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Types of Hard Drives and How to Choose

There are three main types of hard drives and each provide a different experience for the computer user.


When people think of the word “hard drive” they may generalize it is a rectangular piece of machinery that powers a computer. However, there are several different types of hard drives on the market today and each offers a different benefit for the user experience. Here we will outline the main types of hard drives on the market today, how to choose the right kind for you, and the recovery process for this type of media.

Main Hard Drive Types

Some of the main differences between hard drive types are the data transfer speeds and the connectivity between the drive and the computer. Each drive was designed with different capabilities in mind and have progressed over the years to become smaller and more efficient technology.

The first type of drive is the Serial ATA, which replaced the original Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment (PATA). This original type of attachment used dozens of wire ribbon cables to connect the drive to the computer and transfer data. It became the basis for hard drive construction in the future, which is where Serial ATA or SATA comes in. 

SATA drives are found in desktops and laptops and use thin and flexible wires for data transfer. Their design includes a 7-PIN data connection and there is only one disk drive per SATA controller chip on the motherboard. These drives are considered the most common type on the market today and are supported by almost all computers and operating systems.

The next type of hard drive is a Small Computer System Interface or SCSI. These drives are capable of connecting to peripheral devices like external hard drives, printers, scanners, and more. This drive also works with most computer systems and multiple items can connect to it at once. It is often used with RAID arrays and comes in many types to accommodate different sizes of computer and transfer speeds.

The last and most modern type of hard drive is a Solid-State Drive (SSD). Unlike its competitors, an SSD is not mechanical and instead uses flash memory to operate. They are commonly used in laptops and are even found in modern gaming consoles. Without moving parts, these drives are more reliable as the risk of breaking an internal component is low.

Choosing the Right Drive for You

There are pros and cons to each type of drive and choosing a hard drive comes down to a user’s device and their need for storage and speed. One of the criteria to consider is the HDD Form Factor and refers to the size of the bay on the computer where the hard drive is located. Desktop drives are commonly 3.5 inches while laptop hard drives are 2.5 inches. 

SATA–The pros of a SATA drive are that they have data transmission rates of up to 150 MB per second. It can be connected to a Motherboard using just one cable and speeds can reach up to 10,000 RPMs. The main con is that a SATA uses a magnetic storage form, meaning it is prone to wear and tear like most drives.

SCSI–These small but mighty drives can be connected both internally and externally and are more flexible in RAID arrays. They are well adapted for storing and moving data and are reliable. Unfortunately, there have been many varieties of these drives manufactured over the years and finding the proper connectors is difficult. Overall it is a mostly obsolete drive.

SSD–The biggest advantages to having an SSD are the reliability and data transfer speeds that it features. It consumes less power and has a longer life span. However, these drives are more costly and do not have the same storage capacity as a mechanical drive.

Data Recovery for All Hard Drives

No matter if your hard drive is obsolete by today’s tech standards or a modern drive powering your laptop, the certified engineers at Secure Data Recovery can help. We have worked with all drive types and operating systems and boast an overall 96% success rate for data recovery. If your drive has experienced physical damage or logical damage like accidental deletion, our recovery methods give you the best option at a full recovery of your files. 

Whether you are looking for transfer speeds, reliability, or a compact drive to take on-the-go, data loss is an inevitable part of using a hard drive. Our secure process takes place in a Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom to protect the drive from further damage. We use proprietary recovery tools and are constantly researching new recovery methods for all drive types both current and future. Call us at 1-800-388-1266 to start a case for your hard drive. 

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