Upgrading to a new operating system is exciting business for nerds like me. A new OS can make a computer seem new again, and everything’s faster, bigger, shinier, and better. That’s why I was extremely pleased with Windows 7, and I installed it as soon as I received a demo copy.
However, before I installed it, I bought a new hard drive. A new hard drive can squeeze even more out of a new operating system, so every few years I check around online and pick one up. Not any hard drive will do–if you want to get the most from Windows 7, you need to buy a quality product.
Here are a few tips for picking out a hard drive for your Windows 7 computer.
Size – Hard drives don’t cost much per gigabyte these days, and as Windows 7 has some awesome media capabilities, it’s a good idea to go for a larger hard drive. To meet the operating requirements of Windows 7, you really only have to have about a 40-60 GB hard drive, but there’s no reason to skew low. 200GB and up is advisable. There are terabyte drives available these days for under $200, but think about what you need. If you’re just going to use Windows 7 for documents and won’t be storing a lot of media, size shouldn’t be a big concern for you. If, on the other hand, you’re a media nut, skew much larger than you’ll need–the tendency is to underestimate how much space you’ll be using with your new hard drive.
Speed – There are a few numbers you need to consider when thinking about hard drive speed. The first is RPM. This number describes the speed of the platters of the hard drive. You’ll want a hard drive that spins at at least 7200RPM for use with Windows 7. Anything under that, and the operating system won’t be running as fast as it could be running, and you’ll be wasting your computer’s awesome processor. You’ll also want to look at latency speed. Latency speed is a number that represents how long it takes for a hard drive to find a certain bit of data. The lower the number, the better. When you’re down to a few hard drives, look at the latency speed to determine which one’s faster. Even small differences in this number can mean big differences in hard drive and computer performance.
Price – The big one, right? Actually, it’s wise to avoid just going for the cheapest hard drive on the market. Your hard drive is a major computer purchase. It will hold all of your personal data, so you want to buy for quality. Read user reviews, and look for the aforementioned numbers. If a hard drive is getting good reviews and it’s cheap, go for it. Otherwise, steer clear. It’s worth an extra $15 to buy a good hard drive that will get the most out of your new Windows 7 installation.
Do you have any other tips for picking out a hard drive for a Windows 7 computer? Post in our comments section below.