This is one of 3 articles dedicated to storage drives:

1. Best External Hard Drives, SSDs and USB Flash Drives
2. Best Internal SSDs
3. Best Internal 2.5″ and 3.5″ Hard Drives (this article)

December 2016: What’s new

  1. Price Drop: All WD Red drives
  2. Price Drop: WD Red Pro 2TB
  3. Price Drop: All WD Purple drives
  4. Price Drop: Seagate Archive 6TB
  5. Massive Price Drops: All WD Gold Data Center

No time to read reviews and just want the answers?

I do realize that most of us have busy schedules, have no time to read detailed hard drives reviews and just want to know what is the best hard drive for their need.

This is why I write this guide for you: To help you save your time, sanity and money by letting you know what are the best hard drives at various price points.

How do I pick my recommendations?

I recommend the drives that offer the best combination of reliability, performance and storage capacity at a given price.

Alternatives that offer higher performance, longer warranty and that are designed for 24/7, RAID, server or archiving usage are also suggested.

This is an Worldwide Guide!

Do you live in the USA?

Use Amazon, B&H and Newegg for your purchase.

Do you live outside of the USA?

No problem. B&H offers worldwide shipping.

Prices for B&H and Newegg as of December 9th 2016. Put your mouse on Amazon links or click on them to see prices.

Hard Drive Failure Rates: Which brand is the most reliable?

How do I know which hard drive is more reliable than another?

From Marc Prieur, of hardware.fr, here are the hard drives failures rates according to a French e-tailer as of December 2016:
– Seagate 0.72%
– Toshiba 0.80%
– Western Digital 1.04%
– HGST 1.13%

The failure rates are based on parts sold between October 1st 2015 and April 1st 2016, for returns before October 2016, which represents 6 months to one year of usage. The statistics per brand are based on a sample of at least 500 sales.

The Backblaze hard drive reliability statistics article is also worth a look. While their setups aren’t similar to the typical computer, as they use proprietary Storage Pod enclosures, which contains as many as 60 3.5″ drives in four units of rack space, it’s still one excellent resource available with real-world data on hard drive reliability.

Although these numbers don’t paint the complete picture of world wide failure rates, they are still an interesting sample to look at.

All hard drives are prone to failure though, which is why you should Have a Backup System that you can rely on!

The Best 3.5″ Desktop Hard Disk Drives (HDD):

Highest performance hard drives:

7200rpm hybrid hard drives

Hybrid Hard Drive? (Also known as ‘Solid State Hybrid Drive (SSHD)’ )

It combines a hard drive with a flash memory chip, similar to the ones used in SSDs.

  • This boost performance versus a traditional hard drive by caching the most frequently used files, so that when there are requests for those files, they are read from the much higher performance flash memory instead of being read from the disk.
  • This is all done automatically, you have nothing to do to gain the additional performance, but it also means that you have no control over it.
  • It also means that when the required file(s) isn’t in the cache, it is read from the hard drive, with the lower performance of a 7,200rpm hard drive.

Overall, you get faster boot times and faster program/game launch for the applications that you use often.

All of this at a very reasonable price when compared to the price of a comparably sized SSD or a small SSD + HDD combo. It’s also much simpler to use compared to managing a small SSD and a HDD.

That said, if you want far higher performance, for editing audio, photo or video, loading Windows, games, applications far faster or loading heavy files, a SSD is the way to go.

I recommend two hybrid hard drives: A 1TB model and a 2TB model.

Stay away from the Seagate 4TB hybrid hard drive, it spins at a slower 5,900rpm speed, resulting in lower performance.
Same goes for the WD 4TB WD40E31X, it spins at an even slower 5,400rpm.

Get a 7200rpm hybrid hard drive:

Seagate 1TB Firecuda ST1000DX002 from Amazon, B&H ($79.00) or Newegg ($78.99)
Seagate 2TB Firecuda ST2000DX002 from Amazon, B&H ($104.99) or Newegg ($104.99)

High performance: 7200rpm hard drives:

Best High Performance 320GB Hard Drive:

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200rpm
320GB is enough storage capacity for you and you want to spend as little as possible on your hard drive?

The Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS is an excellent choice then, being a reliable 320GB 7200rpm hard drive available at a rock bottom price.

Get a 320GB Hard Drive:

– Get the Western Digital Caviar Blue 320GB WD3200AAKS from Amazon

Best High Performance 1TB Hard Drives:

Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM010 vs WD WD1003FZEX Caviar Black:

  • The Seagate offers a great price, great performance and is reliable.
  • It’s a good alternative at a much lower price than the WD Caviar Black.
  • Get the WD Caviar Black if you want a longer 5 years warranty.

Get a 1TB Hard Drive:

– Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM010 from Amazon, or B&H ($54.00) or Newegg ($49.99)
WD WD1003FZEX from Amazon, B&H ($69.00) or Newegg ($76.99)

Best High Performance 2TB Hard Drives:

  • Same story as for the 1TB hard drives: The WD Caviar Black is more expensive, but offers a longer warranty.
  • The Seagate drive is a good alternative at a much lower price than the WD Caviar Black.
  • The Hitachi is the least expensive. It’s a refurbished drive, but it’s based on their reliable enterprise drive line-up and reviews are excellent.

Get a 2TB Hard Drive:

Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM006 2TB from Amazon, B&H ($76.99) or Newegg ($77.27)
Western Digital Caviar Black WD2003FZEX from Amazon or B&H ($129.00)
Hitachi Ultrastar A7K2000 2TB (Refurbished) from Amazon
Hitachi Ultrastar A7K3000 2TB (Refurbished) from Amazon

Best High Performance 3TB Hard Drives:

  • The Seagate drive offers great performance at reliability at a very reasonable price.
  • The Hitachi is the least expensive. It’s a refurbished drive, but it’s based on their reliable enterprise drive line-up and reviews are excellent.

Get a 3TB Hard Drive:

Get the Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM008 3TB 7200rpm from Amazon, B&H ($89.99) or Newegg ($89.99)
Get the HGST Ultrastar 7K4000 3TB (Refurbished) from
Amazon

Best High Performance 4TB Hard Drives:

Get the HGST MegaScale DC 4000.B 4TB (Refurbished) from Amazon

  • Most affordable 7200rpm 4TB hard drive
  • HGST currently offers the most reliable drives, according to hardware.fr and backblaze.
  • 1 year warranty

Get the Toshiba PH3400U-1I72 4TB 7200rpm from Amazon

  • Affordable 7200rpm 4TB hard drive
  • Older, but higher performance and longer warranty than the newer Toshiba X300 model.
  • 3 years warranty

Get the HGST 4TB 7200rpm from Amazon, B&H ($159.99) or Newegg ($139.99)

  • Affordable 7200rpm 4TB hard drive
  • HGST currently offers the most reliable drives, according to hardware.fr and backblaze.
  • 3 years warranty

Get the Western Digital Caviar Black WD4004FZWX 4TB 7200rpm from AmazonB&H ($208.49) or Newegg($208.49)

  • Highest performance
  • 5 years warranty

Get the Seagate Barracuda ST4000DM005 4TB from Amazon or B&H ($129.99)

  • Affordable 7200rpm 4TB hard drive
  • New design, offering great performance, low power consumption, low noise and great reliability.
  • 2 years warranty

Best High Performance 5TB Hard Drives:

Get the Toshiba X300 5TB 7,200rpm from Amazon, B&H ($159.99) or Newegg ($159.99)

  • Most affordable 7200rpm 5TB hard drive
  • 2 years warranty

Get the Toshiba PH3500U-1I72 from Amazon

  • Affordable 7200rpm 5TB hard drive
  • Older but higher performance drive than the X300 from Toshiba
  • 3 years warranty

Get the Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001FZWX 5TB 7200rpm from Amazon, B&H ($249.00) or Newegg ($219.99)

  • The fastest 5TB hard drive on the market.
  • High reliability
  • 5 years warranty.

Best High Performance 6TB Hard Drives:

Get the Toshiba X300 6TB 7200rpm from Amazon, B&H ($189.00) or Newegg ($199.99)

  • Most Affordable 7200rpm 6TB hard drive
  • 2 years warranty

Get the Seagate ST6000DM001 6TB from Amazon, B&H ($209.99) or Newegg ($209.99)

  • Affordable 7200rpm 6TB hard drive
  • Higher performance than the Toshiba
  • 2 years warranty

Get the Western Digital Caviar Black WD6001FZWX 6TB 7200rpm from Amazon, B&H ($279.00) or Newegg ($289.99)

  • The fastest 6TB hard drive on the market.
  • 5 years warranty.

Best High Performance 8TB Hard Drive:

Get the Seagate ST8000DM002 8TB 7200rpm from Amazon, B&H ($289.99) or Newegg ($289.99)

  • The only consumer grade 7200rpm 8TB hard drive on the market.

Best High Performance 10TB Hard Drive

Get the Seagate BarraCuda Pro ST10000DM0004 10TB from Amazon, B&H ($488.88) or Newegg ($489.49)

  • The only consumer grade 7200rpm 10TB hard drive on the market.
  • 5 years warranty.

The Best NAS 3.5″ hard disk drives (HDD)

Designed for 24/7 usage, NAS (Network Attached Storage) and RAID.

  • WD Red drives consume the least power, run the coolest, spin at 5400rpm and offer a 3 years warranty.
  • Seagate NAS drives consume a bit more power, run slightly warmer, spin at 5900rpm and offer a 3 years warranty.
  • Seagate Ironwolf spin at 7,200rpm and offer a 5 years warranty.
  • HGST NAS drives consume more power, run warmer, spin at 7200rpm and offer a 3 years warranty.
  • WD Red Pro drives consume more power, run warmer, spin at 7200rpm and offer a 5 years warranty.

Western Digital Red NAS hard drives:

Seagate NAS hard drives:

Seagate IronWolf:

These drives will be replacing Seagate NAS hard drives.

HGST NAS hard drives:

Western Digital Red Pro NAS hard drives:

The Best Surveillance, Video recording 3.5″ hard disk drives (HDD)

Designed for 24/7 usage, optimized for simultaneous read and write operations and RAID.

  • WD Purple support up to 32 cameras, arrays up to 8 drives, offer a 3 years warranty.
  • WD Purple NV support up to 64 cameras, arrays of more than 8 drives, 3 years warranty.
  • Seagate Surveillance support up to 64 cameras, offer a 3 year warranty.
  • Seagate Skyhawk support up to 64 cameras, offer a 3 years warranty.

Western Digital Purple hard drives:

Western Digital Purple NV hard drives:

Seagate Surveillance:

Seagate Skyhawk:

The Best Archive 3.5″ hard disk drives (HDD)

Pros and cons of archive hard drives:
Archive hard drives offer high capacities at a very low cost per GB.

They also offer low power consumption and low noise emissions.

On the downside, they offer lower performance, especially slow write speeds.

Ideal for secondary storage, archiving, or a single drive external enclosure.

The Best Data Center 3.5″ hard disk drives (HDD)

High performance 7200rpm, 128MB cache, 5 years warranty, rated for a 550 TB workload per year, up to 2.5 M hours MTBF and highly reliable, the WD Gold line-up currently co-exists with the WD Re line-up and will eventually replace it.

Designed for enterprise servers, datacenter environments, enterprise storage systems, data warehousing/mining, enterprise NAS, and high end surveillance systems.

Being data center-oriented HDDs, the WD Gold hard drives are optimized for RAID environments and they support enhanced RAFF technology that protects against vibration (by monitoring linear and rotational vibration in real time) as well as head positioning system with two actuators, which improves positional accuracy. The drives also support WD’s time-limited error recovery technology (TLER), which prevents drive fallout caused by extended HDD error recovery processes.

The Best 2.5″ Laptop Hard Disk Drives (HDD):

Compatibility warning:
Make sure to double-check which height of hard drives your laptop supports: 9.5mm are the most common, but some are limited to drives with a 7mm height.

High performance: Hybrid 2.5″ Hard Drive

Hybrid Hard Drive?
Also known as ‘Solid State Hybrid Drive (SSHD)’. It combines a 500GB or 1TB hard drive with a 8GB flash memory chip, similar to the ones used on SSDs. There’s also a model with a 1TB hard drive with 32GB flash memory, for an additional 25% performance boost compared to the model with 8GB of flash memory.

  • This boost performance versus a traditional hard drive by caching the most frequently used files, so that when there are requests for those files, they are read from the much higher performance flash memory instead of being read from the disk.
  • This is all done automatically, you have nothing to do to gain the additional performance, but it also means that you have no control over it.
  • It also means that when the required file(s) isn’t in the cache, it is read from the hard drive, with the far lower performance of a 5400rpm hard drive.

Overall, you get faster boot times and faster program/game launch for the applications that you use often.

Note that the 500GB model is 7mm thick, allowing you to use it in ultrabooks, tablets and other devices that require thinner 7mm hard drives.

Fast boot-up times, fast program launch for often used programs and average performance otherwise:

Seagate Solid State Hybrid Hard Drives:
– 500GB from Amazon, B&H ($58.99) or Newegg ($59.99)
– 1TB with 8GB cache from Amazon, B&H ($80.69) or Newegg ($84.99)

New FireCuda drives, will be replacing the drives above:
– FireCuda ST500LX025 500GB from Amazon
– FireCuda ST1000LX015 1TB from Amazon or Newegg ($69.99)
– FireCuda 2TB ST2000LX001 from Amazon or Newegg ($120.99)

High performance 2.5″ 7,200rpm hard drives:

The Best 500GB 2.5″ Laptop Hard Drive:

Western Digital Black 500GB 7200rpm WD5000LPLX from

Note that this is a 7mm drive.

Amazon
B&H ($52.99)
Newegg ($54.89)

The Best 750GB 2.5″ Laptop Hard Drive:

Western Digital Black 750GB 7200rpm 9.5mm WD7500BPKX from

Amazon
B&H ($59.99)

Newegg ($59.00)

The Best 1TB 7200rpm 2.5″ Laptop Hard Drive:

1. HGST 0J22423 1TB 7200rpm from

Amazon
B&H ($69.99)
Newegg (57.94)

2. WD Black 1TB WD10JPLX 7200rpm from

Amazon
B&H ($71.85)
Newegg ($71.99)

Mainstream performance 2.5″ 5,400rpm laptop hard drives:

Seagate 500GB 2.5″ 5400rpm 7mm ST500LT012 from

7mm thick, perfect for a low-cost hard drive that fits in thinner laptops and tablets.

Amazon
B&H ($49.45)

Newegg ($49.44)

750GB 2.5″ Hard Drive:

1. Western Digital Blue 750GB 5400rpm 2.5″ from

Amazon
B&H ($49.99)

Newegg ($49.99)
Low cost, highly reliable 750GB 2.5″ hard drive with a 2 years warranty.

1TB 2.5″ Hard Drive:

1. Western Digital Blue 1TB 5400rpm 2.5″ WD10JPVX from
Amazon
B&H ($62.99)

Newegg ($67.99)
Low cost, highly reliable 1TB 2.5″ hard drive with a 2 years warranty.

2. Western Digital Red 1TB 5400rpm 2.5″ WD10JFCX from
Amazon
B&H ($69.87)

Newegg ($74.99)
Slightly higher cost, even more reliable as it is designed for 24/7 usage, comes with a 3 years warranty. Perfect for external enclosures.

3. Seagate 1TB Barracuda 5400rpm 2.5-Inch 7mm thick ST1000LM048 from
Amazon

B&H ($49.99)
Newegg ($57.99)

This variant is more expensive, but you only need it if you need a 7mm thick hard drive. Otherwise, pick the option above.

2TB 2.5″ Hard Drive:

1. Seagate ST2000LM007 2TB 5400rpm 2.5″ 7mm thick from
Amazon
Newegg ($95.99)

B&H ($94.99)
Earlier model, available now.

2. Seagate Barracuda 2TB 5400rpm 2.5″ 7mm thick ST2000LM015 from

– Get it from: Amazon
New model, available soon.

4TB 15mm thick 2.5″ Hard Drive:

Samsung Momentus 4TB ST4000LM016 15mm thick

– Get it from:  Amazon or Newegg ($188.89)

This drive is NOT COMPATIBLE WITH MOST LAPTOPS! With a height (thickness) of 15mm, it is mainly meant for bigger external enclosures, NAS, servers and desktops.

5TB 15mm thick 2.5″ Hard Drive:

Seagate 5TB Barracuda ST5000LM000 15mm thick

– Get it from:  Amazon or Newegg ($226.99)

This drive is NOT COMPATIBLE WITH MOST LAPTOPS! With a height (thickness) of 15mm, it is mainly meant for bigger external enclosures, NAS, servers and desktops.

Conclusion

I hope that you enjoyed the latest edition of this article.

If you have any comments, suggestions or questions, please leave a comment below!