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Drives

BEST 2.5 Inch HDD (Hard Disk Drives)! [Updated March 2021]

wd hard drive
wd hard drive
Hard Disk Drive

What are the best 2.5 inch HDD you can buy right now? What to look for in a drive you’re about to buy? Should you sacrifice performance, storage or nothing? Find out here!

Brief description of HDD Terminologies

RPM

RPM (also known as Revolutions Per Minute) is how many times the disc inside an HDD (Hard Disk Drive) spins in a minute. If your HDD has 7200 rpm, that means rate of read and write is faster than a HDD compared to a 5400 rpm drive.

Cache

Hard Drive Cache (Or Disk Buffer) acts as an temporary faster memory for hard drive as it reads from or writes to platters on the HDD. It can be thought of as a small SSD or a small RAM, meaning it’s very fast with no physically spinning disks.

Interface Max Speed

You may have seen ‘SATA III 6GBps’ or similar speeds being written on a Hard Disk’s specification. Don’t be deceived as this is not actually what that specific drive’s speed is, rather it’s the maximum theoretical speed of SATA III, an interface to which most 2.5” or 3.5” drives are connected these days.

Performance

  Seagate BarraCuda Pro ST1000LM049 WD Black WD10SPSX
Seagate FireCuda Pro WD Black
RPM 7200 rpm 7200 rpm
Storage 1 TB 1 TB
Interface SATA 6 Gb/s SATA 6 Gb/s
Cache 128 MB 64 MB
Price $60 - $65
Click to see latest price!
$60 - $65
Click to see latest price!

When we talk about performance, we check the RPM primarily. The maximum amount of RPM in 2.5” HDD is 7200 rpm. Both, WD Black and Seagate BarraCuda Pro have 7200 RPM making them excellent choices. Secondarily, we check their cache memory and interface speed. Both of them have identical interfaces. Seagate BarraCuda Pro has double the cache memory of its competitor. Both have the same storage amounts. 

Price range for both are under $65 making them a bargain! 

While Seagate BarraCuda Pro wins a point with extra cache memory (allowing your HDD to multitask more efficiently), WD Black has a reputation of being best in the market for build quality and reliability. 

But, whichever you choose, you won’t be compromising.

All Round

Best all round performer means you can do better than your competitors in all the metrics such as price, performance and storage. Seagate FireCuda 2TB SSHD delivers on all fronts!

Seagate FireCuda ST2000LX001
Seagate FireCuda
RPM 5400 rpm
Storage 2 TB
Interface SATA 6 Gb/s
Cache 128 MB
Price $70 - $75
Click to see latest price!

Check out why we think this is the best 2.5” HDD all round performer in our detailed review of Seagate FireCuda 2TB SSHD here!

Budget

When you are short on cash, you will be looking to see if there are budget HDDs. Getting the best of both performance and storage on budget are impossible unless there is some mega sale. So, when you choose performance, storage will be less. Likewise, when you choose storage, performance will be less. 

We have picked the best 2.5 HDDs for both of the scenarios below!

Storage Over Performance

  WD Blue WD10SPZX Toshiba MQ01ABD100 Seagate BarraCuda ST2000LM015
WD Blue Toshiba Seagate BarraCuda
RPM 5400 rpm 5400 rpm 5400 rpm
Storage 1 TB 1 TB 2 TB
Interface SATA 6 Gb/s SATA 6 Gb/s SATA 6 Gb/s
Cache 128 MB 8 MB 128 MB
Price $40 - $45
Click to see latest price!
$40 - $45
Click to see latest price!
$70 - $75
Click to see latest price!

The best 2.5 inch HDDs above are the best value for money with slightly less RPM performance than the best. All there have 5400 rpm speed which is enough for most tasks. Out of the three above, WD Blue is the best if you are looking to buy 1 TB HDD, just under  $45. If you are looking to buy 2TB HDD then, Seagate Barracuda gives much more value for money than the other two 1TB HDDs. Toshiba 1TB HDD is also good but its downside compared to the other two is its cache memory.

Whichever you buy, thou shall not go wrong!

Performance Over Storage

  WD Blue WD5000LPLX Toshiba MQ01ACF050 Seagate Laptop Thin T500LM021
WD Blue Toshiba
Seagate Laptop Thin
RPM 7200 rpm 7200 rpm 7200 rpm
Storage 500 GB 500 GB 500 GB
Interface SATA 6 Gb/s SATA 6 Gb/s SATA 6 Gb/s
Cache 32 MB 16 MB 32 MB
Price $30 - $35
Click to see latest price!
$30 - $35
Click to see latest price!
$30 - $35
Click to see latest price!

When you need performance above everything else, 5400RPM just doesn’t cut it. You need at least 7200rpm to not be bottlenecked by your HDD. Generally found in 3.5” form factors, 7200rpm can also be found in some 2.5” drives (sacrificing some storage capacity).

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  43. I personally would not buy WD Blue drives, notorious for failiue, also the drives you have mentioned anything >= 1Tb in a 2.5 inch drive will be SMR ( Shingled Magnetic Recording ), these drives are more archival than anything else, meant to be written to as little as possible or if possible all at once and read back many many times.

    For that reason the fuller the drive gets and because of the way SMR works the slower the driver get, reads will be unaffected but write speeds get really bad.

    Unfortunately the current technology for 2.5 inch and large 12Tb + 3.5 inch drives uses SMR and the results aint great.

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