The 7 Best SATA Hard Drives to Buy in 2018

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.

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.

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.

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.

If it’s speed you crave, the WD Black series will satiate you. The line is designed to boost performance of heavier computing, perfect for creatives and gamers alike. It houses a dual-core processor that doubles the processing capability of a standard single-core processor to optimize performance. As such, it’s quoted to offer 218MB/s in sustained data-transfer rates and has significant cache sizes up to 128MB of DRAM. It's paired with WD’s Dynamic Cache Technology, which helps to maximize caching algorithms in real time and prioritize cache between reads and writes. So you can bet it's one of the speediest SATA hard drives on the market. On top of it all, the WD Black comes with a five-year limited warranty to deliver the protection you deserve.

For people who do a lot of intensive computer work such as video/music editing, graphic design, or computer modeling, the larger capacity may also be necessary. When storage is a must, the WD Blue 4TB is the best choice.

This hard drive has a 3.5” disc with 4TB of storage capacity. Operating at a standard 5400 RPM speed, it is quick enough to work with intensive media files without waiting for the drive to catch up. Other storage capacities and disc speeds are available as well if you need something more specific to your needs.

The drive’s IntelliSeek function is an active addition that manages the writing speed, power consumption and noise/vibration to keep everything working at peak efficiency. The hard drive works with WD’s Acronis True Image software, so you can easily backup the device for an added layer of safety. If you don’t want to worry about the health of the hard drive, this is the option to choose.

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.

What can you get when money isn’t an issue? How does 12TB of usable, reliable storage sound? You might wonder who would ever need that much storage. A hard drive like the WD Gold 12TB Enterprise Class is meant to cover all of your storage needs so you won’t even have to think about buying another hard drive for years to come. The 3.5” Drive runs at 7200rpm for fast and reliable use. If you happen to do a lot of heavy computer work that results in larger-than-normal files, the extra storage might also be necessary to keep working without interruption.

This drive is designed for business and entrepreneurial users in mind. The 4th generation HelioSeal technology optimizes storage and power consumption, making it a great choice for multi-disk storage arrays. For near constant use, it includes an anti-vibration build with RAFF technology to monitor and correct disk alignment issues while in use. The RAID-specific advanced storage management/error recovery features will also keep data protected and recoverable if something goes wrong. Designed with a high workload rating of 550TB a year, the drive will basically keep going long after similar options have failed.

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