We purchased the The 6 Best SATA Hard Drives so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full products reviews.
SATA hard drives are the cornerstone of any PC or laptop; they house your operating system and core files, as well as games, documents, and applications that you use on a daily basis. If you’re a PC gamer or a creative professional, a high-capacity hard drive or a solid-state drive will give you faster access to your most-used programs. A lower capacity, traditional hard disk drive should be plenty of storage space for word documents, spreadsheets, and the occasional photo folder for typical home and office use.
Traditional hard disk drives and solid state drives work in essentially the same way: they store data in dedicated channels for later access. Traditional hard disk drives, on the other hand, read and write data using mechanical parts similar to those found in old-school record players, making them vulnerable to damage and file loss. Because there are no moving parts, solid state drives store information in flash memory chips, making file storage and access much faster and more stable.
However, SSDs can cost hundreds of dollars for even small storage capacities, so this comes at a high cost. Many SATA hard drives come with encryption software to protect your data, as well as cloning software to create cloud-based copies of your boot or storage drives for easier replacement when an old or damaged drive fails. We’ve compiled a list of our top picks to assist you in deciding which is best for your next upgrade or first PC build.
Best Overall: Seagate FireCuda Gaming SSHD 2TB 7200RPM
It’s difficult to find a hard drive that strikes the ideal balance of storage capacity, performance, and price, but the Seagate FireCuda hybrid drive () comes the closest. To give you the best of both worlds, it combines traditional hard disk and more modern solid state drive technologies.
The 2TB capacity is ideal for a wide range of tasks, including standard office work, creative professional projects, and even gaming. This drive impressed our reviewer by combining the reliability of traditional hard disks with the performance and speed of solid state models at an affordable price. The included 5-year warranty adds to your peace of mind by protecting your data from loss or corruption due to human error.
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Best Security: Seagate BarraCuda 8TB 5400 RPM
Even though it lags behind its FireCuda cousin, Seagate also offers the BarraCuda hard-disk drive (), which offers excellent storage capacity and reliability. There’s plenty of room for games, raw photo and video files, graphic design programs, and even use in servers with an 8TB capacity. It employs multi-tier caching technology to load programs, files, and high-demand applications much more quickly than its predecessors.
This means you’ll be able to spend less time waiting for Photoshop or Call of Duty to launch and more time actually doing work or playing games. Seagate has a data recovery program that allows you to create cloud-based backups of your drive, protecting your work and personal information from loss or corruption. Your data is further protected from unauthorized access and theft thanks to built-in encryption software.
Best for High Performance: Western Digital Black 4TB 3.5-inch Performance Hard Disk Drive
Western Digital () is a well-known name in computer storage, and their Black line of hard drives is built from the ground up for high-speed performance. It’s available in capacities ranging from 500GB for everyday office use to a whopping 10TB for creative professionals and gamers.
All models have a dual-core processor to improve performance and cache loading, and the 6TB model has extra cache DRAM for faster read and write speeds. WD also employs its proprietary StableTrac technology to guard against mechanical failures that could result in file loss or data corruption.
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Best for Gaming: Samsung 860 EVO 2.5-inch SSD
The Samsung 860 EVO () is an excellent choice for anyone looking to add an SSD to their PC but still need a cost-effective storage solution. To suit your work or recreation needs, you can choose a capacity ranging from 250GB to 4TB. It works with Windows, Apple, and Linux-based computers, so you won’t have any problems getting your computer to recognize the new drive. The fact that this SSD is 4K ready will appeal to content creators, making it simple to shoot and edit raw UHD files. The 860 EVO’s V-NAND technology has been updated, allowing it to read and write data nearly eight times faster than its predecessor.
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Best Speed: WD Black 6TB
The WD Black 6TB hard drive () delivers whether you’re a gamer who needs applications to launch in a flash or a creative professional who needs quick access to both raw and finished files. It has a data transfer rate of up to 218MB/s, allowing you to transfer and save files quickly and easily. The drive’s cache algorithms are optimized in real time by the proprietary Dynamic Cache Technology, which helps prioritize your most-used files and programs over everything else. Western Digital offers a 5-year warranty on this drive, which covers mechanical failure and DOA units.
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Best Budget: WD Blue 1TB
In comparison to competitors and its Black model cousins, the WD Blue () is a more cost-effective option. The 1TB option costs under $100, making it an excellent value for anyone building a PC on a tight budget or who simply does not want to waste money on features and storage that they do not require. It has built-in vibration protection technology that protects your data from loss and corruption by insulating the platters from bumps and shuddering. With WD’s Acronis True Image software, you can create a cloud-based copy of your drive so you can recover your boot or storage drive quickly in the event of a failure.
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The Final Word
The Seagate FireCuda hybrid drive is one of the best SATA hard drive options. It balances storage capacity, performance, and stability by combining traditional hard disk and new solid-state technologies. A 5-year warranty is also included. For first-time PC builders or budget-conscious customers, the WD Blue is an excellent choice. The 1TB capacity is ideal for typical office or home use, and the included Acronis True Image software makes it simple to transfer a copy of an existing boot or storage drive.