possible speed from your computer as a result. Faster hard drives are also thought to be slightly more stable, and degrade less noticeably over time.
3. Brand. I would immediately upgrade any hard drive from a generic brand, because the cost of hard drive production is pretty staggering and can only be handled well on a large scale. Large hard drive companies simply make a better product. Some of the major hard drive companies are Seagate, Western Digital, Maxtor (now part of Seagate), Toshiba, Fujitsu, Hitachi, and Samsung. There are a few more, but you’ll do fine if you buy a drive from one of those manufacturers.
4. Interface. When replacing a hard drive, make sure you buy a drive with the same interface as the drive you’re upgrading. Common interface types are SCSI, EIDE, and SATA. Of course, small hard drive devices like the iPod will require a specially built iPod drive–be sure to match the model number before making any buys.
If you’ve got any tips for buing a new hard drive, post them in our comments section below.