Written by Richard

Advice on internal hard drives

You place an internal hard drive in a laptop, desktop PC, NAS, or console and use it to store all your files. As such, the internal hard drive is the storage place for your operating system, movies, photos, videos, documents, and all kinds of other data. We'll explain what to pay attention to when choosing a hard drive.

Choose hard drive

There is quite a bit involved when purchasing an internal hard drive. Of course, you don't want to choose the wrong one. Make sure to ask yourself the following things:

  • Which device do you use an internal hard drive for?
  • What type of internal hard drive do I need?
  • How many files do you want to save?
  • At what speed do you want to transfer files?
  • Which format and which connections do you need?
  • What accessories do you need?

1. For which device do you use an internal hard disk?

There are many different devices that use an internal hard drive as storage space. Think of your laptop, desktop PC, NAS and even your game console. Each device is designed for a different purpose and therefore makes different demands on your internal hard drive.

For your NAS

The disk of a NAS works 24 hours a day, often in a setup. An unsuitable disc can become hot due to intensive use, vibrate and consume a lot of power. Special drives for NAS are energy efficient, have technology to reduce vibrations and are optimized to work day and night.

For your laptop, desktop or console

You often use your desktop, laptop or console alternately and ask - depending on the program or the game that is running - a lot or little data from the disk. Internal hard drives for these devices have been modified to accommodate this irregular use. They have lower energy consumption, produce less heat and adjust the read and write speed. Demanding users such as PC gamers or creative professionals can work with a higher cache or even a dual-core processor for faster processing.

For security storage

Do you use a NAS to store video from IP cameras? Then you opt for a hard drive that is specially optimized for storing surveillance images. These discs have a large workload due to the often high resolution of video images. This means that they process large flows of video files smoothly. In addition, they contain technology that prevents video files from missing seconds of material due to writing errors. Moreover, they are energy-efficient and vibrate less.

2. What type of internal hard drive do I need?

If you want to expand the internal storage of your device, you have 3 options: A Hard Disk Drive (HDD), an SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Drive) or a Solid State Drive (SSD). You can connect the 3 types of internal hard disks in each device, provided you choose the correct formats and connections.


An HDD consists of a flat metal cylinder in a rectangular frame. This cylinder is continuously described and read by a writing and reading head, just like an old record player. All your files are stored on these layers. The advantage of an HDD is that per GB is cheaper than an SSD, but it is much less fast than an SSD or an SSHD.


An SSHD is a combination of an HDD and an SSD. The drive has a built-in SSD cache - with a limited storage capacity of 8 GB. This cache memory is meant to get your operating system up and running quickly and quickly. The storage of your personal files such as photos, videos and text documents is done on the HDD. This gives you the best of both worlds. If you always want a fast hard drive, choose an SSHD.


An SSD has no moving parts such as an HDD. Your files are stored in chips, just like in small SD cards. This makes an SSD quieter, more economical, more durable and considerably faster than an HDD. The speed of SSDs is different, but an SSD is up to 10 times faster than an HDD. This will start your computer in about 15 seconds. An SSD is more expensive than an HDD per GB of storage capacity.

3. How many files do you want to save?

To know how much storage capacity you need, determine how you use the device in which you install the hard drive. Do you prefer to store all your files such as holiday photos, game files, HD movies and text documents on one disk? Or are you a fanatical gamer, demanding film fan or creative professional?

Appliances offer more functionalities and graphically more powerful possibilities. Think of playing or editing HD and 4K movies, playing games in high resolution or documents with lots of footage. Therefore, when determining the storage space, keep in mind that files require more and more storage capacity over time. In addition, your operating system also takes up part of the storage space. As you use your computer for longer, this becomes more, because programs make all kinds of adjustments and extensions to your system files.

Storage capacity

10 4K movies 20 4K movies 30 4K movies 40 4K movies
100 HD movies 200 HD movies 300 HD movies 400 HD movies
1 backup 2 backups 3 backups 4 backups
20,400 high-resolution photos 40,800 high-resolution photos 61,200 high-resolution photos 244,800 high-resolution photos

4. What determines the speed of your internal hard drive?

HDDs and SSDs are both different technologies, therefore the speed varies depending on the type of disc. Note that the cables and connections you use also affect how fast your internal hard drive works in practice.

Speed ​​of an HDD

Because the disk of an HDD is continuously rotating, data is read and described. This is called the number of rotations per minute (rpm). There are 3 types of rpm speeds: 7200 rpm, 5400 rpm and a variable rpm.

HDD speed

7,200RPM 5,400RPM 5900 rpm / variable
Fast Less rapidly Switches speed
Less energy efficient Energy-efficient Adjusts energy consumption
Best suited for desktop Most suitable for laptop Best suited for 24/7 RAID setup

Cache memory

The location where the hard disk temporarily stores files is called the cache memory. This is expressed in megabytes (MBs). The more MB cache a disk has, the smoother files are loaded. The advantage of having more cache is especially noticeable when working with a large amount of files at the same time, for example when you create an album in a photo program.

Speed ​​of an SSD

Because an SSD has no mechanical parts , it is considerably faster than an HDD. Manufacturers express the read and write speeds of an SSD in the number of megabytes per second. The average of an SSD is around 500MB / s. A high-resolution HD movie of 10 GB is therefore transferred in 20 seconds.

5. What format and connections do you need?

An internal HDD, SSHD or SSD must fit well in your device to make use of it. Here you can read which format and connection you need for your internal hard drive. When installing a 2.5 inch internal hard disk in your laptop, be aware of the disk. A 9mm height disk is too thick for a laptop that fits a 7mm disk.

2.5 inch and 3.5 inch formats

HDDs, SSHDs and SSDs exist mainly in 2.5 inch and 3.5 inch size. 2.5 inch discs are smaller and therefore more suitable for devices with a small or narrow size such as laptops. You can install a 2.5 inch internal hard drive with a mounting bracket - or bracket - as a 3.5 inch disc. The other way around is not possible. The hard drive is simply too big for this and does not fit into your device.

SATA connection

2.5 inch and 3.5 inch drives can be connected via a SATA cable. SATA is a connection that has been used for a long time and has since received several updates. These connections offer a speed of 1.5 Gbps (SATA I), 3 Gbps (SATA II) and 6 Gbps (SATA III). Make sure you purchase the right SATA cable for your internal hard drive. Otherwise you will not benefit from the maximum speed.


2.5 inch discs

  • Suitable for laptops
  • Suitable for consoles
  • Suitable for barebones

3.5-inch drives

  • Suitable for desktops
  • Suitable for NAS
  • Suitable for media players

Deviating formats and connections for SSDs

SSDs are available in various different formats: M.2, mSATA and PCIe. All these types of SSDs connect directly to the motherboard, without cable. Make sure your motherboard has the correct connection for your SSD.

M.2, PCIe and mSATA


This type of SSD card is inserted directly into the motherboard and is available in multiple lengths. Note that there are 3 types of M.2 'keys or keys': B, M and B + M. The word 'key' refers to the notch in the M.2 card. If you have a wrong M.2 SSD key, it will not work in the computer. Check the key before purchasing an M.2 SSD. Also check which speed or 'interface' supports your motherboard, otherwise you will not benefit from the maximum speed.


A PCIe SSD often consists of an M.2 SSD mounted on a PCIe card. If you have a motherboard with a PCIe connection and you want to connect an SSD to it, then you choose a PCIe SSD.


This is a small type of SSD developed for laptops. You connect the SSD via the mSATA port directly to the motherboard of a laptop. You can also use an mSATA SSD in a desktop, provided the motherboard has an mSATA connection, or use an adapter to SATA.

6. What accessories do you need?

When installing your new internal hard drive in your desktop PC you only need a connection cable, these are often not included. In addition, you can do more with your internal hard drive, for example, place it in a housing or docking station. This is how you use it as an external hard drive.

SATA cables

SATA cables are required to connect your internal hard drive to your computer, laptop, NAS or game console. Take a SATA III cable to make sure that you have the highest speed.


You will give your old internal hard drive - which you replace with your new internal hard drive - a second life by placing it in a housing. This makes an external hard drive an internal hard drive.

Docking stations

In a docking station, you can click an internal hard drive to connect it externally to a computer or laptop. This way you use it to transfer your operating system and backups to a new internal hard drive.

Mounting brackets

Install a 2.5 inch SSD or HDD in a desktop PC? Then you could need a mounting bracket - also called bracket. Otherwise it is not stuck firmly in your computer case.

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