Which internal hard drive is best for PC?

When choosing an internal hard drive for your PC, there are a few key factors to consider: capacity, speed, form factor, and reliability. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the pros and cons of different internal drive options to help you pick the best one for your needs and budget.

What capacity hard drive is best?

The capacity (size) of the internal drive refers to how much data it can store, measured in gigabytes (GB) or terabytes (TB). Nowadays, most desktop computers come with at least a 1TB hard drive. Here are some general capacity guidelines:

  • 250GB to 500GB – Good for basic computing needs, like web browsing, office work, etc.
  • 1TB to 2TB – Ideal for mainstream use, allows storing photos, music, videos, games, etc.
  • 3TB to 4TB – Great if you have large multimedia libraries or store lots of games/programs.
  • 6TB to 10TB – Only required for specialized needs like video editing, 3D rendering, etc.

For most users, a 1TB to 2TB HDD provides the best balance of capacity and value. Power users may need 3TB or more. Make sure to get a drive with enough room for all your files to avoid filling up too quickly.

What interface and RPM speed should you look for?

The interface and rotational speed (RPM) determine how fast your hard drive can transfer data to and from the PC. Let’s compare the options:


  • Most common modern interface for HDDs and SSDs
  • Provides 6Gbps maximum bandwidth
  • Compatible with SATA I and II

SATA Express

  • Newer standard, not widely adopted yet
  • Provides up to 16Gbps transfer speeds
  • Backward compatible with SATA interfaces

5400 RPM

  • Standard speed for energy efficiency
  • Performs adequately for typical desktop use

7200 RPM

  • Faster drive speed for better performance
  • Recommended for gaming PCs or performance-intensive tasks

10,000 to 15,000 RPM

  • Top-of-the-line HDD speeds for max performance
  • Mostly found in servers or high-end workstations
  • Produce more noise and vibration due to faster spins

For regular home and office PCs, a SATA III interface and 7200 RPM speed offer the best balance of speed and affordability. Gamers and power users may want a faster 10,000 RPM+ drive.

3.5-inch vs 2.5-inch Hard Drives

Hard drives come in two physical sizes known as form factors. Let’s compare them:


  • Larger size drive, requires dedicated bays in desktop cases
  • Offer higher capacities, up to 10TB per drive
  • Require external power from PSU to operate
  • The most common choice for desktop PCs


  • Smaller size drive, commonly used in laptops
  • Capacities up to 2TB currently
  • Can be powered just via motherboard interface
  • Allows building compact PC systems

While 2.5-inch drives are convenient for portable systems, 3.5-inch HDDs are generally recommended for desktops due to their larger capacities and better value per gigabyte. However, 2.5-inch drives allow more flexible mountings if space is limited.

Internal Hard Drive Reliability

The reliability of your hard drive determines how likely you are to lose your precious files and data due to a drive failure. Some factors impacting reliability:

  • MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) – This spec measures how long a drive is expected to last, on average, before failing. A higher MTBF indicates better reliability.
  • Warranty – Drive warranties usually range from 1 to 5 years. Longer warranties inspire more confidence.
  • Workload – Drives handling heavier workloads tend to wear out quicker.
  • Quality – Drives from reputable brands are less prone to defects and premature failure.

For optimal reliability, choose an internal drive with an MTBF over 1 million hours and at least a 3 to 5 year manufacturer warranty. Leading drive makers like Western Digital and Seagate are safe bets.

Internal Hard Drive Noise

HDDs contain moving mechanical parts that generate audible noise during operation. Here are some factors that affect noise level:

  • RPM – Faster spinning drives produce more noise. 7200 RPM models are noisier than 5400 RPM ones.
  • Quality – Low quality drives can vibrate and make annoying sounds.
  • Capacity – Larger platter sizes often increase noise levels slightly.
  • Operations – Seek noises and spin-ups are most audible.

If you want the quietest PC, look for low RPM drives around 5400 RPM, install them in cases with sound dampening, and use SSDs for programs and apps that need fast access. For those less concerned about noise, most 7200 RPM drives work fine with proper case cooling.

Top Internal Hard Drive Brands

When shopping for an internal hard drive, stick to trusted major brands for the best quality and reliability. Here are some top options:

Western Digital

  • One of the largest storage vendors worldwide
  • Wide range of models for any need and budget
  • Reliable drives with competitive pricing
  • Popular product lines: WD Blue, WD Black, WD Red


  • Another huge storage company known for HDD innovation
  • Comprehensive product portfolio
  • Dependable drives with decent performance
  • Popular models: BarraCuda, IronWolf, SkyHawk


  • Produces consistent, high-quality HDDs
  • Very quiet drives great for quiet PC builds
  • Affordable pricing on entry level models
  • Leading laptop drive manufacturer


  • Owned by Western Digital but operate independently
  • Known for reliable server and NAS hard drives
  • 3 to 5 year standard warranties
  • Quiet acoustics

In summary, you generally can’t go wrong buying major brands like these, which offer competitive specs, performance, warranties, and prices on their hard drives. Do some comparisons to find the right model for your specific needs and budget.

Our Top Internal Hard Drive Picks

Here are some of the best internal hard drives to consider across various needs and budgets:

Hard Drive Capacity RPM Form Factor Interface Warranty
WD Blue 1TB 1TB 5400 RPM 3.5″ or 2.5″ SATA III 2 Years
Seagate BarraCuda 2TB 2TB 7200 RPM 3.5″ SATA III 2 Years
WD Black 4TB 4TB 7200 RPM 3.5″ SATA III 5 Years
Toshiba X300 6TB 6TB 7200 RPM 3.5″ SATA III 3 Years
WD Red 10TB 10TB 5400 RPM 3.5″ SATA III 3 Years

The WD Blue 1TB provides a budget-friendly option for basic computing. The Seagate BarraCuda 2TB offers a nice sweet spot for capacity and performance. Gamers and power users will appreciate the larger 4TB or 6TB WD Black and Toshiba X300. And those needing massive NAS storage can turn to the 10TB WD Red.


Choosing the right internal hard drive involves considering factors like capacity, speed, form factor, reliability, noise, and brand. For regular desktop PCs, we recommend 7200 RPM SATA III hard drives from trusted brands like Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, or Hitachi in capacities from 1TB to 6TB. Make sure to select a drive with enough storage space for all your files and backups. Pair it with a SSD boot drive for optimal speed and performance. With some informed shopping, you can find a great internal hard drive to serve your PC storage needs.