The best 3.5 inch hard drives by value for money

Large capacity SSD drives are still very expensive. If you need more space, you can get much cheaper with conventional HDD hard drives. You also get reasonable transfer speeds with the classic internal 3.5-inch hard drives, and they are still the first choice for data storage. We present price-performance tips for HDD hard drives here. In the video we explain the difference between HDD and SSD.

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Meanwhile, fast SSD memories are used in computers and laptops: they contain the installed operating system, the applications and, if necessary, PC games. The speed advantage is huge, transfer speeds are many times as high as with HDDs, access times are almost instantaneous. However, the small memories are often not suitable for storing huge amounts of data in the terabyte range, as they are sometimes quite expensive. It is therefore still much cheaper to run with internal SATA 3.5-inch hard drives. The HDDs provide a lot of storage space for the money.

The differences between desktop and network hard drives are now of little importance. NAS hard disks have to take care of the heat generation in the house and therefore previously had a lower rotational speed. Meanwhile, 7200 rpm is standard almost everywhere. NAS hard drives are optimized for continuous operation and usually have longer warranties. With the internal memory of the desktop PC, the main focus is on fast transfer speeds and short access times. It doesn’t have to be expensive, as our price-performance tips from the list of the best shows.

Price tip recommendations 3.5 inch hard drives

CHIP, August 2022

Buying a hard drive: what is important?

Hard drives have been on the market for decades and still offer excellent value for money, especially as archive or network storage, despite SSD models becoming cheaper and cheaper. Unfortunately, the quality of a hard drive can hardly be read on paper – that’s why tests are all the more important. Here are the important key data:

  • bandwidth: A good hard drive offers both large read and write bandwidths. We state this in megabytes per second (MByte/s). These values ​​have a decisive influence on how fast data can be copied or how fast a video game loads. Some hard drives only seem to be sprinters in the test: transfer speeds then drop after a while. Some hard drives recover from this, while others whistle from the last cache hole until they get a break.
  • cache: The cache is a fast buffer memory on the hard disk. Due to clever algorithms, this keeps frequently used data available so it doesn’t have to be drawn from the slower memory. A larger cache usually speeds up everyday PC life significantly.
  • access times: These times indicate how quickly a hard drive can deliver the first data or write it. The delays are in the millisecond range, but they are common. If you use the hard drive a lot in everyday life, it wears out.
  • turning speeds: The revolutions per minute (RPM) of a hard drive greatly affects its overall speed. Many models, both cheap and expensive, reach 7,200 rpm. NAS hard drives sometimes rotate more slowly so they don’t generate too much heat that would then build up in the housing.
  • continuous operation: An always-on hard drive is built to last. These are often either more expensive or lose performance compared to disks that are not designed for continuous operation. You don’t need a continuous operation disk for home use – but you do for small server systems, NAS storage or constant recording of surveillance systems.
  • power consumption: In a PC system, the hard drive is by far the biggest power guzzler and only requires single-digit wattages. In this area there are still noticeable differences, from less than 3 to 7 watts. However, it is only noticeable on the electricity bill when the hard drive runs almost all year round without interruptions.
  • guarantee: Many hard drive manufacturers provide a separate warranty, especially for more expensive models. In some cases, manufacturers also undertake to save data in case something goes wrong. So be aware of such special services when you buy.

Archive hard drives: Not suitable for desktop or NAS

A special feature that can be found on some models is the data storage technology “Shingled Magnetic Recording” (SMR). Unlike conventional “Perpendicular Magnetic Recording” (PMR), the magnetic tracks of the stored data are not written next to each other, but overlap each other like “shingles”. This increases the capacity of the hard drive, but at the expense of speed. Therefore, SMR hard drives are not intended for desktop or NAS systems, but for archiving large amounts of data. SMR hard disks are often not immediately recognisable, but are marked, for example, as “For archive data”. In the detailed view of our HDD rankings, we indicate whether it is an SMR or PMR disk.

Desktop hard drives (SATA, 3.5 inches) by price-performance ratio

  • Toshiba Enterprise Capacity MG08 16TB (MG08ACA16TE)

    Toshiba Enterprise Capacity MG08 16TB (MG08ACA16TE)
    Source: BestCheck.de
    • Performance reading (1.1)

    • Performance writing (1.1)

    Price

    away 262.79

    price assessment

    Very cheap (1.0)

    For price comparison

    to the store

    (mind factory)

    For price comparison

  • Seagate Exos X18 18TB (ST18000NM00J)

    Seagate Exos X18 18TB (ST18000NM00J)
    Source: BestCheck.de

    Review

    • Performance reading (1.1)

    • Performance writing (1.1)

    Price

    away 299.00

    price assessment

    Very cheap (1.0)

    For price comparison

    to the store

    (mind factory)

    For price comparison

  • Toshiba Enterprise Capacity MG09 18TB (MG09ACA18TE)

    Toshiba Enterprise Capacity MG09 18TB (MG09ACA18TE)
    Source: BestCheck.de
    • Performance reading (1.6)

    • Performance writing (1.1)

    Price

    away 290.99

    price assessment

    Very cheap (1.2)

    For price comparison

    to the store

    (mind factory)

    For price comparison

  • Toshiba Enterprise 14TB (MG07ACA14TE)

    Toshiba Enterprise 14TB (MG07ACA14TE)
    Source: BestCheck.de
    • Performance reading (1.6)

    • Performance writing (1.6)

    Price

    away 230.99

    price assessment

    Very cheap (1.3)

    For price comparison

    to the store

    (mind factory)

    For price comparison

  • Seagate Exos X16 16TB (ST16000NM001G)

    Seagate Exos X16 16TB (ST16000NM001G)
    Source: BestCheck.de

    Review

    • Performance reading (1.3)

    • Performance writing (1.6)

    Price

    away 288.09

    price assessment

    Very cheap (1.4)

    For price comparison

    to the store

    (mind factory)

    For price comparison

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