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5 Best Internal Hard Drives for Photographers in 2021

Whether you’re getting started or you already have hundreds of pictures taken, you need the best internal hard drives for photographers if you are to safely store and access your files.

With internal hard drives, the idea is that the drive stays in your computer, as opposed to the ones you plug in via USB.

A key benefit of internal hard drives is the possibility of getting very large storage capacities for large amounts of data.

If you take multiple high-resolution pictures in a session, this will give you sufficient storage for your images.

List of Best Internal Hard Drives for Photographers in 2021

The following internal hard drives, both SSD and HDD, are exceptional for a photographer.

  1. Samsung 970 EVO – Recommended Internal SSD for Photographers
  2. WD Black SN750 – High-performance M.2 NVME SSD
  3. Crucial MX500 – 560MB/s 2.5-inch SATA SSD
  4. WD Black WD6003FZBX – Recommended Internal HDD for Photographers
  5. Seagate IronWolf Pro – NAS-grade 7200RPM 3.5-inch drive

1. Samsung 970 EVO – Recommended Internal SSD for Photographers

Samsung 970 EVO

A high performance NVMe SSD reaching upto 3500 MB/s read and 2500 MB/s write speeds.

SSDs are not all the same. NVME SSDs like this one use a computer’s PCIe lanes to transmit data faster. This results in very high performance with fast read and write speeds.

At peak performance, the 970 EVO is capable of sustaining 3500MB/s read and 2500MB/s of write speeds. This makes it the best internal hard drive for photographers.

It is also quite affordable if you consider the benefits you’re getting for the cost. Not only do you get high performance, but you also get a lot of storage capacity for pictures.

If you tend to worry about your files, you can rest easy with Samsung’s secure encryption. This will keep your files safe from unwarranted access. At the same time, the device has a very efficient heat dissipation method that keeps it cool and allows it to perform optimally.

One thing you’ll need to note is it uses an NVME interface. This means you will need to be sure you have the correct port on your computer before getting this drive since it’s not compatible with SATA.

2. WD Black SN750 – High-performance M.2 NVME SSD

WD Black SN750

Another high performance and a popular NVMe SSD.

This is another high-performance SSD from Western Digital. While the low capacities might dissuade you, it is an NVME SSD so it makes up for it in high performance. There are higher capacity models with up to 2TB space but they also fetch a higher price.

What makes this the best internal hard drive for photographers is its performance. The drive can deliver sequential read and write speeds of 3100MB/s and 1600MB/s respectively. It comes in the M.2 2280 form factor which means it takes up very little space in your computer and will be ideal for laptops.

While the drive might be targeted at gamers, it offers top tier performance for productive work as well. This will be very apparent when moving large volumes of photos around as well as when doing some intensive work on the photos.

Speaking of intensive work, the drive is very durable. It has a mean time to failure (MTTF) of 1.75 million hours as well as a TBW (Terabytes Written) endurance rating of 300.

This drive might be costly, especially for large volumes. But its performance and durability make it worth the purchase.

3. Crucial MX500 – 560MB/s 2.5-inch SATA SSD

Crucial MX500

An internal 2.5″ SATA SSD with 560 MB/s transfer speeds. 3-5 times faster than a normal HDD.

SATA SSDs like the Crucial MX500 utilizes a computer’s SATA interface. This offers a potential performance bottleneck when compared to the high-speed lanes of the PCIe interface.

That said, these SSDS do offer some good performance as can be evidenced by the MX500’s 560MB/s and 510MB/s read and write speeds respectively.

This is sufficient for most workloads, allowing a photographer to quickly save and access their files on their computers.

This drive measures 2.5 inches making it ideal for most laptops. It can also be used on a desktop and once wired up, its performance to cost balance makes it the best internal hard drive for photographers.

The drive has some protection features including power failure protection. This can come in handy if your computer suddenly shuts down. The drive will preserve your photos hence saving you from potentially catastrophic losses.

Furthermore, you get data encryption that will ensure your files are safe from malicious people who would try to access them. You also get a 5-year warranty with purchase which will add to your peace of mind. It is easy to install and compatible with most computers with a SATA port.

4. WD Black WD6003FZBX – Recommended Internal HDD for Photographers

WD Black WD6003FZBX

A high performance internal 7200 RPM 3.5″ HDD. Affordable.

If you take a lot of pictures, you will need a larger capacity drive to store them in. This is where this unit comes in.

You get storage capacities of up to 8TB. This should be sufficient for thousands of pictures if not more. At the same time, the drive performs better than regular HDDs. Its disk spins at 7200RPM which reduces data access times and improves read and write speeds.

For an even better performance boost, you get 256MB of the cache. A cache is a fast storage where the commonly accessed files are kept. This reduces read times.

This is the best internal hard drive for photographers who generate a lot of data. It offers a convenient and easy-to-access way of storing a large number of files safely thanks to the 5-year warranty you get.

One thing you will need to note is that this is a 3.5-inch drive. That means it will very possibly not fit inside a laptop due to its size. It’s affordable and compatible with most computers after a format.

5. Seagate IronWolf Pro – NAS-grade 7200RPM 3.5-inch drive

Seagate IronWolf Pro

NAS grade highly reliable internal 3.5″ hard drive.

Network Attached Storage (NAS) systems let you access your files over a network. Giving you the flexibility to access your files from anywhere.

This is a NAS-grade HDD from Seagate and what that means is it’s capable of running consistently over long periods as a NAS drive typically would.

It is also a high-capacity unit which makes it the best internal hard drive for photographers who have many files to store. This lets you get space for all your files and when it comes to data access, you get good performance.

This is made possible by the fact that the platter spins at 7200RPM ensuring faster access than regular hard drives. Also, you get 128MB of cache which improves read times as well. This leaves users with about 214MB/s of reading speeds which is good for an HDD.

As it’s a 3.5-inch drive, you will be limited as to where you can install it. Nevertheless, with a desktop or a NAS system, you will be able to utilize this unit.


How to Choose the Right Internal Hard Drive If You are a Photographer?

As a photographer, you will need a place to store your pictures. If you are fast enough, your camera’s internal storage will run out quickly and you’ll need to find additional space.

Rather than delete your hard work, storing them in an internal drive will save them for later as well as free up space on your camera for more photos.

Why Internal Hard Drives?

internal SSD for photographers

There are numerous ways to store your files and each has its benefits. With internal hard drives, your files will always be readily available to your computer.

All you do is turn it on and you will be ready to go. This is more efficient compared to having to find a cable or establish a wireless connection for an external hard drive to connect.

This can be a great way to work if the hard drive is on the same computer you use for your work. You will then have a smoother workflow when it comes to importing your pictures in third party applications for either viewing or editing.


The key disadvantage to using an external hard drive is you sacrifice portability in some cases. If it’s a laptop, you will be able to carry your pictures around. However, on a desktop, you can just forget about traveling with your pictures.


internal hard disk for photographers
Internal hard disks are much slower than SSDs but are also cheaper. Source: WD Black

Hard Disks Drives (HDDs) are the more traditional storage devices although Solid State Drives (SSDs) are quickly becoming the norm. With HDDs, a spinning platter gets data written onto its surface magnetically.

This happens relatively fast but for large files, there may be some significant waiting time. SSDs on the other hand use semiconductors instead of moving parts to read and write data. They are much faster at reads and writes and ideal for instances where high performance or speed is required.

HDDs are slower, but they also cost much less per GB. You tend to get large storage capacities at lower prices, making these ideal if you have large libraries of photos that need storage.

Things to Consider

When getting an internal hard drive, some of the things you will need to consider are speed and cost. These are important metrics if you need to balance between performance and your budget.

At the same time, consider finding out what size of drives your computer uses so that you don’t end up getting an incompatible hard drive.

Also Read:

Importance of Backing Up

Final Words

In the end there are two routes that you can choose to go for i.e hard disks drives or SSD. SSDs are generally used for hot data or data you access very often whereas the HDDs are generally used for storing large media for long times.

Another route would be to go for external hard drives for photographers but that would be the more expensive option.

Here we looked at the best internal hard drives for photographers. We talked about both SSDs as well as HDDs and scenarios where each would make more sense.

Also Read: Best External Hard Drives for Photographers

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We are team of two engineers with a keen interest and a passion for PC builds and hardware.

PCGearLab.com is essentially the culmination of our enthusiasm towards this subject. We review PC peripherals and hardware, talk about custom builds and informative topics regarding troubleshooting issues, understanding a component better and general tips for DIY PC builders.

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