In this day and age, computers are so commonplace that we don’t even really give them a second thought. Despite how common they are, it would be surprising to realize how few people really know what is inside of them.

One of the more important components is the hard drive. We know that it stores information, but what else do you really know about it? Consider this your guide to hard disc drives and why they are so critical for your computer.

What Does a Hard Disc Drive Do?

The first, and most important, question to answer is, “What does a hard disc drive do?” The most basic explanation is that your hard disc drive is your digital storage container. In any area of tech, there is a storage component where information, files, etc. are all kept.

The hard disc drive in your computer or laptop holds things like music, videos, pictures, programs, documents, preferences, and your entire operating system. Even cooler, these drives can be inside your computer (internal) or connected via an exterior cable (external). Both serve the same purpose, but the latter can be great for upgrading storage sizes.

How Do You Know if You Have Enough Storage?

One of the most common questions asked about hard drives is, “How do I know what size to get?” There are plenty of hard disc drive guides out there to choose from, but the simple answer is that it all depends on what you need.

While that might not be much of an answer, it is the only one. If you are only transferring a few files between your computer and a backup drive or the cloud, then you can get away with a smaller drive. Even an expansion drive should be plenty. If you want to run a ton of different applications or to back up your system on a regular basis, then it helps to have a much larger drive. In this day and age, 500GB seems to be fine, but it never hurts to go over 1TB.

What About Hard Drive Speed?

One of the more underrated aspects of choosing a hard disc drive is deciding on a speed. You will find that spin speed is delineated as rotations per minute (RPM). While it might not be the single most important factor, it is something that you should pay attention to when buying a disc drive.

While a higher speed might seem like it is a lot faster, the jump between 5400-RPM and 7200-RPM is negligible. When it comes to larger files, however, you will definitely see a jump in performance. If you are using your drive more often, then a higher RPM is probably going to be the best option for your needs.

Internal or External

You should definitely have an internal to start with. It is a standard part of any computer or laptop, so you’ll probably have one to begin with. That’s great for built-in storage without having to carry an additional device with you. That said, smaller devices can prove to have limitations.

If you are on the go a lot and transfer files from device to device frequently, then an external hard drive is the best way to go. It couldn’t hurt to have one of both to give yourself the most possible options. It also makes transferring files simple from computer to computer. In the end, you really can’t go wrong either way but it is ideal to have an external available if you transfer files on even a semi-regular basis.