These are the best internal hard drives for your PC

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Seagate FireCuda

Seagate FireCuda

Source: Windows Central

Best Internal Hard Drives (HDD) Windows Central 2020

When it comes to storing games, it’s hard to beat the value proposition of the classic hard disk drive (HDD). Sure, it’s old technology at this point, but with high-capacity SSDs still costing significantly more in some cases, it’s no wonder that HDDs have stuck around. Seagate’s FireCuda is still one of the best ones you can buy right now. Its flash-accelerated disk means that load times ought to be faster than traditional hard drives, and it goes up to a 2TB capacity. It also comes in a compact 2.5-inch size, meaning it’ll fit nicely in your case or enclosure.

Best Overall: Seagate FireCuda

Seagate FireCuda

Seagate FireCuda

Source: Windows Central

Not quite a hard drive, not quite an SSD, the Seagate FireCuda blends both storage types into one unit, an SSHD if you will. It features an embedded 8GB NAND along with up to 2TB of traditional storage to create an enhanced drive. The flash unit speeds up read/write speeds. With SATA 6Gb/s support onboard, Seagate promises a 140MB/s read speed. At 5400rpm, the drive itself is quieter and generates less heat.

The benefits of the 8GB NAND aren’t always readily apparent since the drive effectively learns your most used applications and loads them faster. For games, it might help with initial load times after you’ve launched the game a few times. It’s easy to get excited about the possibilities with this drive, but even a SATA SSD will still outpace it by a considerable margin.

The whole point of the FireCuda is to enhance the traditional mechanical hard drive. You can still get higher capacities without breaking the bank, all while experiencing improved performance that is noticeably better than even a 7200rpm HDD.

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Faster than traditional HDDs
  • Five-year warranty

Cons:

  • Still outclassed by SSDs
  • Flash-acceleration results don’t always appear immediately
  • Not as many storage options

Best Overall

Seagate FireCuda

Faster than an HDD

The FireCuda is the perfect option if you want an inexpensive storage option that blends HDD and SSD technology into one package.

Runner-up: Western Digital Black

WD Black

WD Black

Source: Western Digital

Western Digital’s cream of the crop, the Black line, represents some of the best the company has to offer with traditional mechanical hard drives. While not the fastest performer, outdone by both the FireCuda and WD VelociRaptor, the Black drives are solid and reliable. They’re great for game storage, especially titles that don’t need to load super quick like single-player games.

In a world where the FireCuda SSHD doesn’t exist, the WD Black would be my top choice, not only for its performance and reliability, but also for its price. More expensive than its Blue cousin — which we’ll get to in a bit — the Black still represents a great performance-to-value ratio.

Thankfully, Western Digital dropped the “Caviar” moniker, opting for just naming its HDD lines by their respective colors. You can start at as little as 500GB or get up to 6TB, depending on your budget. These are the drives I run in my rig, and I’ve never had a problem. If you’re worried, WD throws in a five-year warranty.

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Reliable
  • Five-year warranty

Cons:

  • Can get loud
  • Outpaced by the FireCuda

Runner-up

WD Black

A solid performer

Western Digital’s flagship HDD line, the Black is a great drive for storing games and other media.

Best Storage: Seagate BarraCuda Pro

BarraCuda Pro

BarraCuda Pro

Source: Seagate

In a similar vein to the WD Black, we have the Seagate BarraCuda Pro series of mechanical hard drives. Sporting Seagate’s most robust reliability claims and a higher warranty than the regular BarraCuda — again, we’ll get to that shortly — the Pro series aims to last for years to come.

The BarraCuda Pro features a 300TB/year workload maximum, so like the WD Black, it’s best left for things like games where you’re not going to be moving them back and forth. It’s a 7200rpm drive that supports SATA 6Gb/s for that fast transfer speed.

Where the BarraCuda Pro outclasses the WD Black is the storage options available. You start at 2TB and can climb up to a ludicrous 14TB. You’ll pay a pretty penny for that much space, though.

Pros:

  • Excellent performance
  • Plenty of storage options
  • Five-year warranty

Cons:

  • Not as good of a value as the WD Black or FireCuda
  • Beaten by the FireCuda for speed

Best Storage

Seagate BarraCuda Pro

Another great HDD

Seagate’s BarraCuda Pro features more storage options that the WD Black, but comes in at a higher price.

Best Performance: Western Digital VelociRaptor

WD VelociRaptor

WD VelociRaptor

Source: Amazon

If you’re looking for best-in-class HDD performance, then look no further than the WD VelociRaptor. Western Digital is a huge name in the hard drive market, best known for a variety of product categories, including internal hard drives. There are several different WD options — Blue for budget, Red for NAS, Black for performance, Purple for surveillance — but the 10,000rpm VelociRaptor is the king among hard disk drives.

However, this drive is pricy and comes in lower storage sizes, not to mention the SSDs still outclass it. The 2TB Kingston A400 SSD, for example, is roughly the same price and runs laps around this drive at double the space. There’s no longer a place for a drive like this.

But, I suppose if you’re set on sticking with HDDs, and don’t want to go with an SSHD, then the VelociRaptor is the best you’ll get in terms of performance. Western Digital also includes a five-year warranty in case anything goes wrong.

Pros

  • Fast 10,000rpm
  • Five-year warranty
  • Highly reliable

Cons

  • Still outclassed by SSDs
  • Questionable value
  • Limited storage options

Best Performance

WD VelociRaptor

High-performance at a price

The fastest HDD available, the WD VelociRaptor is neat, but it’s a questionable value when you consider similarly priced SSDs.

Best Value: Seagate BarraCuda

Seagate BarraCuda

Seagate BarraCuda

Source: Seagate

If you want to save money and get the best bang for your buck, then the Seagate BarraCuda is it. The value here is nothing to sneeze at. Undercutting its own Pro cousin, the regular BarraCuda packs in the same 7200rpm rotational speed, SATA 6Gb/s, and generous storage options.

There isn’t too much else to say here. Frankly, you can’t beat the value of the BarraCuda, and word has it that the reliability of this drive has improved drastically in recent years. One of its biggest downsides from all reports is that it lacks robustness when it comes to random read/write speeds — arguably a better indication of real-world use.

The BarraCuda HDD starts at 1TB and goes up to 8TB, with the value proposition getting better and better at the higher capacities.

Pros:

  • Incredible value
  • Plenty of storage options
  • Two-year warranty
  • Generally a quiet drive

Cons:

  • Sketchy reliability in the past
  • Lower random read/write speeds
  • Shorter warranty than the Pro

Best Value

Seagate BarraCuda

Best bang for your buck

If you need to add storage to your PC and want to keep the price down, the Seagate BarraCuda is the best option.

Most Reliable: Western Digital Blue

WD Blue

WD Blue

Source: Western Digital

Coming in hot behind the BarraCuda is the WD Blue, Western Digital’s budget line of HDDs. They’re essentially comparable to the BarraCuda but generally run for a few bucks more on average. Western Digital has typically had a better reputation for reliability.

The WD Blue is to the Black like the BarraCuda is to the Pro. Essentially, it’s the same drive with a shorter warranty and a few performance tweaks left off to keep costs down. That’s fine, but Western Digital needs to keep an eye out on Seagate and drop its prices a tad to stay competitive beyond simple brand loyalty.

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Several storage options
  • Two-year warranty

Cons:

  • Slightly more expensive than Seagate
  • Some trouble reported with the warranty
  • Shorter warranty than the Black

Most Reliable

WD Blue

Runner-up

The WD Blue line is second only to the BarraCuda in terms of value.

Bottom line

Long gone is the heyday of HDDs, but they’re still a great option if you want the best GB-to-dollar ratio. Seagate and Western Digital remain the big players in this space. Yet, ultimately, our recommendation for the best HDD for your money isn’t really an HDD at all, but the SSHD FireCuda. It packs a great value with some extra performance, outpacing the next runner-up.

As I’ve said multiple times, a SATA SSD will still outclass each of the drives mentioned on this list, even the FireCuda, and VelociRaptor. While you don’t get quite the capacious storage options, you can pick up an SSD as a boot drive for pretty cheap these days. Assuming you want to just bulk up your storage for your games library without breaking the bank, then the Seagate FireCuda is the way to go.

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