Our site uses cookies to give you the best experience. Manage your cookies here or continue shopping if you're happy.

Accept & close

What is a Hard Drive?

Read our helpful guide to find out what a hard drive is, which type is right for you and the difference between memory (RAM) and storage (HDD/SSD).

A hard drive acts like the long-term memory of your computer. Everything you save on your device is stored on your hard drive, so it’s a vital piece of kit. Whether it’s your holiday snaps, important work documents or your favourite games, it all lives on your hard drive.

Get the lowdown on hard drive types

We have a couple of hard drive types to choose from, one option focuses on speed and the other on space. We’ve summarised the key information below so that you can choose the right hard drive for your needs.

SSD Solid State Drive

Solid State Drives (SSD) are the cream of the crop when it comes to choosing the best hard drive for your laptop, desktop or tablet. They are super slim, ultra-fast and lightweight. They help speed up your machine when you’re saving files, opening programs and even switching your device on.

Their thin and featherweight design will give your device a more streamlined look, so you’ll no longer have to carry around a chunky or heavy laptop on your morning commute. They don’t have any moving parts either, which means there’s less to go wrong when you’re working on those last minute essays! They don’t offer as much storage space as a Hard Disk Drive, but with the amount of online storage services around these days, there are plenty of options to help you manage and back up any extra files.

Shop SSDs

HDD Hard Disk Drive

Hard Disk Drives (HDD) are reasonably priced and offer lots of storage space. A lot of HDD’s come with at least 1 terabyte (TB) of storage (which means you can save over 12 days’ worth of high quality video!). A HDD is made up of several moving parts though, so it may sound quite noisy and they’re less reliable too.

Their bulky design can make a laptop, desktop or tablet look and feel bigger and heavier than a device with an SSD. This is something to bear in mind if you’re looking for a new laptop or tablet that’s super portable.

Shop HDDs

Online storage services

As we briefly mentioned above, you can also save your files online, with services like Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive and Apple’s iCloud. Each service lets you store your precious photos, videos and work documents securely, so that you can access them from anywhere and on any device. Each service will offer a certain amount of storage space for free, and if you need more, they also offer subscriptions for extra space.

For more information on the cloud, read our ‘What is The Cloud?’ article.

Online storage services

Memory vs storage

People often get confused by memory and storage. Memory refers to RAM, which is the short-term memory of the computer. No data is saved with the RAM, it’s more of a tool to help your computer open and run several programs at once. Whatever you create using these programs (work documents, photos, videos etc.) can then be saved onto your hard drive.

For more information on RAM, read our ‘What is RAM?’ article.

Memory vs storage

Have we helped?