Storage

The Best Internal Hard Drives (HDD) in 2021

8 Mins read

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Even though solid-state drives (SSDs) are much more energy efficient and faster than the ordinary mechanical hard drives (HDDs), the latter are still able to offer huge amounts of storage space for extremely low price. Whether its storing videos, photos, documents, or even business data, hard drives can satisfy your storage needs while still staying on budget.

When it comes to speed, the best SSDs have a huge performance advantage over the classical hard drives. However, they also come with a significantly higher price tag. For example, a 2TB SSD costs just as much as a 6TB enterprise-class hard drive. So, if you are looking for to get as much storage space as possible for the least amount of money, then mechanical hard drives are the way to go.

Despite being slower than SSDs, hard drives are much more secure and reliable, which means you don’t have to worry about permanently losing your data. Even if it gets broken, the data from a hard drive can always be retrieved, since its hard-written into its storage platters. Also, hard drives are still very good for gaming, as well as building a personal cloud server, or business surveillance system. Here are the best hard drives for every need that are currently available on the market:


Best Overall:

Seagate FireCuda 2TB SSHD

Best Budget:

WD Blue 1TB (WD10EZEX)

Best for a NAS:

WD Purple 10TB (WD102PURZ)

Best Enterprise HDD:

Seagate Exos X16

Best for Gaming:

WD Velociraptor 1TB (WD1000DHTZ)


Best Overall: Seagate FireCuda 2TB SSHD

Capacity: 2TB | Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s | Cache: 8GB NAND | RPM: 7.200


  • Faster than any standard HDD
  • Very good reliability
  • Great value
  • Flash cache requires some time to fill up

The Seagate FireCuda is neither a true hard drive, nor an SSD. In fact, it is a combination of both, and it works extremely well. Featuring an integrated 8GB NAND flash cache, as well as 2TB of traditional storage, the Seagate FireCuda is a very efficient hybrid solid-state hybrid drive. This 3.5-inch edition features disk platters spinning at 7.200 RPM, as well as support for SATA 6 Gb/s interface. The drive itself can boast with much better reading and writing speeds compared to the standard mechanical drives, and as such is perfect for gaming and creative work. Being much cheaper than any other 2TB SSD available on the market, this drive is very convenient for storing large amounts of data that are being frequently accessed.

Best Budget: WD Blue 1TB (WD10EZEX)

Capacity: 1TB | Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s | Cache: 64 MB | RPM: 7.200


  • Consistently strong performance
  • High reliability
  • Only 64 MB of cache

The 1TB WD Blue WD10EZEX hard drive is one of the most affordable mechanical hard drives currently available on the market. Even though its manufacturer states this drive offers more modest performance compared to the drives from the WD Red, Gold, or Purple lineups, it is still an extremely reliable hard drive that is able to offer enough space to store all of your system applications and personal data. The WD10EZEX works perfectly in a combination with a ultra-fast SSD, and can also function as a backup or an external hard drive. Overall, if you are in search of a reliable and cheap hard drive, then the WD Blue 1TB WD10EZEX is a perfect drive for you.

Best for a NAS: WD Purple 10 TB (WD102PURZ)

Capacity: 10TB | Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s | Cache: 256 MB | RPM: 7.200


  • Extremely high reliability
  • Large storage capacity
  • 7.200 RPM rotational speed
  • Perfect for business surveillance
  • None

If you are looking for a high-capacity non-helium hard drive, then Western Digital’s Purple Series 10-terabyte model is a good choice. The price of this device is a bit more on the expensive side, but if you are looking for an extremely reliable and fast hard drive for a personal cloud storage, or business surveillance system, then this is the right drive for you. Featuring 256 MB cache, and 7.200 RPM rotational speed, the WD Purple 10TB drive is also perfect for building a home NAS (network-attached storage), as well as for professional use, such as video editing or graphical design.

Best Enterprise HDD: Seagate Exos X16

Capacity: 16TB | Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s | Cache: 256 MB | RPM: 7.200


  • Extremely high capacity
  • Very good performance
  • Helium sealed-drive design
  • Perfect for data centers
  • Quite noisy

The 16TB Seagate Exos X16 is primarily intended for corporate use and installation in servers, but its use in home or office network storage systems is also quite justified. For a home PC use, this hard drive is quite noisy, but if you don’t mind that, then you can safely purchase it for storing your large collection of media files, or use it for tasks related to professional and creative activities. As for the reliability – so far there haven’t been any major complaints, but not much time has passed since the release of this HDD. However, since this is a helium-based hard drive, this risk of failure is relatively small, as the quality of such hard drives is considered to be top-notch at the moment.

Best for Gaming: WD Velociraptor 1TB (WD1000DHTZ)

Capacity: 1TB | Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s | Cache: 64 MB | RPM: 10.000


  • High performance
  • Great reliability
  • Noisy during operation
  • Could be cheaper

The Western Digital Velociraptor 1TB hard drive is a perfect storage device for serious gamers, as well as workstation professionals. Although it’s not very spacious, this drive can boast with rotational speed of 10.000 RPM, which makes it perfect for running video games, creating big data libraries, and performing some content creation work. Overall, the WD Velociraptor is a great alternative to some high-speed SSDs, and it offers much better reliability, which is quite important if you plan to store sensitive data on it.

Best for Laptops: Seagate FireCuda 1TB Mobile

Capacity: 1TB | Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s | Cache: 8GB NAND | RPM: 5.400


  • Faster than standard HDDs
  • Great storage capacity
  • Very affordable
  • Large apps quickly fill 8GB flash cache

Most 2.5-inch hard drives for notebooks are quite unimpressive. They are usually slow, feature rather low capacity, and just don’t seem very efficient. That’s why most notebooks nowadays feature an SSD drive, however, these drives oftentimes don’t exceed 512GB in storage capacity. The Seagate’s 2.5-inch FireCuda hybrid drive strikes a great balance. This drive can store up to 1TB of data, and features a 8GB NAND flash memory cache that helps it deliver great performance, despite being a mechanical drive. With a five-year warranty, it is also one of the most reliable drives on the market, and as such is perfect for use in laptop computers.

Best 2TB HDD: Seagate BarraCuda 2TB (ST2000DM008)

Capacity: 2TB | Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s | Cache: 256 MB | RPM: 7.200


  • Very affordable
  • Solid performance
  • Average 2-year warranty

Seagate BarraCuda lineup of hard drives offers great price-to-performance ratio, no matter which model of hard drive you choose for your PC. The 2TB model is probably one of the best, since it offers great storage capacity, high amount of cache, and good performance, while still staying quite affordable. As such, it is a perfect hard drive for building a powerhouse gaming computer, or desktop setup with a large amount of archived data. Overall, there isn’t much more to stay about this drive, except its simple, cheap, and offers plenty of storage space.

Best 4TB HDD: WD Red 4TB (WD40EFRX)

Capacity: 4TB | Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s | Cache: 64 MB | RPM: 5.400


  • Optimized for use in NAS
  • Very high reliability
  • Energy efficient
  • Audible operation
  • Rather small cache

The Western Digital Red 4TB hard drive is intended for round-the-clock operation in NAS and small servers. This means it comes with certain hardware-based advantages over other conventional hard drives, as it features increased fault tolerance and optimization for frequent use. Another interesting thing about this hard drive is that its reading heads do not park after a short period of inactivity, but still remain in use. This means that with this hard drive you can expect much snappier and more responsive performance, despite the fact that it features platters spinning at 5.400 RPM.

Best 6TB HDD: Seagate Exos 7E8

Capacity: 6TB | Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s | Cache: 256 MB | RPM: 7.200


  • Large cache
  • 7.200 RPM speed
  • High capacity
  • Very good price
  • Very loud operation

The Seagate Exos are fast and reliable hard drives for corporate and server use. The 6-terabyte model sticks out the most from this lineup thanks to its impressively big 256 MB cache, 7.200 RPM speed, and very good gigabyte-per-dollar ratio. Its only drawback is its increased noise production, so if you have a computer placed in your bedroom and you don’t have a habit turning it off at night, you might want to consider purchasing a quieter storage solution. Overall, the Seagate Exos 7E8 is a great hard drive for personal NAS, small data center, or workstation PC, and can also be efficiently used as an external hard drive (provided you buy an HDD enclosure).

Best 8TB HDD: WD Red 8TB (WD80EFAX)

Capacity: 8TB | Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s | Cache: 256 MB | RPM: 5.400


  • Native NAS firmware support
  • Helium-filled design
  • Extremely high workload rate
  • Very high reliability
  • Mediocre performance

The 8TB Western Digital Red WD80EFAX hard drive is a helium-filled enterprise-class hard drive. The WD80EFAX can boast with very high reliability and long-term suitability, as well as with native NAS firmware support. The drive supports up to 180 TB/yr workload rate, which makes it perfect for use in small and medium business NAS systems. This particular model uses CMR technology, which is why it also belongs to the WD Red Plus series of hard drives. Despite its rather fantastic features, this drive offers mediocre read and write performance due to 5.400 RPM rotational speed.

Conclusion

So, there you have it. These were the 10 best hard drives you can buy right now. We hope our buying guide helped you in search of the information you were looking for. If you still feel confused, and need advice about buying, feel free to post comment below. We will try to help you.

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About author
Before he joined ViCadia, Nicholas worked as a journalist for several tech magazines. Over the years he gained a lot of knowledge about computers. His main area of interest are processors, motherboards, and operating systems.
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