PC Gear Lab

5 Best Hard Drives for Archiving in 2020

In this digital age, people are generating data at unprecedented rates. Some of the files can be destroyed if they don’t need to be used again.

However, if somewhere down the road you feel like you may need some older files then the best chance to have them preserved is in an archive.

Archiving is a delicate process because if you do it wrong you may end up losing some potentially valuable files.

To avoid this, you could use a hard drive with proven features. To discover the best hard drives for archiving, read on.

Also Read: Best External Hard Drives for Long Term Storage

List of the Best Hard Drives for Archiving

To start archiving, you’ll need a good hard disk. This is the best place to start looking for one that fits you well.

  1. Seagate IronWolf 110 – SSD with Long-term Storage
  2. Toshiba MG07ACA14TE – An Expensive but Reliable option
  3. Seagate BarraCuda Pro – High capacity 7200 rpm drive
  4. WD Ultrastar DC HA210 – Fast HDD with a large cache
  5. LaCie STHR1000800 – Premium SSD with Encryption

1. Seagate IronWolf 110 – SSD with Long-Term Storage

When you archive your files, you may want to access them quickly at a later date. Furthermore, if the files are large enough, then reading and writing to the disk can take a while.

The fact that the IronWolf 110 is an SSD means that data transfers will take a much shorter time than when using an HDD. With speeds of up to 560 MB/s, you can read and write to your archive very fast.

The device comes in a 2.5-inch size and capacities range from 240 GB up to 3.84 Tb meaning that you have a lot of flexibility, you can get as much or as little as you need for your archive.

One of the many advantages of this drive is that it’s built for a NAS (Network Attached Storage) which will let you access your archived files from devices connected on the same network.

Besides being fast and having large capacities, what makes this one of the best hard drive for archiving is the fact that it’s designed for long-term storage, so you’ll be able to store files in it for a long time before the data is lost or corrupted.

2. Toshiba MG07ACA14TE – An Expensive but Reliable Option

This hard drive comes in a larger 3.5-inch size and is more inclined to data center grade usage. For this reason, the drive comes with a hefty price tag.

However, if the cost isn’t an issue then opting for this drive will bear some advantages. To begin with, it has a disk speed of 7200 RPM. This lets you copy and move files quite fast compared to some conventional drives with 5400 RPM.

One of the catchiest aspect of this hard disk drive is that it is one of the most reliable model. Hence if you want a hard disk with the least change of failure then we recommend this.

It can handle a large annual workload with minimal issues and has a ridiculously low failure rate. According to Backblaze, out of the 1220 Toshiba drives tested over the year in 2019, none failed. This is a clear testament to their reliability.

The speed is not too impressive, especially when compared to options such as having an SSD. However, the disk is capable of running 24/7. So, for an archive that needs to be highly available, this is the best hard drive for archiving.

It can handle a large workload with minimal issues and has a ridiculously low failure rate. This makes the device very reliable.

With large storage options of up to 14 TB and the added benefit of reliability and durability, this hard drive can do well for archiving purposes, especially when you have numerous files that need storage.

3. Seagate BarraCuda Pro – High Capacity 7200 RPM Drive

The Seagate Barracuda Pro is a 3.5-inch hard drive that utilizes the SATA interface.

The HDD performs quite well with its 7200-rpm disk. This reduces the time you’ll need to wait for data to be read to and from the disk compared to a 5400 rpm Hard Disk making this one of the best hard drive for archiving.

Because HDDs are a bit slow, compared to faster options like SSDs, the Barracuda Pro also features 256 MB of cache that lets you access commonly-used files much faster thereby improving the disk’s performance.

The drive is very reliable. This is important for a hard disk that is meant for archiving as it reduces the risk of data loss due to the inevitable aging of electronic devices. This hard disk also scored well in terms of low failure rate.

You also get the added advantage of data recovery services within two years of the purchase. This is an essential feature that can give you some ease of mind.

The Barracuda Pro has storage capacities up to 14 TB. This is larger compared to SSDs and is essential for users with large archives. 

4. WD Ultrastar DC HA210 – Fast HDD with a Large Cache

This hard drive is built for application in data centers – hence you can already tell that this is going to be a reliable model. It can also be used for disk backups and archiving important files.

The read speeds are further improved by the 128 MB of cache that the drive has for buffering content that is being accessed frequently.

If you have large files in your archive that you access frequently then this may be the best hard disk for archiving for you to consider.

It can handle large workloads of up to 550TB per year. Additionally, the device comes with technology that protects it from vibrations which can greatly affect the disk’s performance, especially when placed on a rack with other disks.

The drive, like others we have seen, also features a 7200-rpm disk that works to improve its performance in both read and write speeds. The drive is very reliable, according to Backblaze and is great for archiving.

The hard drive has a whopping 2.5m hours Mean Time Between Failures. Therefore, if you are looking for an option that can be had at a rather affordable price tag but lasts long, then this is best option in our opinion.

5. LaCie STHR1000800 – Premium SSD with Encryption

For a start, this hard drive is meant for external use. It comes with a rugged rubberized case that offers not only a good looks but also serves as a shock absorber.

Being an SSD means that data transfers will happen much faster compared to any HDD, including the 7200 rpm drives we have already seen. Its speeds can hit about 950 MB/s. The best of the 7200 RPM disks reach at about 150 MB/s transfer speeds.

As such, this drive is multiple times faster than an HDD, but unfortunately it is also multiple times more expensive when you take the per Gigabyte price.

The hard drive features a USB 3.0 connector which lets you transfer files to and from if much faster. For users who would like to take their archived files wherever they go, this is a great option since it is portable and all you’ll need is a computer and the data cable to access your files.

What makes this one of the best drive disk for archiving is the fact that it’s a premium device with features that a user will find useful. Particularly the one who travels a lot.

The drive also protects your files from unauthorized access by encrypting them. Being IP67-rated water and dust resistant and also crash-resistant makes this drive great for archiving and adds to the reason behind its expensive price.

What to Expect

When looking into getting a new hard disk for archiving, there are a few issues that you’ll need to address. You’d want your files to be safe and for that to be more assured, you can look into the following

Internal Vs External for Archiving

Best External Hard Drives for Long Term Storage
Source: LaCie Rugged SSD

An internal hard disk is one that’s inside your computer. You may decide to house the drive inside a computer for a few reasons, the first of which being that the hard disk already has an OS you’d like to occasionally boot into.

An external hard drive, on the other hand, is one that isn’t inside a computer. It will need to have an enclosure though, one that has an interface that allows you to connect to the drive itself, and besides that, you may need to take personal care to keep it safe.

Whichever option you choose to go with for your hard disk will depend on how you intend to use it. Both have their benefits like an external drive is more portable whereas an internal one is much easier to access if you can boot into the computer.

Basically, if you move around a lot, then an external disk will make sense for archiving, but you will need to make sure it is resistant to things like water damage or shocks.

On the other hand, if you plan to archive your files and photos in a stationary storage, then an internal hard drive would be more feasible and cost effective.

Also Read: SSD vs HDD NAS

Reliability of SSD vs HDD for Long Term Storage

Data Center HDD
Some HDDs have a high TB/year work load rating particularly Data Center grade. They are highly reliable

Besides whether the drive will be inside or outside a computer, you will also need to look at the general reliability of the device.

This pits two kinds of drives against each other. A hard drive has a disk that spins and an arm that moves across the disk during operation. All these moving parts can serve as a source of failure for your hard disk.

An SSD, on the other hand, has no moving parts. And in addition to that, it’s not affected by magnetism like a hard drive that uses magnetism to store data.

All this points to the fact that an SSD can be a better solution for archiving. This is not the case as the cost per Gigabyte for an SSD is much higher than that of an HDD.

Also Read: Difference between SATA and SSD Drives

Shock Proof

Once in a while, a hard disk can be exposed to high impact forces like drops or shocks. All these can lead to damages, especially when the shock is at a very high magnitude. To avoid this, and to ensure that the hard drive survives longer, it needs to be shockproof.

With a shock-proof drive, you can be sure that a minor fall will not cause too much damage.

Final Words

In this article we had a look at some of the best hard drives for archiving. It is worth noting that reliability is the key here. Therefore, you may need to look at the drive Mean Time Between Failure, its failure rate, and TeraByte of Data per year it can serve.

Other than that, choice between HDD and SSD also matters. For faster storage, SSD is the way to go. Furthermore, you need to gauge whether you need an external or an internal hard drive.

When you go for an external hard drive, you will need to make certain that it has safety features such as shock or water proofing etc.

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