How much does it cost to get a hard drive?

When looking to purchase a new hard drive, one of the most important factors to consider is the cost. Hard drives can range greatly in price depending on the capacity, form factor, interface, and features. In this comprehensive guide, we will look at the key factors that influence the cost of a hard drive and provide price ranges for different drive types and capacities.

What Influences the Cost of a Hard Drive?

There are several key factors that determine the cost of a hard drive:

  • Capacity – The data storage capacity of the drive. Higher capacity drives cost more.
  • Form factor – The physical size and interface of the drive. Smaller form factors tend to cost more.
  • RPM – The rotational speed of internal hard disk drives (HDDs), measured in revolutions per minute (RPM). Faster RPMs enable better performance but also increase cost.
  • Cache size – The amount of fast access onboard cache memory. More cache can improve performance but also raises the price.
  • Interface – The connection interface between the computer and the drive. Newer interfaces like USB 3.0/Thunderbolt incur a price premium.
  • Brand name – Major brands like Seagate, WD, and Toshiba are generally more expensive than lesser-known brands.
  • Features – Advanced features like encryption, backup software, and drive health monitoring can add to the cost.

Generally, the biggest factor that influences cost is the capacity. Higher capacity drives have more demand from both consumer and business markets and also require more components, driving up the manufacturing costs. Professional enterprise-grade drives also command a premium price versus mainstream consumer models. We’ll take a closer look at how capacity affects price in the next section.

How Does Capacity Affect the Cost of a Hard Drive?

When it comes to hard drive pricing, capacity is king. More data storage costs more money. While very low capacity drives under 500GB can be relatively affordable, most mainstream drives today are 1TB or higher. Here’s an overview of how drive cost scales with capacity:

Capacity Price Range
128GB-256GB $25-$50
500GB $35-$60
1TB $40-$80
2TB $50-$100
4TB $80-$150
6TB-8TB $120-$250
10TB-12TB $200-$400
14TB-16TB $300-$550
18TB+ $400-$900

As you can see, doubling the capacity roughly doubles the price or adds $40-$100 to the cost. While 1TB drives are now commonplace, higher capacities of 10TB and up still come at a premium, especially for consumer HDDs. For the highest capacity drives over 18TB, the per GB cost starts to come down slightly but the total price remains very high.

How Much Do Internal Hard Drives (HDDs) Cost?

Internal hard disk drives are the most common drives used in desktop PCs, servers, NAS devices, and DVRs. Here are the typical price ranges for internal HDDs by form factor and capacity:

3.5-inch Desktop HDDs

  • 500GB – $35-$60
  • 1TB – $40-$80
  • 2TB – $50-$100
  • 4TB – $80-$150
  • 6TB – $120-$200
  • 8TB – $150-$250
  • 10TB-12TB – $200-$400
  • 14TB-16TB – $300-$550

3.5-inch hard drives are the most affordable, starting around $35 for a 500GB drive from entry-level brands. Mainstream 1-2TB drives run $40-$100. Higher capacity 4TB+ models get progressively more expensive but offer the best TB-per-dollar value.

2.5-inch Laptop HDDs

  • 500GB – $45-$65
  • 1TB – $50-$95
  • 2TB – $70-$150

2.5-inch notebook hard drives carry a small premium over desktop drives. Costs can range from around $45 for a 500GB model up to around $150 for a high-performance 2TB drive.

Enterprise HDDs

  • 4TB – $200-$400
  • 6TB – $250-$600
  • 8TB – $350-$700
  • 10TB+ – $400-$1000

Enterprise and server-class hard drives demand a significant price premium over mainstream drives due to enhanced performance, higher reliability, and longer warranties. Expect to pay at least double the cost of a standard drive.

How Much Do External Hard Drives Cost?

External hard drives come in both HDD and SSD formats and connect via USB, eSATA, or Thunderbolt. External HDDs carry a small price premium over their internal counterparts due to the enclosure and connectivity. Here are typical external HDD price ranges:

Portable External HDDs

  • 500GB – $50-$75
  • 1TB – $55-$95
  • 2TB – $65-$120
  • 4TB – $90-$170

Portable external HDDs using 2.5-inch laptop drives are popular for those who need redundant backups or extra storage space for music, photos, and videos. Costs range from around $50 for 500GB to $170 for high-capacity 4TB models.

Desktop External HDDs

  • 3TB – $80-$150
  • 4TB – $100-$200
  • 6TB – $130-$250
  • 8TB – $150-$300
  • 10TB+ – $200-$400

Desktop external HDDs with 3.5-inch drives offer the most affordable TB-per-dollar but sacrifice portability. These are popular for network attached storage and backups. Expect to pay $80-$400 based on capacity.

How Much Do Solid State Drives (SSDs) Cost?

SSDs are much faster and more reliable than HDDs, but carry a significant price premium. NAND flash memory costs more than magnetic platters. Here are the going rates for SATA and M.2 SSDs:

2.5-inch SATA SSDs

  • 128GB – $25-$50
  • 250GB – $40-$70
  • 500GB – $50-$100
  • 1TB – $80-$170
  • 2TB – $140-$300
  • 4TB – $400-$900

2.5-inch SATA SSDs are the most popular internal SSD option for both laptops and desktops. Costs have come down steadily, with 500GB drives available under $100 and 1TB under $200. High-capacity 4TB models still command $400+.


  • 128GB – $30-$60
  • 250GB – $45-$80
  • 500GB – $50-$120
  • 1TB – $100-$250
  • 2TB – $200-$450

M.2 NVMe SSDs are the fastest interface for internal SSDs with maximum throughput around 3500MB/s. They carry a small premium over SATA SSDs, especially for higher capacities. 1TB M.2 drives run $100-$250.

External SSDs

  • 500GB – $80-$170
  • 1TB – $130-$250
  • 2TB – $300-$700

External SSDs with USB/Thunderbolt connectivity target professional users who value portability, speed, and ruggedness. While more expensive than external HDDs, they take up minimal space and withstand more abuse.

Choosing the Right Hard Drive

With this overview of price ranges, you can better match your budget to your storage needs. For most mainstream users, a 1TB desktop HDD for around $50 or a 500GB SATA SSD under $100 will offer the best value. Power users may want a 2TB HDD or 1TB SSD coupled with an external backup drive. For media collections and Plex servers, look to high-capacity 6TB+ HDDs.

Enterprise users and specialty workstations will need higher-performance HDDs or SSDs in RAID setups. 10K/15K RPM drives and ultra-fast NVMe storage provide professional-grade responsiveness but cost many times more than consumer models. Plan to spend $250+ for high-end internal drives and closer to $500+ for cutting-edge SSDs like Samsung’s 980 Pro.

Don’t forget to factor in warranties as well. Most hard drives come with 1-3 year manufacturer warranties. Extended warranties that provide 3-5 years of coverage are wise for important drives storing irreplaceable data or running in critical systems.


The cost of hard drives scales up rapidly with higher capacities and faster performance. But even with prices rising over 1TB, internal HDD storage remains very affordable in the range of 5-10 cents per GB. External drives carry a small premium but provide convenient plug-and-play extras storage and strong portability.

For most home and office needs, a good 1TB or 2TB hard drive in the $50-$100 range will offer plentiful capacity. Power users will need to spring for 4TB+ drives under $200 to accommodate large multimedia libraries. At the top end, professionally-oriented 10K RPM HDDs and blazing fast M.2 NVMe SSDs can quickly scale from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Understanding your space requirements and performance needs will make selecting the right drive at the right price much simpler. And remember to balance upfront cost savings with long term value – higher quality drives can save headaches down the road. With the right research and shopping, you can easily find high-capacity hard drives and ultra-fast SSDs that fit comfortably within your budget.