We live in a connected world, where your photos, documents and other files can be reached anywhere and in the blink of an eye. Millions of people use cloud storage to save space on their phones and computers or to back up their data in an emergency. With cloud storage options from companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Dropbox, it’s easy to get a ton of cloud storage for just a few bucks a month.
As great as cloud storage is, it is not a substitute for traditional physical media. The old way of preserving memories was to put physical photos in shoe boxes or store them in albums. They are not always immediately available, but they cannot be deleted. If you need more space for gaming or high-key software development, the cloud can slow you down, and if you’re concerned about security, you might not want your information stored where an enterprising hacker can steal it.
While 100 terabyte capacity drives exist, they are often expensive and difficult to buy — they usually exist for large businesses, not consumer use. Let’s take a look at the largest drives you can buy in any size for your computer.
The largest hard drives you can buy
Whether you opt for an old-fashioned HDD (hard drive) or have finally made the switch to an SSD (solid-state drive), physical storage continues to fall in price, making it a great time to upgrade your laptop. computer with a faster, larger drive. If you’re trying to find the biggest ride possible, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ll look at three different types of drives in this list: hard drives, solid-state drives, and flash storage. It’s worth noting that each of these three categories of drives has its own subcategories that can make purchasing them a bit more complicated.
Hybrid drives, for example, use the storage space of HDDs with a small, built-in solid-state drive to speed up your operating system. Solid-state drives come in different forms and use different connections to provide faster read and write speeds. While an SSD will always be faster than a disk drive, a SATA SSD will see significantly slower speeds than an NVMe M.2 drive.
Flash storage is perhaps the most complicated of all, as it is essentially a collective term for different types of media. Whether you’re looking at a microSD card or a USB flash drive, they all use flash storage to expand the capabilities of your devices.
Leaving aside the differences between the drives on the market, let’s take a look at the largest of all three one by one. We will be using Amazon as our go-to source for pricing and availability. While these may not be the largest drives out there, you can purchase these drives for your own personal use at home. After all, what good is a drive that isn’t even available to most consumers? Let’s dive in.
As of April 2022, the largest HDD you’ll find on the market today will clock in at a whopping 20 terabytes. While it’s tempting to buy the most recent and largest drives, we recommend Seagate’s IronWolf 18TB drive to get the job done. If you absolutely need the storage space for hundreds of games or thousands of hours of video footage, this is the drive for you.
Of course, just because you can buy it doesn’t mean you should. These types of drives are built primarily for enterprise, meaning they are slow and built to last for tens of thousands of hours at a time.
These drives are made for network storage or NAS, and at only 7200 RPM, they are not made for speed and performance. Don’t get us wrong though. If you’re looking for storage space above all else, or if you’re building a NAS enclosure for your home network, the IronWolf will get the job done. At just under $600, you’ll pay less than four cents per gigabyte.
At the beginning of last year, the company released its 20 TB drive.
Solid State Drives
The whole point of buying a disk-based drive in 2022 is to provide tons of storage space at a low price, but if you’re looking for a ton of storage space while also keeping your read and write speeds high, you need to turn to SSDs. .
With the prices of SSDs dropping faster than businesses can keep up with, buying a new drive has never been a better idea. As of April 2022, the largest SSD you can buy for your personal PC is 16TB, now almost comparable to the 20TB drive we highlighted above. Given the high price of a 16TB SSD, you may want to settle for an 8TB SSD and enjoy the speed increases over a larger capacity HDD.
There are a number of 4TB SSDs on Amazon, but you can’t go wrong with Samsung’s 860 EVO drive. It’s a traditional SATA drive built for desktop PCs and will currently cost you around $600. Samsung’s solid-state drives are recommended by almost every expert in the field for their reliability and fantastic speeds.
If you’re using a laptop, you’ll probably need to use an NVMe drive instead of a standard 2.5-inch SATA drive. Fortunately, Samsung has you covered in that area too. While they don’t offer a 4TB NVMe drive yet, Samsung’s 970 EVO Plus M.2 NVMe drive is a great option for your laptop. It’s fast, thin and offers a huge amount of storage for just under $500.
It’s also worth noting that an 8TB drive is fine for most users, but it’s certainly not the largest SSD on the market today. There’s a lot of talk right now about 200 TB drives and even 1,000 TB drives, but for 2022 it looks like the Nimbus ExaDrive DC will be the biggest, with 100 TB at $40,000. Depending on how much storage space you need, it’s best to wait a little longer for a cheaper drive of this size.
Although cloud storage is more widely used than flash storage, there are still plenty of reasons to buy flash storage. First, it’s getting cheaper and cheaper, which means it’s a good idea to have a spare flash drive on hand in case you need to move files.
Second, some devices, including cameras and certain consoles like the Nintendo Switch, rely on microSD cards to expand their storage. If you’re looking for the largest flash storage option, you’ve come to the right place.
For USB drives, consider this PNY flash drive with 256GB of storage. For just $35, it’s a great way to back up your data or move files from one computer to another.
Meanwhile, for anyone looking for an SD card or a microSD card, you have a couple of options. While it’s not the largest you can buy, Samsung’s 512GB microSD card will set you back under $100, making it perfect for downloading dozens of games to your Nintendo Switch.
However, if you value size over savings, you should grab this terabyte microSD card from Sandisk. At $165, it’s an expensive card, but if you absolutely need the space, you’ll be glad to know it exists.
Other large hard drives
Following Seagate’s example, other tech companies began unveiling large-capacity hard drives.
In early 2019, Toshiba unveiled its own hard drive with a storage capacity of 16 TB, although it was not released for some time after that. This hard drive makes 7,200 rotations per minute (RPM), 512 MiB buffer and a workload of 550 TB per year. It will have a 9-disk helium design, which should help save a large amount of power.
Western Digital GHST Ultra Star
The latest drive in the Ultra Star series is a 20 TB giant mainly used in video surveillance and cloud storage systems. However, an earlier version of 12 TB is currently available in stores, making it the second largest hard drive you can buy.
Like Toshiba’s MG08, it has 7,200 RPM and a 512 MB buffer. The helium technology is essential for the large capacity of the drive. This is because a lower density gas reduces aerodynamic force and improves the spinning of the disc’s discs. As such, more platters fit in one drive and power consumption is significantly reduced.
Western Digital RED
This is a specific HDD designed for NAS systems. It comes in 10 TB and 12 TB versions and has some specific features. The most notable of these include heat and noise reduction, advanced customization and a long-term warranty. The 12 TB version is comparable to the previous two at 7,200 RPM and works with Network-Attached Storage (NAS) systems with up to 24 bays.
Is capacity important?
Experts believe that 16 TB of storage space will be the maximum capacity needed to meet the needs of even the most demanding computer users in the future. Of course, there was a time when you also only needed 16 Gb on your phone.
With the rise of cloud storage systems, portable flash drives and streaming services, the demand for personal hard drives is declining. Large storage drives also mean large data loss in the event of a failure, making cloud storage a much more secure option.
Do you think the capacity of storage drives will become less important in the future and why? When buying a hard drive are you going for performance or capacity? Share your thoughts in the comments below.