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42x 3.5in and 2.5in hard disk group test: Loads of affordable storage

Most of our avid readers of course have at least one SSD in their desktop and laptop, but for large volume storage are still relegated to conventional hard disks. 'Conventional' is almost become a negative connotation, and it really doesn't do the storage medium justice. We tested 42 current hard drives, both 2.5in and 3.5in models. Read on to find out what the perfect hard disk is for your desktop PC, your laptop and your NAS device.

While SSDs have really dropped in price over the past year or so, they're still expensive when you compare them to hard disks and what you pay per gigabyte. Right now the best combination for a desktop or laptop is using a combination of both.

A 256GB SSD is enough for your operating system, your most frequently used software and your most important documents. A hard disk drive (HDD) can then be used for storing large files such as music, films, photos and documents you don't access very often. When you combine an SSD with a HDD, the slower access time of hard disks no longer is such an issue.

Things like energy consumption, noise levels and especially the price are more important factors for deciding which one to buy. Disks of less than 1TB are perfect for budget PCs, and the fast 1TB+ hard disks are good options if you don't want to use an SSD but still want speed (perhaps in a RAID array).

Hard disk manufacturers have come to the same conclusion and are developing fewer high-performance 3.5in disks.

It's often possible to combine an SSD with a hard disk in a laptop. Not many laptops have two 2.5in slots, but more and more have an mSATA connector and a 2.5in slot. That means you can have an mSATA SSD and a hard disk. You can read rest of the 42x 3.5in and 2.5in hard disk group test on