This is second in a stub series about data safeguarding. Last time I discussed pros and cons of refurbished and white label drives, this article I’ll focus on new desktop drives.

Desktop Drives

Desktop hard drives are what most home users get with either a new workstation or in an external hard drive. Manufacturers try to balance acceptable performance and cost, this is done by striking the right compromise of noise, speed, cache, and warranty.

Noise

These drives are generally quiet as the computer is usually within close proximity to the human operating unit. This is done by primarily lowering the spindle speed

Spindle speed

Spindle speed of the rotating platters is usually 5400-7200 RPM (Revolutions Per Minute), which minimizes the noise perceived by users. Lower spindle speeds will mostly affect access times (Latency), or the time it takes for a drive’s platter to align with the read/write head to access the data.

Cache

Measured in MB, hard drive cache is the small amount of volatile memory used as a buffer when reading and writing to the disk. The HDD will read more data than what is exactly requested, it will read surrounding data as a “guess” to improve efficiency and response times. The more cache your disk has the faster the read and write speeds will seem.

Desktop drives are about on par with (or exceed) their enterprise counterparts in cache, with most drives ranging from 16MB to 256MB.

Warranty

In general, new desktop drives receive minimum 1 year warranty up to 3 years. HDD warranties are about as easy as any other hardware warranty, but the warranty does not extend to the value of the information held on the drive!

A direct correlation of warranty is expected operation time. Desktop drives are not designed for 24/7 use and in high heat environments. Next time we’ll discuss enterprise-class drives.