Hard drives can now be divided into two categories: SSD and old school (spinning disk hard drive). SSD is the newer technology, and will probably one day replace the old school hard drives. In them mean time, however, they are very cost prohibitive to produce at larger capacities. Rather than asking you to choose one technology over the other, the best choice is to go with both technologies at the same time. In other words, the best configuration at present is to select an SSD for your primary hard drive and an older spinning hard disk for your secondary.
Utilizing the performance advantages of the SSD hard drive, I recommend installing the operating system and one or two of your favorite games on the SSD. Because the SSD is only going to be about 120-250GB, you will only be able to install a select few games on this hard drive. The operating system and any games installed on the SSD will load windows and games significantly faster. In addition, the data will be much safer as there are no moving parts to speak of involved with SSD. very cool. The important metric to consider with SSD’s is their read/write speed, but since there is no easily enforceable standard in place it’s best to read customer reviews. StealthMachines recommends Intel and Mushkin brand SSD hard drives.
Spinning hard disk drives are nothing new. They have been around for over a decade. Spinning hard drives are capable of enormous disk capacities, are cost effective, and are tried and tested solutions to nearly every application you throw at them. The important metric to consider when purchasing a spinning disk drive are capacity, cost, RPM, and cache size. You should be able to get several terabytes of storage for a very affordable price. RPM should always be 7200 RPM’s or more. With cache size, the more the merrier. As I said, spinning disk drives are generally cheaper, although in 2011 there was a major market scare due to flooding at the major manufacturing facilities. Western Digital and Seagate are the only brands I trust consistently, although companies like Maxtor and Hitachi will occasionally dress to impress.
If you are on a budget, go with a single hard old school hard drive. The performance is still decent, and you will need that extra capacity. If you have some extra change that you have not already allocated to a solid primary graphics card, memory, power supply, etc. then definitely consider an SSD in addition to an old school hard drive. Never purchase an SSD by itself unless the SSD is at least 250GB and/or you plan on adding a second data hard drive on your own. Personally, I rather enjoy watching my computer boot up in seconds, and that is something you will only understand after you purchase your first SSD.
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