Best SATA Hard Drives

Selection of Best Hard Drives for Value, Capacity, Performance and Features

Mar 5 2015 - Serial ATA is now standard for all storage drives in desktop computers. While items such as solid state drives threaten to usurp the performance crown, hard drives are still the cheapest and highest capacity way to store data. If you are looking to add more storage to an existing PC or going to build a new PC, hard drives will still be part of it. Here are the best Serial ATA hard drives for various tasks based on the research and experience of the Computer Reviews Expert.

Best Capacity - Seagate Archive 8TB

Seagate Archive SATA Desktop Hard Drive

Hard drive sizes continue to get larger every year which is great because consumers are generating even more digital files to archive than even. Digital video can take up huge amounts of space and a large 8TB provides more than enough space for the average consumer. These drives were once restricted for enterprise use but consumers can now find the Seagate Archive 8TB for a very reasonable price of roughly under $250. Now some older systems will have problems with such a large drive and this drive is not about super fast performance but capacity. For them, it may be better to just get something like the Seagate Desktop 4TB drive that costs roughly half as much but still provides a large storage capacity.

Best Value - Seagate Desktop 4TB

Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB SATA 3.5-inch Drive


The best value for a hard drive is one that gives you the best storage for the price. This is typically calculated by the price divided by the storage to yield a price per gigabyte. When using this, the best overall choice for value is the Seagate desktop 4TB drive. Priced consistently around $120, it comes in with a very low $.03/GB. Performance is reasonable for the drive especially considering its price. Perfect for adding some additional storage or using as a backup drive. If you are looking to get a bit more capacity, then the Western Digital Blue 6TB at $211 is a good option but you really need a 64-bit version of Windows and appropriate hardware to fully use the drive and it spins at a slower 5400rpm rate.

Best Performance - Western Digital Black 4TB

Western Digital Black 4TB WD4003FZEX SATA Hard Drive
©Western Digital

Performance is typically determined by the overall spin rate of the drive and the data density. The controllers and cache on the drive can also make a difference particularly if the drive is going to be used for certain tasks. Western Digital has been well known for some of its high performance drives like its Black series. It is available in a wide range of sizes, but I find the 4TB size to offer a nice balance or pricing just under $200 and good capacity. Now, some older systems may have issues with such a large drive. If you happen to have a system running a 32-bit version of Windows on older hardware or just want to spend less, then I would recommend the Western Digital Black 2TB drive which still offers great performance. Of course, those looking for the highest performance are probably going to get a solid state drive.

Best RAID/NAS Drives - Western Digital Red 6TB

Western Digital Red SATA RAID NAS Desktop Hard Drive
©Western Digital

RAID is a configuration that uses multiple drives to enhance performance, data reliability or both. Because the drives work in tandem and rely on having similar specs to ensure the best overall performance in the array, the drives require a bit more. Those looking to put together a RAID array inside their computer or in a network attached storage device would be well served by looking at the Western Digital Red series. These drives are specially designed to be put into RAID and network attached storage arrays. The 6TB versions is the great drive offers lots of capacity and reliability even if the performance is hampered somewhat by the 5400rpm spin rate. Pricing is a very reasonable at roughly $250. If you are looking for higher performance or want to put the drive in a array of more than eight drives, then the Western Digital Red Pro 6TB has a faster 7200rpm spin rate but also comes with a significant price increase.

Best Hybrid - Seagate Gaming SSHD 4TB

Seagate SSHD Family
Seagate SSHD Family. ©Seagate

Hybrid hard drives are not new but they try to bridge the gap between the performance of a solid state drive and the capacity of a traditional hard drive. Seagate has been in the business of hybrid drives the longest and their drives are the most readily available. Their Gaming SSHD 4TB offer a very large capacity combined with an 8GB solid state cache to boost performance. Now, they are not as fast as a solid state drive but it can help with booting and loading frequently used programs especially with non-Windows based systems. Now if you are running a 32-bit version of Windows or just want to spend a bit less, there is a 2TB version of the drive that is also a bit more affordable.

Best 2TB and Smaller - Western Digital Black 2TB

Western Digital Black 2TB
Western Digital Black 2TB. ©Western Digital

While the majority of the drives on this list have been for capacities greater than two terabytes, there are many older systems out there on the market that are either running the 32-bit version of Windows or using older technology where they cannot properly use drives larger than two terabytes, because of this, you want to purchase a drive of two terabytes or smaller. For just such a case, I highly recommend the Western Digital Black 2TB drive. It uses the same technology as the other Black series drives that offers it some great performance just with smaller capacities. It spins at 7200rpm with 64MB of cache and comes with a nice five year warranty. Priced around $130 it can be a bit expensive compared to the higher capacity drives. If you need something a bit more affordable, the Seagate Desktop 2TB is a very reasonably $90 but just a two year warranty.


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