DHitMA: Hardware I

Never forget, always have a backup!

To begin hoarding data, one needs, in general, a few hundred gigabytes of free space on a computing device. Two-hundred and fifty gigabytes (250GB) is a good starting goal; but, please note: we do not recommend such for long-term storage. Our reasoning why is explained throughout this article, and in those following.

In one's residence, the cheapest way to begin hoarding data is through the use of extra hard drive disks (HDDs). We will ignore solid state drives (SSDs), for they are much more expensive, their capacities are often much smaller than similarly-priced HDDs and they are not suitable for long-term storage. Additionally, we do not mention storage via tape, as most individuals cannot front the cost of a reliable tape reader. There are two ways to go about this:

In general, for the starting data hoarder, a large-sized external HDD is enough. If one owns a laptop computer, and not a desktop, then installing new HDDs is probably out of the question. One should note that external and internal HDDs are priced similarly. Some considerations exist: for installing new HDDs, one must determine if their motherboard contains enough SATA ports to accommodate new drives, and they must also purchase new SATA data and SATA power cables for such. For external HDDs, one must ensure the appropriate cable is included, otherwise it will have to be purchased (generally they work through the USB interface).

As of March 2020, a reliable four terabyte (4TB) external HDD from Western Digital (WD) costs approximately one-hundred (100) USD. A 4TB HDD is, for the beginner data hoarder, a perfect option for storing massive amounts of data.

With this in mind, we recommend you answer a few questions:

The HDD size you determine should stem from what types of data you think you will store. If, for instance, you plan to store mostly books, a terabyte or two will suffice; but for hoarders of music or even movies, more space will be required, due to the size of such filetypes. In general, we recommend more space over less, for the reason that it allows one to store anything they would like, should their aims change in the future. Whatever number you determine as an appropriate amount of storage space, we recommend at least 50% more, e.g. if you determine that 4TB seems sufficient for your hoard, we recommend 6TB. The price difference between these two sizes of HDDs is generally on the order of 25-40 USD. Note that you can always purchase more than one HDD, should the need arise.

Below we have listed HDD sizes in relation to their average prices, as of March 2020. The brands Western Digital, Seagate and Toshiba are all reliable, and in the following table, can be considered as interchangeable. Use of the sites Amazon or Newegg often provide discounts on the prices listed. The novice data hoarder should ignore: NAS, Pro, Enterprise or Performance HDDs, as their prices are much higher, and their specifics do not contribute meaningfully to basic data hoarding. The prices given are what you should expect to pay:

Size Price
1-2 TB 45-65 USD
3-5 TB 50-110 USD
6-8 TB 100-150 USD
8-10 TB 125-200 USD
10 TB+ 150-300 USD

This concludes the introduction to basic data hoarding. If you would like to expand your possibilities in hoarding data, including access to your data on multiple devices, remote access to your data and general reliability increase, we encourage you to read the next article: DHitMA: Hardware II.