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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Understanding gaming PC hard drive

The function of the hard drive is to store and erase data permanently. Those tasks are performed by read/write heads in this piece of hardware. All 3D games, Operating System and applications data are stored in this piece of hardware. It can also store movies, music and documents. This piece of hardware has no important impact in 3D performance so there’s no point in choosing a fast and expensive one for our gaming PC. We should save that money for the more meaningful hardware like CPU, video card, motherboard, RAM and even the PSU. However the number of games and applications that we can install in our gaming PC depends on the capacity of this piece of hardware so we should choose one with large capacity. Popular brands of this hardware are Western Digital, Seagate and Maxtor. The specifications we should take into account when choosing this hardware are as follows.

Features to look for when choosing a hard drive  for your a gaming PC

1) form factor – the most common form factors are 3.5 inch, 2.5 inch and 1.0 inch. The 3.5 inch hard drive is usually used in desktop a PC, the 2.5 inch hard drive is usually used in notebooks while 1.0 inch hard drives are usually used in consumer electronics. Usually the smaller the more expensive so we should choose a 3.5 inch hard drive.
2) capacity – this is measured in Gigabytes. Common capacities are 160 GB, 250 GB, 320 GB, 500 GB, 640 GB, 750 GB and 1 TB which is 1000 GB. The larger the capacity the more 3D games and applications we can install on it so we should choose one with large capacity like 500 GB.
3) RPM – RPM stands for Revolutions per minute. The higher the RPM the better the performance. Common RPM are: 5400, 7200, 10,000 and 15,000. The higher the RPM the more expensive the hard drive so we should choose an affordable one. A 7,200 RPM hard drive is affordable enough for our gaming PC.
4) cache – the cache in a hard drive works similar to the one in a CPU’s so we are not going to give too many details about it, refer to the CPU section for more details about how a cache works. Common cache sizes are 2 MB, 8 MB and 16 MB. The larger the cache the better the performance. Hard drives with 16 MB cache are affordable enough for our gaming PC.
5) interface – its function is to connect the hard drive to the motherboard. The most common and affordable interfaces are IDE and SATA. SATA interface devices have higher demand so they are more affordable. We should choose a SATA hard drive.
Now that we know the features to look at in our gaming PC hard drive we should choose our next piece of hardware which is the optical drive.

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