The 7 Best SATA Hard Drives to Buy in 2017

Selection of best hard drives for value, capacity, performance and features

The rise of cloud storage and solid state drives has begun reducing the need for SATA-based hard drives. Serial ATA, SATA for short, was once the great standard in both desktops and laptops before the popularity of Ultrabooks, where the thinner SSD (solid state drives) drives are preferred. However, if you’re looking to upgrade or build a new PC, few drives can offer the storage capacity and reliability of a SATA drive. Not sure where to start? Seagate and Western Digital dominate space and have the best SATA drives for all your needs, as well as for budgets large and small.

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Best Overall: Seagate 2TB 7200RPM FireCuda

Seagate 2TB 7200RPM FireCuda
Courtesy of Amazon.com

While hard drive capacity continues to get larger and larger every year, Seagate’s 2TB 7200RPM FireCuda 3.5 inch SATA drive offers more than enough space for music, video, and pictures. With enough space to store 80 25GB-sized games, the Seagate performs up to five times faster than traditional 7200RPM desktop drives. At 3.5 inches in form factor, the drive is ideal for desktop PCs, gaming machines, and workstations where reliable and quality performance count every day. As an added bonus (and for extra peace-of-mind), the FireCuda line is protected with a best-in-class, five-year limited warranty. With the potential for reading and write speeds greater than 200MB/s, the Seagate is a fantastic choice for any SATA shopper.

2
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Seagate 3TB 7200RPM BarraCuda

Seagate 3TB 7200RPM BarraCuda
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Ideal for desktops, the Seagate 3TB 7200RPM BarraCuda 3.5-inch SATA internal hard drive is an ideal choice for buyers looking for a great combination of storage, quality, and speed. Capable of reading and writing data at speeds around 210MB/s, the BarraCuda is both versatile and dependable. Whether it’s work or play, storing movies or music, the BarraCuda can store around 300,000 songs without running out of space. It is ideal for both desktops or all-in-one PCs, but and Seagate offers an additional 2.5-inch model that is a perfect fit for laptops. Backed by a two-year limited warranty, the BarraCuda offers the right mix of versatility and reliability combined with a great value that makes it a hard choice to pass up.

3
Best Budget: Western Digital WD Blue 1TB

Western Digital WD Blue 1TB
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Released in 2012, the Western Digital WD Blue 1TB might be slightly older, but it offers such an outstanding price-to-performance ratio that it's still Amazon’s best seller for internal hard drives. The 7200 RPM offers 1TB of space, which is smaller than most of the other choices on this list, but still, has more than enough room for 200,000 songs or more than 17 hours of music. Additionally, the WD Blue offers features like IntelliSeek, which calculates the optimum speed to lower both power consumption, as well as noise and vibration to protect against data loss. Moreover, Western Digital offers Acronis True Image software downloadable from their website to completely copy all the data from the previous hard drive to get up and running right away. It also has read and write speeds around 170MB/s.

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Best Speed: Western Digital WD Black 5TB

Western Digital WD Black 5TB
Courtesy of Amazon.com

The WD Black series is designed to give a performance boost for heavier computing without increasing the overall cost of the drive. Ideally utilized by gamers, system builders and creative professionals, the Black series is tuned to achieve faster read and high-speed transfers with 128MB of cache that improves overall performance in real time. Easily installed with no screws or cables, it has a dual-core processor internally to additionally increase total performance, and it's best showcased while loading games or large multimedia files. Read and write performance inches above 214MB/s.

5
Best Capacity: Seagate 8TB 7200RPM BarraCuda Pro

Seagate 8TB 7200RPM BarraCuda Pro
Courtesy of Amazon.com

If you took an average two-hour movie and attempted to fill up Seagate’s 8TB 7200RPM BarraCuda Pro SATA drive, you’d have more than enough space for 1,600 movies. Ideal for desktops, all-in-one PCs, home servers or even creative pro systems, the BarraCuda Pro leads the pack in feature-to-price ratio. Capable of reading and write speeds up to 220MB/s, the 7200RPM drive offers spindle speeds up to 256MB cache. With a five-year limited warranty, along with a free two-year rescue plan in case of the total data loss, the BarraCuda Pro tops it all off with low power management at 6.8W.

6
Best Laptop: Seagate 2.5-Inch BarraCuda

Seagate 2.5-Inch BarraCuda
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Seagate’s 2.5-inch BarraCuda SATA drive is an ideal choice for laptop owners looking to kick performance and storage to the next level. With a 6GB/s data transfer speed and the capability of reading and write speeds of more than 140-150MB/s, the drive comes in both 7mm and 15mm z-heights to best fit your laptop. Additionally, read and write performance is optimized with Multi-Tier Caching Technology, MTC for short, which optimizes data flow and allows apps to load faster than ever before. As a bonus, it works well with numerous all-in-one PCs, as well as ultra-slim desktop PCs. It also comes with Seagate’s two-year limited warranty.

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Best Splurge: Seagate 10TB 7200RPM IronWolf Pro

Seagate 10TB 7200RPM IronWolf Pro
Courtesy of Amazon.com

If you want to do more with your SATA drive, the Seagate 10TB 7200RPM IronWolf Pro offers an awesome amount of storage – for a price. Coming in just under $500, the IronWolf Pro is more than just a drive, thanks to a bevy of features that offer extra versatility and support for the high price tag. Always on and always accessible, the inclusion of AgileArray technology and standard Rotational Vibration sensors offer optimal reliability and overall performance. Additionally, the purchase of the IronWolf Pro includes two years of Seagate’s free rescue plan for complete peace-of-mind in the event of unexpected data loss. With read and write speeds consistently performing around 210MB/s or higher, there’s more than enough oomph to justify the higher cost. To add some extra incentive, the 10TBs of storage space can hold more than 15 hours of 4K, 360-degree virtual reality video without missing a beat.

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