Best Hard Drive

Best Hard Drive 2024: Top HDDs for Your Gaming PC

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Though there are plenty of products on the market, the best hard drive options are harder to discern. Though often spurned these days in favor of SSDs, hard disk drives (HDDs) are still highly capable storage solutions, and well worth the cost of purchase. But with such a saturated market, it can be hard to know what the best options are.

We’ve put together an array of product options across a range of different needs, to ensure that you have a diversity of HDDs to choose from. From high-end gaming hard drive solutions to a budget-friendly means of housing spare documents and data, we’re sure to have the right HDD for you.

Best Hard Drive: Seagate IronWolf Pro NAS

IronWolf NAS 10TB

Hard Disk Interface

eSATA

Special Feature

Portable

Hard Disk Form Factor

3.5 Inches

Pros
  • High-performance with fast read-write speeds
  • NAS-compatible for multiple devices
Cons
  • Setup is more difficult, especially for NAS

With sizes ranging from as little as 2TB all the way up to 24TB, the Seagate IronWolf Pro NAS is our top spot for the best hard drive on the market today. Boasting an array of professional storage features, including NAS compatibility, this range of hard drives is sure to suit every need.

Boasting a 7200RPM spindle and a 256MB cache, the IronWolf drives are responsive and fast-loading. Rated for a 2 million-hour mean time between failures (MTBF), these HDDs are sure to stay reliable in the long-run and can handle consistent long-term use. The multi-bay NAS compatibility allows for multiple devices to connect over the same network, expanding this hard drive’s reach. There’s a lot to love about the IronWolf drives.

However, there’s one aspect of the drives that we don’t love. Initial configuration can be time-consuming, which makes these drives less plug-and-play than we would like. It’s their only flaw, and with such a wide range of options all boasting top performance, you can’t go wrong with the IronWolf.

Best Budget Hard Drive: Western Digital Blue

WD 8TB

Hard Disk Interface

Serial ATA

Special Feature

Data Recovery Service

Hard Disk Form Factor

3.5 Inches

Pros
  • Affordable price point
  • Responsive drives with ample storage
Cons
  • Not suitable as high-end HDDs

For a great ratio of price to performance, consider the Western Digital Blue range of HDDs. We’ve crowned their models as the best budget options across a range of memory sizes, such as our rankings of the best 8TB HDDs, and these high-quality low-cost drives continue to impress.

With sizes ranging from 2TB up to 8TB, there’s an array of different options available for home or office PC storage. These drives also have a low draw power, meaning that they have low ongoing costs as well as upfront ones. Installation is quick and easy, and the drive is responsive under general duty cycles. Factor all that in with the lower-than-average price, and the Blue drives are well worth their money.

That may not be the case for those requiring high-end performance, however, as the Blue series drives aren’t suitable as gaming HDDs or performance-intensive hard drives. They compensate with great low prices, and are the best budget hard drives on the market.

Best External Hard Drive: LaCie Rugged Raid Shuttle

LaCie Rugged Raid Shuttle

LaCie Rugged Raid Shuttle

Hard Disk Interface

SATA

Special Feature

Portable

Installation Type

External Hard Drive

Pros
  • Highly durable and resistant
  • Large storage sizes
Cons
  • Unsuitable for running programs

Designed by the legendary Neil Poulton, the LaCie Rugged Raid Shuttle is a phenomenal external hard drive, suited for a wide range of storage use cases. LaCie hard drives are among the best in the business, and we’re happy to call this model our favorite.

Water and dust-resistant, along with a rubber shell to prevent impact (giving LaCie hard drives their iconic orange exterior), the Rugged Raid Shuttle is portable without worrying about damage. Whilst other LaCie external hard drives are quite chunky, the Raid Shuttle is wider but thinner, allowing it to sit more comfortably alongside a PC or laptop. With sizes between 2TB and 8TB, you’ve got an array of options for size.

That said, these LaCie external hard drives are far from perfect. They can’t be used as an active drive in the same ways as internal drives can, which means storing applications and other programs that require fast read-write speeds can be difficult. For a portable storage solution, the LaCie Rugged Raid Shuttle is an ideal candidate.

Best RAID Hard Drive: Western Digital Red Pro

Western Digital 4TB WD Red Pro NAS Internal Hard Drive

Size

3.5 inches

Hardware interface

SATA 6.0 Gb/s

Cache

256

Pros
  • Great RAID array for NAS storage
  • Responsive and fast operation
Cons
  • Higher than average noise level

A crucial factor for setting up a reliable NAS system is having a Redundant Array of Independent Disks – or RAID – system. Whilst our top pick is the best all-rounder with RAID compatibility, the Western Digital Red Pro is the top choice for implementing RAID into your storage system.

Marketed towards business needs, the Red Pro drives are designed for 24/7 operation, with an MTBF of over 2.5 million hours. In an array of sizes from 2TB up to 22TB, there are plenty of means to scale your storage suitably to your needs. With vibration compensation to prevent drive errors and a heatsink to keep operation cool, this drive is an ideal productivity solution – topped off with incredibly easy-to-use RAID accommodation.

If we had to pick a flaw with the Red Pro drives, it would likely be the noise: though most HDDs, especially at larger sizes, run with some noise; the Red Pro units can be significantly more audible. It’s a small issue to overcome, however, and we still recommend the Red Pro drives as top storage solutions, and a tremendous RAID hard drive.

Best Mid-Range Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda Pro

Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200RPM

Storage

2TB

Cache

256MB

Speed

7200RPM

Pros
  • Data Recovery system
  • Rated with a high MTBF for constant use
Cons
  • Lower read-write speeds

If you want Seagate hard drive quality without paying the price tag attached to an IronWolf model, consider the Seagate Barracuda range. Though not as high-end, these HDDs are great alternatives to Seagate’s top range.

Coming in a range of sizes, from 1TB to 14TB, the Barracuda range is a great mid-range storage solution. Coming with built-in Data Recovery systems to keep your data safe in the event of an accident, and the drives are rated for a long use cycle per year without error. Installation is quick and easy, and the drive is ready to use in no time at all.

However, the overall read-write speeds are slower on the Barracuda, due to a slower-running 5400RPM spindle. This makes the Barracuda range unsuited as a high-end gaming hard drive, but a tremendous mid-range option.

Best Hard Drive for Photographers: LaCie Rugged Mini

LaCie Rugged Mini

LaCie Rugged Mini

Hard Disk Interface

Mechanical Hard Disk

Special Feature

Damage Resistant

Installation Type

External Hard Drive

Pros
  • Highly portable and durable
  • Comes with Adobe Suite trial
Cons
  • Lower maximum storage size

Hard drives are an essential for any photographer: enabling the easy transferring and backing up of RAW photo and video whilst on the go. For the ultimate storage solution, we picked the LaCie Rugged Mini, which combines the effectiveness of the best LaCie hard drive options into a compact but effective unit.

The Rugged Mini boasts all the same efficiencies of the larger Rugged Raid Shuttle: impact resistance and weather-sealing both make a return. However, with a pocket-sized design and a hyper-fast USB 3.0 port, the Rugged Mini is all the more efficient and useful for importing hefty files – both RAW photos and large video codec files. It also comes with a month’s free trial of Adobe Creative Cloud, allowing you to edit that same content at minimal expense.

Whilst it’s also still not suited as a direct drive, the Rugged Mini also struggles to be a top-tier external hard drive, as it’s maximum storage size is only 4TB. If you have a large backlog to back up, the Rugged Mini may not be the best option, but it’s a great portable LaCie hard drive for photographers.

Seagate vs Western Digital: Which is the Best Hard Drive Brand?

The comparison between Seagate hard drives and Western Digital hard drives is difficult, as both brands have numerous different tiers and models types to suit different needs. Both Seagate and Western Digital hard drives have top-performing drives: tremendously powerful and capable HDDs capable of great speeds and high storage capacities.

If you were to compare two equivalent models, the general consensus is that Seagate hard drives are marginally more reliable than Western Digital drives, but Western Digital HDDs are marginally cheaper in price. This is far from universal, however: there are budget Seagate drives just as there are highly-dependable Western Digital ones – in fact, both companies offer top-shelf performance regardless of the quirks of models.

If forced to pick one hard drive solution, however, we’d likely opt for the Seagate: they offer improved configuration options, and have a broader catalog of products (given that they own LaCie and other drive manufacturers, as well as their own range).

HDD vs SSD: Which Should You Buy?

Equally contentious is the debate between HDD and SSD: depending on your particular needs, there are various merits and demerits to both. Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) store their data on spinning magnetic plates, which read and write to the disk via a fast spindle – with the speed determining the drive’s overall responsiveness. They’re often more affordable, but the moving components make them more prone to failure.

SSDs – or Solid State Drives – on the other hand, use “flash cells” rather than moving parts to store data. This makes them faster and more impact-resistant, but are more expensive. Many opt for SSDs for their primary PC drive for their fast boot-up speeds, but use an additional external or internal HDD to store additional files. A healthy combination of both is generally considered the best option, but consider one or the other depending on your needs.

FAQs

How can you recover deleted data from a hard drive?

Unless a drive is completely destroyed, it’s possible to at least partially retrieve some deleted data from a hard drive. Some offer built-in recovery services, otherwise there are a number of online options.

What is the lifespan of an HDD?

Most HDDs can last up to five years before failing, though correct care and storage can potentially prolong this. Due to the reliance on moving components, the chance of failure is higher, however.

In Summary

That concludes our ranking of the best hard drive options on the market in 2024. Whether you need a compact external storage solution or an intensive gaming HDD, we hope you found the right product to suit your needs.

Looking to upgrade your console’s storage? Check out our guide on the best SSDs for PS5 today!

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