2TB is an almost unfathomable amount of storage. It's 500,000 songs, or 770 hours of DVD-quality video.
But as FLAC audio and HD video files rise in popularity, having acres of storage has become more essential than the latest processor or graphics card. What's more is that we want to be able to access those files quickly.
Fortunately, 2TB drive prices have fallen considerably. In the space of the year since we reviewed Western Digital's all-conquering Black drive, it's halved in price. Now is a great time to pick up a new hard drive, and we've rounded up five of the most popular options.
1. Hitachi 2TB Deskstar 7K2000 - £87
Officially the world's first ever 7200RPM 2TB hard drive, Hitachi's drive is packed with features. It's nice and quiet, and your electricity bills won't be too high thanks to its Hitachi Voltage Efficiency Regulator technology, which also ensures that the drive remains cool to the touch.
The price is pretty much unbeatable, too, and it's very solid and reliable. Ideal for desktop PCs where trustworthy data storage is more important than ultra-fast performance.
2. Samsung SpinPoint F3EG Desktop Class 2 TB - £87
It's a tight battle between Samsung's SpinPoint and Western Digital's Green drive; they're both very similar. Samsung's effort includes similar efficiency levels, and operates incredibly quietly.
They both run at 5,400 RPM, too, which explains the silence. We'd recommend Samsung's drive over Western Digital's for multi-disk RAID setups - Samsung's general reliability is just that little bit better than WD's. It's not the best performer, but it's cheap and capacious.
3. Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB - £88
We were wowed by this Western Digital drive's solid performance, and its green credentials are impressive, too: WD reckons that using this drive equates to taking your car off the road for three days a year.
It also only spins at 5,400 RPM, but managed to deliver benchmarks up there with faster drives. Add to this its whisper-quiet performance, and the fact that it keeps remarkably cool, and it's an all-round winner. We're just not all that sure how WD did it.
4. Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB - £126
Dramatically eschewing WD's own "Green" drive, the Black puts performance before worrying about that stinkin' environment. And what a performer it is, achieving read and write performance of 113.1MB/s and a random access time of 11.3ms. Which is very, very good.
Of course, this comes at a price: not only does it cost a fair bit more than other 2TB drives, but it's loud and gets hot quickly, and it's not hugely efficient. Definitely one to consider for sheer gaming performance, though.
5. Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB - £156
Seagate hasn't released a 2TB version of its hybrid SSD/HDD, Momentus, yet, so in the meantime this Barracuda will have to do. The price is substantially higher than other drives for a reason: it packs a 6GB/s SATA connection, as opposed to its competitor's 3GB/s.
Of course, the question of if actually delivers better benchmarks is academic, especially when you consider that platters and heads can only move so fast. But Seagate claims that it's the fastest HDD in the world, even if it is by fractions of a second.
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