The best hard disks and SSDs

MX100 256GB

Mac Format - - IMPROVE YOUR MAC - £113 Tech­nol­ogy Hard disk Size 3.5-inch In­ter­face SATA III Spin­dle speed 5,400rpm £52 Tech­nol­ogy Hard disk Size 2.5-inch In­ter­face SATA III Spin­dle speed 7,200rpm £80 Man­u­fac­turer Western Dig­i­tal Man­u­fac­turer HGST Man­u­fac­turer Sam­sung Tech­nol­ogy Hard

If you’re think­ing about adding more stor­age to your desk­top Mac, you may as well go allin with a 4TB drive, and this model from Western Dig­i­tal is ter­rific value. As part of its Green range, it’s de­signed for quiet, low-power op­er­a­tion, so may not be suited as a main boot drive, but as part of a Fu­sion Drive setup though (or as an ad­di­tional in­ter­nal drive in a Mac Pro for stor­ing big li­braries of mu­sic and movies or Time Ma­chine back­ups), it’s fine. If you need some­thing faster, WD’s Blue or its top-end Black range are worth ex­plor­ing. It’s very hard to get enough scale to test the re­li­a­bil­ity of hard disks in a mean­ing­ful way, but on­line backup ser­vice Back­blaze did just that in their data cen­tres, pub­lish­ing up­dated fig­ures in Septem­ber last year, and the drives from HGST (for­merly Hi­tachi) con­sis­tently proved the most re­li­able. While they weren’t test­ing note­book drives, it’s still a lit­tle boost of con­fi­dence when choos­ing be­tween very sim­i­lar hard disks – and this lit­tle 1TB drive is in any case a ter­rific price for an up­grade in your Mac­Book’s stor­age. If you want re­ally huge stor­age in a lap­top drive, this Sam­sung model de­liv­ers. 2TB should keep almost any­body happy, with enough space for not just big iTunes li­braries but also even many hours of HD video footage. It’s 25 times big­ger than the hard disk in the first Mac­Book Pro, and it’s not like that’s an an­cient Mac! You do pay a slight price – not fi­nan­cially, since at £80 its price-per-gi­ga­byte is ac­tu­ally lower than our other rec­om­men­da­tion – but be­cause it uses a slower 5,400rpm spin­dle, it could be a bit slug­gish. Frankly, we would rec­om­mend Cru­cial’s MX100 SSD in all its ca­pac­i­ties for most peo­ple (but since we want to give you a range of op­tions here, there are another two be­low!). The MX100, though, re­ally is ter­rific value for money, and although it’s not the fastest SSD avail­able, it’s eas­ily fast enough for all but the most de­mand­ing users, and es­pe­cially if you’re up­grad­ing from a hard disk, the dif­fer­ence will be huge any­way. Plus, un­less you have a SATA III con­nec­tion in your Mac, you wouldn’t see the ben­e­fit of faster drives in any case.

Green 4TB Trav­el­star 7K1000 1TB Mo­men­tus Spin­point M9T 2TB

850 Pro 512GB

If you want even faster per­for­mance – and have a Mac with a SATA III con­nec­tion that can ac­tu­ally keep up with the SSD – then you should look at the Sam­sung 850 Pro. Avail­able in 128GB (£90), 256GB (£137), the £250 half-ter­abyte size we’ve picked here and even a 1TB model at a whop­ping £460, the ‘Pro’ moniker is well de­served. It’s ex­pected to han­dle the equiv­a­lent of 40GB read/write work­load over 10 years, and car­ries a 10-year war­ranty. As you’d ex­pect, it’s fast, too – Sam­sung quotes 520MB/sec se­quen­tial read speeds.

SSD wrk for Mac

The SSDs that come built into mod­ern Macs na­tively support the TRIM com­mand, a set of garbage col­lec­tion util­i­ties that help the SSD main­tain their speed over the course of their lifetime. Most third-party SSDs don’t support it on the Mac, though you can en­able it in soft­ware with the sep­a­rate third-party app Trim En­abler (cin­dori.org/soft­ware/tri­menabler). The An­gel­bird wrk for Mac range, though, sup­ports it out of the box, with no driv­ers needed. Sure, €580 is a lot, but if you don’t need a full ter­abyte, the 512GB (€290) or 256GB (€150) mod­els might suf­fice.

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