A lot of the components on this checklist can technically be upgraded, such as drives (HDD/SSD), RAM, etc., but there are some which cannot because they become obsolete so quickly. For example, You might have a PCI-E x16 graphics card now, but in two years when your motherboard becomes outdated, it may not support PCI-E 4x or even 8x cards anymore, especially if you’ve bought an entry-level one to save money. This is why having multiple hard drive bays is beneficial if you plan to add more storage space over time.
It’s often a good idea to buy as many of the above components in pairs whenever you can. This way, if one fails or becomes incompatible with another piece of hardware in the future, you should be able to replace it with that component and continue using your PC without any issues. If you don’t have a warranty for these components which covers accidental damage then having at least two of them is even more important because failure will take down your entire computer when only one part goes bad.
One last thing to note about this checklist is that we haven’t listed all prices on purpose because they tend to change from retailer to retailer (and sometimes within the same retailer) rather frequently. You may not find all of these components in the same shop either.
SSD ( Solid State Drive )
A solid-state drive uses flash memory chips rather than magnetic storage like a normal hard disk drive.
Because of this, many think it has more benefits for your computer’s use over an HDD such as higher read/write performance and better durability due to its lack of moving parts.
SSD prices have dropped considerably in recent years and have become the standard for new computers. They’re also cheaper per gigabyte than HDD’s which is a big factor to consider when picking out your drive.
However, they do have some limitations compared to HDDs as well such as less storage space at a higher cost per GB (gigabytes), slower boot speeds, shorter “dwell time” for data access, and are much more sensitive to temperature variances.
Also, keep in mind that SSDs get slower with age especially if they’re repeatedly written/deleted so you’ll need to pace yourself!
When it comes to storage capacity, SSD’s will generally get you a higher GB per dollar value than HDDs. The larger the SSD, the more you’ll be able to store.
The largest available today are 10TB drives so we’ll only talk about what’s on offer for everyday users.
200GB: great for a boot drive or program storage.
250GB – 500GB: for a gaming computer, this is more than enough space to get started and will be fine until you’re wanting to store large media files such as movies/music.
Accessibility & Speed:
The biggest drawback for SSD’s now is the increased access times which increases with age due to repeated writing/deleting. You’re also not going to see as high of reading/writing speeds as HDDs unless you purchase an NVMe M2 variant which is pricey compared to standard SSDs.
Future Expansion Options:
SSDs can be easily upgraded, unlike HDDs by just plugging in another drive into your motherboard’s SATA ports.
If you need the space right now and don’t want to worry about SSD speeds with extra writes or operating system upgrades reducing your drive’s lifespan, HDDs will be a better option for you.
Also, because of this reason, most gaming computers are equipped with both options for people who will require lots of storage in the future. Make sure that whatever model of drive you pick can grow with your needs!
Also, consider the form factor size if you’re limited on physical space due to it being more difficult to upgrade drives compared to upgrading RAM sticks which can be done beyond warranty limits without voiding warranties.
M2 vs. SATA:
NVMe M2 is sort of like having an express lane towards your data but these advanced drives come at a higher cost and are only useful if you’re using them for intensive tasks like video/photo editing.
They also currently aren’t as widely supported, unlike their older counterparts which work with all motherboards.
The main drawback for SSDs today is the limited capacity, if you need more storage now or in the future, HDDs will be your best bet.
Also, due to increased access time as well as reading/writing speeds that are slower than an HDD, writing large files or installing multiple programs at once will take longer on an SSD which isn’t recommended.
If you’re only using them for booting up your OS and storing some games then it’s fine but no matter what make sure to give your drive plenty of breathing room when installing multiple applications! This means trying to install things one at a time instead of cluttering all at once so it can avoid extra writes and slowing down with age.
HDD ( Hard drive )
A mass storage device is connected to the system’s motherboard via a Serial ATA, PATA, SATA2/SATA3, or eSATA connection.
HDDs are bigger and slower than SSDs but much cheaper per gigabyte. And since they have moving parts inside them you’ll be more prone to data loss with an accidental drop or undesirable physical jolt being a major threat.
They’re also commonly used for non-permanent storage such as storing large amounts of music/movies and backups of your important files (for example – pictures, videos, spreadsheets, documents).
An HDD can also be referred to as a “spinning disk” drive in which its platters spin at speeds up to 15000 RPM (rotations per minute) and its heads can read/write data at an average speed of around 133 MB/s (megabytes per second).
HDD prices have also been declining in the past few years so they too are a very viable option for those on a budget.
HDDs usually come in storage capacities ranging from anywhere from 250 GB to 10TB with SSDs having fewer options available due to their limitations but still easily coming in sizes above 1TB. Bigger isn’t always better though, especially if you’re using it for non-permanent storage such as movies, pictures, or backups.
So think about what you need this drive for before making your purchase! Specifically, consider how much media you plan on storing and how much space that will take up along with temporary software installations you may need to make.
Hardware components can be confusing at first, but once you know which ones do what it’s so easy! Just remember not to jump the gun on your decision since choosing the wrong option isn’t always fixable.
Hard drives are almost always cheaper and more common anyways so keep that in mind while making your choice!
M2 vs. SATA:
There are 2 types of interfaces supported by HDDs which are SATA (Serial ATA) and PATA (Parallel ATA). The difference between these 2 is that SATA drives are more recent and have faster reading/writing speeds (around 6GB/s).
And PATA uses a 40-pin connector which can be found on older computers (from the 90s and before) whereas SATA works with Serial ATA II. The newer version of SATA also has an option for data transfer speeds up to 3 GB/s but it’s only compatible with newer motherboards.
AS far as “speed is a concern” M2 SSDs are pretty much identical to SATA, so if you’re new to hardware then it’d probably be best not to worry about this too much.
HDDs take longer to boot up and load programs but they’re significantly less susceptible to wear. They also have higher capacities so if you want something more efficient for storing multiple backups, movies, or even a large amount of pictures then an HDD is what you should get!
As mentioned before however, if speed is your main concern then consider getting an SSD since it’ll be faster than an HDD when reading/writing data. Also keep in mind that even though some offer more storage space, not all drives will be compatible with the motherboard’s interface.
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