The hard disk drive. A technology that has stood the test of time, and remained relatively unchanged for decades. Thanks to this fact, you can get hard drives absurdly cheap if you know where to look. Manufacturers mass produce hard drives on a massive time and space scale, and there is a plethora of high capacity drives that are new and reissued on the market today. If you are a smart shopper, (preferably building your own pc), you can take advantage of a few key pieces of knowledge to get a massive amount of storage for yourself. In fact, you might someday find yourself in the market of multiple high-capacity hard drives, to run in a NAS or RAID array in a home server or media machine. Whatever your market, take advantage of these 4 best ways to get hard drives absurdly cheap:
Update: Here is a tool I’ve developed that makes the task of finding the cheapest hard drives by the terabyte super easy!
Number 4: Don’t be afraid to buy external – sometimes
Although internal hard drives are more effective to use for enthusiasts due to their ability to be assembled directly into servers and network storage, external drives – that is, hard drives that run from outside of the computer – have tons of use. As long as the drive uses USB 3.0, the transfer speed will be identical to SATA (the internal hard drive data connector inside the computer). This means that for non-power users, buying a simple external hard drive may be all you need. As a plus, retailers often sell external hard drives for cheaper than internal hard drives. The kicker? Sometimes, the drives inside these external enclosures are identical drives to internal drives sold for much more by the same company. The external enclosures can be “shucked” and the drive can be removed and used internally as desired. The moral of the story? Buy external, you have nothing to lose!
For example, this external drive has a 6tb WD blue inside (note that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.):
That is a large price difference, and the external drive can be shucked to retrieve the WD blue for internal use if desired anyway.
Or, check this drive out:
A great deal for an 8tb drive! And, you guessed it, it’s shuck-able!
So, check out some retailer’s selections for external hard drives and choose one that fits your budget, chances are you’ll be getting a great deal!
Number 3: Buy large capacity and calculate price per terabyte
This tip is very important. Always calculate your price per terabyte when buying a hard drive. Anywhere around $15-20 per terabyte is a good deal.
Here is an excellent tool that can calculate prices per unit for anything you search for, including price per terabyte, gigabyte, pound, ounce, etc. It is an excellent tool that makes this step very easy, and can save you time and money on an enormous amount of purchases!
Once you do this, you’ll notice a pattern: the larger the drive, the better the price per terabyte, (up to around 8tb). And what’s more – you don’t want 10 1tb hard drives laying around, plus your computer only has a few extra hard drive slots. You want to have one or two high capacity hard drives for all of your uses. Why buy 4 2 terabyte drives when you can have one 8 terabyte drive? It just makes sense.
Take a look at this WD blue:
It’s capacity is 1tb and it costs way too much per terabyte! You can do better!
For example, this drive isn’t a bad deal:
However, it’s only 4 terabytes in capacity. So, you can certainly get a better deal:
This WD Elements drive is higher capacity. At 6 terabytes, it is only slightly more than the 4tb drive. But, you can still do better:
This drive is a whopping 8tb. Much better!
Number 2: Buy Refurbished Enterprise Drives
Buying refurbished can save you lots of money on tech products, and hard drives are no exception! Particularly if you are in the market for smaller capacity drives (4tb or lower) that are internal, buying refurbished might be for you! Some perks of buying refurbished hard drives:
- The drives will likely be enterprise drives that have run for their designated number of hours, were wiped, and sold in bulk – nothing wrong with them!
- Because the drives are enterprise, they have exceptional build quality and reliability!
- There is a huge supply of these drives because of the exponential increase of data on the internet and need for datacenters – meaning you can get them cheap!
Just check out some of these deals:
HGST Ultrastar, an incredibly reliable enterprise drive, at a nice small 3tb size.
Another nice, reliable Ultrastar, this time 4tb.
If you’re looking for an internal HDD of a low capacity for cheap that you can count on, look no further than refurbished enterprise drives.
Number 1: Easystores!
The Western Digital Easystore. There’s a reason these puppies are the favorite of the data archiving power users at the datahoarder subreddit. The Easystore is easily shuckable (see the external HDD section) and extremely well-renown.
Many Easystores contain Western Digital Red Drives inside, at a fraction of the cost of the actual WD Red internal drive. The Red drive can be easily removed to be put inside your computer. Some of the newer Easystores have WD whites inside, which are equivalent to reds (see this post for everything there is to know about Easystore internal drives and how to shuck them).
So, do you want a new, massive, 10tb helium filled drive? Well, you could buy this WD drive, or you could get a comparable drive for much cheaper with this easystore:
That contains a helium drive with 10tb capacity, which is cutting-edge! Awesome!
Looking for a cheaper, 8tb model? You could give this one a try (not exactly an Easystore, but made by the same company with the same drives inside):
An 8tb drive, easily shuck-able. A classic.
So, if I had to recommend a hard drive to you, I’d say to buy Western Digital, get an external drive, and make it an Easystore or a comparable model!
What should you do with all of your new storage?
Here are some ideas for the utility of your new storage opportunities:
- Back up all of your important photos, videos, and documents to a new backup server with the hard drives inside
- Install hard drives in your gaming PC to store your entire steam library
- Use the hard drives to archive all of the media you own for easy access
- Build a server with the hard drives inside and connect it to a security system to keep archives of security footage
- Enter into the world of data hoarding – simply archive and hoard huge swathes of data ranging from youtube videos to random website clones!
Whatever you do with your newly found storage options, rest easy with the knowledge that you got the best bang for your buck and took advantage of awesome opportunities to buy hard drives absurdly cheap.
If you have any questions or comments about this post, feel free to leave a comment or contact me!
If you’d like, check out some of these featured items! Please note that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.