Every computer needs an internal hard drive to run, whether it's a desktop at the office or a laptop used for gaming. The one you need and how it works both depend on the type of computer, as well as your intended usage. Choosing a new hard drive, or adding the right one to your custom-built machine, can be a significant upgrade.
Essential computer components, internal hard disks feature the boot files needed for the operating system to load. They also require more steps to install than an external hard drive, which usually connects simply via USB. An internal hard drive stores data just like an external one does, but it can also be configured in various ways to create separate spaces for different files. External hard drives can also be placed in enclosures when running back-ups.
One feature you may see listed on an internal hard disk is the disk cache. This piece of dedicated RAM boosts the disk's performance and allows data to load quicker.
Most hard drives that store data on physical discs have several moving components such as disc platters and read/write heads. By contrast, internal solid state drives have no moving parts and operate using electrical signals that move across circuits. This causes less vibration and wear on the drive, making it last longer, and keeps your data with greater integrity.
SATA, or serial ATA, is a common interface type that many hard drives use. It allows for rapid file transfer, and is the new standard for most computers.
Many internal hard drives are relatively simple to install by simply sliding them into place in the drive bay. It's always possible to upgrade or repair a computer by removing its existing or factory-installed drive, replacing it with a new one. PC towers usually need to have the side removed to access the drive, while laptops will often have a bottom panel held in place with screws. Make sure the bay is large enough to accommodate the drive, which will be either a 2.5-inch or a 3.5-inch internal hard drive. Also, remember to take care when handling a hard drive, as static electricity and magnets can potentially harm data. For a hard drive enclosure, simply insert the drive into the slot.
Hard drives often have hundreds of gigabytes or even terabytes of storage space. Choose one with sufficient storage for your needs, as movie and other media files take up quite a lot of space. In addition, look at the read/write speed to know how efficient you can expect performance to be.
B&H Photo and Video has a wide selection of hard drives so you can get the performance you desire.