Can A Surveillance Hard Drive Be Used In A Desktop? | WhatsaByte (2023)

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A surveillance hard drive is a great way to store surveillance footage, but what if you need a new hard drive for your desktop?

You can use a surveillance hard drive in a desktop setup. However, surveillance hard drives and normal PC hard drives have different construction and as such offer contrasting functionality. So, it is best to use a surveillance hard drive in security systems and not in an everyday computer.

Can A Surveillance Hard Drive Be Used In A Desktop? | WhatsaByte (1)

(Video) Desktop Hard Drive vs Surveillance Hard Drive

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What is Special About Surveillance Hard Drives?

Surveillance hard drives are storage drives that store a vast amount of data inside a surveillance system. Be it for home security systems or commercial level security, you will find this sort of hard drive at the center of it all.

(Video) What is the Difference Between a PC Desktop Hard Disk & a Surveillance Grade CCTV HDD for DVR NVR

To understand why surveillance hard drives are engineered differently, you need to understand the purpose they serve.

Surveillance hard drives are specifically built to fit in high-tech security systems, where you will find multiple security cameras or CCTVs. These cameras record gigabits or terabits of high definition (HD) footage and send it to a storage unit.

Now, this recording process has to be perpetual, or else the integrity of the security system is put at risk. Because a failure to capture footage for even just a few seconds or minutes can have massive implications. You can lose pivotal information about a crime in just those few short moments.

And this is the demand that a proper surveillance hard drive has to suffice. It has to store the constant stream of data 24/7, without dropping any frames. And it has to be reliable enough to offer this service day after day.

Hence, manufacturers have to follow a different protocol and consider the specific demands of a security system, both of which are different from a personal computer. This results in two similar yet divergent pieces of hardware.

Surveillance Vs Desktop HDD

To the untrained eye, a surveillance HDD and a desktop HDD will look interchangeable. Not least because both of these hard drives share a similar appearance as well as name. But if you were to take a closer look, you will see some careful considerations have gone into the production process to make these drives function differently.

The first and most obvious point of difference is the amount of work each drive is subjected to. A typical desktop hard drive has to work for 8 to 9 hours. Even if it runs for longer, there is usually a period of respite where you turn the PC off. After all, working on your computer continuously is not a healthy lifestyle.

But a surveillance hard drive has to work tirelessly throughout the day and then repeat this process for the next day and so on. It cannot take a breather for even a second unless you turn off the entire security system for maintenance. That is the workload any surveillance hard drive has to withstand as a minimum.

The other aspect that separates the two is the specific function they perform. You see, the tasks that the hard drive in your computer performs can be divided into three major categories – reading, writing, and transmission.

Writing is where the hard drive takes the data from a system and stores it in the form of binary codes (zeros and ones). Reading is when the hard drives analyze the stored data and then use it to perform various tasks. Finally, the hard drive can exchange data between different parts of the system as well as other storage drives.

(Video) Difference between desktop hdd and surveillance hard disk

A desktop or a laptop hard drive can perform all three of these tasks and they often do so simultaneously. In contrast, about 90 percent of the time, a surveillance hard drive is engaged in writing data i.e., storing the data in binary.

The remaining 10 percent is for reading and data transferring, which is when you view the footage from last night or make a copy of the stored information. These tasks are no doubt important but you will need to do this once or twice a day. Unless there is a particular situation arising, you will not find the need to view the back catalog of data.

This need to continuously record data means that a surveillance hard drive has to function at a much higher rate than regular PC hard drives. And the results back this up. On average, a standard surveillance hard drive will outspeed a desktop HDD in most scenarios, be it reading or writing. Of course, there are several factors that can alter this difference.

Additionally, a surveillance HDD consumes less power than a similar-level desktop HDD. This is also beneficial for a security system, as it means that you can work even when the power gets too low. This can be particularly useful during nighttime surveillance.

Can Surveillance Hard Drive be Used in Desktop?

Despite the differences we just mentioned, a surveillance hard drive is still a hard drive. Even though it is proficient in storing data and that is the role it serves for the majority, it is still capable of performing like a regular hard drive. You can still read the data on a surveillance hard drive as well as make duplicates of it or send it to another system.

So, a surveillance hard drive will be able to store, read and transfer data inside a desktop computer. You can even connect multiple in a RAID configuration, which is a pre-tuned feature of a surveillance HDD.

However, similar to most tools in this world, there is a particular setup where a surveillance hard drive excels at.

Every year, people invest a substantial amount of money in setting up a security system for homes, warehouses, hospitals, shopping malls, dinners, etc. In return, these monitoring systems are a vital part of preventing crimes and potentially saving the owners thousands of dollars.

So, a dedicated surveillance system should also have a dedicated hard drive that perfectly matches that system. And a surveillance hard drive will do that for you.

If you put a surveillance HDD inside a regular desktop, you are not really getting the most out of the device. Similarly, putting a desktop hard drive inside a surveillance setup is wasting the full potential of that hard drive, no matter its quality level.

(Video) Are Hard Drives Still Worth It?

Most PC owners do not need to keep their computers on for the entire day. So, a standard desktop HDD will suffice their needs perfectly.

Final Verdict

You should use a desktop hard drive for your computers and a surveillance hard drive for your security system. It is generally best not to swap their role as manufacturers do put in effort in making them different for a reason.

Best Surveillance Hard Drives on the Market

Now, let’s look at some of the best options available for a surveillance hard drive. Factoring in performance, reliability, and cost, these are the hard drives we feel will perfectly suit your security purposes:

Seagate Skyhawk Surveillance

For surveillance and desktop hard drives, Seagate is an ever-reliable name. The Skyhawk HDD is specifically geared towards surveillance use as it can connect up to 64 HD cameras simultaneously. It can offer up to 180 TB per year with over eight thousand power-on hours.

WD Purple Surveillance Drive

Another popular brand in the surveillance hard drive industry, the WD purple drive is a top-notch option for anyone looking to set up their security system. Western Digital has optimized these drives to record several IP cameras 24/7, even in rough conditions without losing footage or consuming too much power.

Can A Surveillance Hard Drive Be Used In A Desktop? | WhatsaByte (2)


Dedicated surveillance hard drives are essential in establishing an air-tight security system. Hopefully, with the insight we provided in this article, you can optimize your security and PC by employing the right tool for the right job.

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What is the difference between desktop HDD and surveillance hard disk? ›

Surveillance grade hard drives use a larger stronger magnet which allows for higher acceleration and faster move times which ultimately increases the performance of the drive when compared to PC drives. Surveillance drives also tend to use more robust damper plates to carry the write heads which improves reliability.

How can I connect CCTV hard drive to PC? ›

Connect the DVR hard drive to your computer with power and SATA data cables (you may use a SATA to USB adapter). Start the computer and boot to the GParted CD (you may need to change the boot device order in BIOS, or you could just make sure your OS drive is unplugged).

Can I use WD Purple in desktop? ›

Yes, you can. It should work fine. But, WD Purple is built for surveillance. This means that the drive is built to be written over and over again and read only once in a while.

What is surveillance hard drive? ›

On the other hand, surveillance HDDs are built to record data 24×7 from multiple camera streams or channels. A desktop class drive can eventually fail under constant, 24×7 operation, while video-optimized drives provide reliability benefits far beyond desktop drives, which are designed to run lighter workloads.

How long do surveillance hard drives last? ›

A typical mechanical hard drive will last on average 3 to 4 years however it is often the case with hard drives used in CCTV recorders for their life to be significantly shorter. Some users will even find themselves replacing hard drives in CCTV recorders every year.

Do you need a special hard drive for CCTV? ›

CCTV drives need to be able to withstand constant use – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – without failing. Regular hard disk drives, on the other hand, are not meant for such constant and heavy use and are more likely to fail.

Can I watch my DVR recordings on my computer? ›

Apparently, it isn't possible to view DVR recordings on a PC or Mac. One can watch the recordings on a smartphone or a tablet. I also found out that one can install an emulator so that one can watch the recorded shows on a computer or a tablet.

Can I use my PC as CCTV DVR? ›

You can use an OLD PC/laptop as a CCTV DVR Security System. It is extremely easy to setup, requires little or no configuration. A laptop/PC includes local storage; a laptop has battery. A laptop/PC has a screen that can display multiple live cameras.

Which is better WD red or Purple? ›

Purple is rated for 300,000 load/unload cycles vs Red's 600,000 cycles. Purple edges out Red in noise, 26 dBA vs 28 dBA while seeking.

Is it OK to use WD Red in desktop? ›

Can I use a WD Red in a desktop PC? - Quora. The Western Digital Red series of hard drives are standard SATA drives. You can use them for anything any other SATA hard drive can be used for.

Can I use WD Blue in desktop? ›

WD Blue internal hard drives deliver solid reliability for office and web applications, and they are perfect for extra storage for desktop PCs and inoffice applications. With a range of capacities and cache sizes, there's a WD Blue internal hard drive that's just right for you.

What is the difference between a NAS drive and a surveillance drive? ›

A NAS (Network Attached Storage) drive is tuned for random data retrieval where many users are working on different files across the disk. It is designed to be powered up 24 hours a day. A Surveillance drive is tuned for streaming data to and from the disk.

Can I use a Seagate IronWolf in desktop? ›

Power through uploads and downloads using this Seagate IronWolf 4TB NAS hard drive. The 3.5-inch form factor fit smoothly into most NAS, rack-mount and desktop systems, delivering always-on 24/7 performance, and it can handle multi-bay storage efficiently so that you can optimise your RAID setup for data back-ups.

What is a purple hard drive? ›

WD Purple drives are engineered specifically for surveillance to help withstand the elevated heat fluctuations and equipment vibrations within NVR environments. An average desktop drive is built to run for only short intervals, not the harsh 24/7 always-on environment of a high-definition surveillance system.

Is surveillance hard disk same as SSD? ›

SSD vs HDD: What's the difference? HDDs are traditional storage devices with spinning platters that read and write data. SSDs use newer technology that stores data on instantly accessible memory chips. SSDs are faster, quieter, smaller, consume less energy, and more durable.

How much hard drive do I need for surveillance? ›

Let's get started with some fundamentals of good CCTV storage. Essentially, CCTV storage varies broadly between the range of 6GB and 6TB. While 6GB - 60GB works well in the case of motion-based and low-resolution cameras, those with recording at higher resolution require 600GB - 6TB.

Can a hard drive last 10 years? ›

Unlike film, records, cassettes and CDs, hard drives have a lifespan of only three to five years – maybe 10 at the most – so it's probably time to think about how to preserve that data over the long run.

What is the fastest hard drive for a desktop? ›

In 2021 Seagate released the EXOS MACH. 2 range of hard drives with capacities of 14 TB. It's a huge amount of storage for a single disk, but it's not the TB number than makes these shiny new drives so impressive. It's how they read and write their data.

What type of hard drive does a desktop have? ›

Introduced in 2003, SATA (or Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) is the default interface for most desktop and laptop hard drives. They are referred to as SATA hard drives, but they are actually rotary hard drives with spinning platters and a moving needle that writes data to consecutive sectors on each platter.

Are desktop hard drives more reliable than portable? ›

Desktop drives prioritize longevity, security, and reliability over portability, and are therefore more appropriate for professional, large-scale applications.

Can we use surveillance hard drive as external hard drive? ›

You can use a surveillance hard drive in a desktop setup. However, surveillance hard drives and normal PC hard drives have different construction and as such offer contrasting functionality. So, it is best to use a surveillance hard drive in security systems and not in an everyday computer.

What kind of hard drive do I need for security cameras? ›

Security camera hard drive, or known as a surveillance-rated hard disk drive (HDD), is primarily used for surveillance video footage storage 24/7 locally.

How long will a 1TB hard drive record CCTV? ›

DVR+ (CM7500) with a 1TB external hard drive will record up to 180 hours of High Definition programming.

Can I watch my Verizon DVR on my computer? ›

With Verizon Fios TV you can: View content on eligible devices (tablets, smartphones, and PCs, etc.) anytime and anywhere you can find an internet connection. Watch select shows, live TV, movies and original series on demand.

How do I get my DVR recordings? ›

Method 1. Use DVR Hard Disk Recovery Software
  1. Run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and select the location or device where you lost/deleted videos. Click "Scan" to find the missing videos.
  2. After the scan, choose "Videos" in the left panel. ...
  3. Select the video files that you want to restore.
Sep 22, 2022

Is Seagate hard drive better than Western Digital? ›

As you can see, Seagate Internal Hard Drive is much better than Western Digital Internal Hard Drive in all terms. So, whether it's price, speed, or storage capacity, Seagate Internal Hard Drive will deliver better results by being cheaper and affordable than Western Digital Internal Hard Drive.

What do the different WD colors mean? ›

As you may well know, WD Blue drives are all-rounders, WD Black offers high performance 7200rpm drives, WD Red drives are for NAS servers (read-oriented), WD Purple drives are for surveillance applications (write-oriented), and WD Gold models are "enterprise-class hard drives".

Can I use WD Purple as external hard drive? ›

). You can use a WD Purple drive as a regular secondary storage drive if you have one lying around and I've seen lots of cases where this has been done without any issues at all.

How many hours will a WD Red last? ›

With an MTBF of up to 1 million hours, the WD Red drive is engineered to tackle 24x7 environments.

What is the difference between WD Green and WD Red? ›

Compared to WD Green drives, the WD Red drives have a longer warranty (three years vs two), support TLER (useful for RAID arrays), are rated for twice the load/unload cycles, and are actually slightly quieter than Green drives.

How long does Red HDD last? ›

Since your NAS system is always on, a reliable drive is essential. With an MTBF of up to 1 million hours, the WD Red™ drive is engineered to tackle 24x7 environments.

Which is better WD Green or WD Blue? ›

WD Green offers read speeds of up to 540 MB/s and write speeds of up to 520 MB/s. WD Blue offers slightly higher read and write speeds. With fast read and write speeds, green drives are an excellent choice for general use. Blue drives are a better choice for gamers or power users with higher write speeds.

Which is better WD Black or blue? ›

Yes, WD Black is superior to WD Blue in terms of performance. The sustain transfer speed of WD Blue is 147MB/s to 180MB/s, while the speed of WD Black reaches 202MB/s to 227MB/s.

Which is better WD Green or blue HDD? ›

The WD Blue Solid State Drive is rated to last 75% longer than the Green SSD. If you do not intend on storing important data on your new drive, then perhaps the few dollars saved are worth it. In the long run, most would rather spend the few extra dollars for a better quality drive.

Is SSD good for video surveillance? ›

It also means less latency in high-bandwidth applications, such as the high-definition video that is increasingly part of video security and surveillance systems. Using SSDs will typically result in higher quality of video images. Reliability: SSDs fail much less frequently than HDDs.

Are NAS drives worth it for home use? ›

Who needs a NAS? You should consider a NAS if you need to access files from more than one computer. It serves as a shared storage point for multiple users to access and collaborate on files. A NAS enables you to attach multiple workstations to work on and complete projects.

What is better NAS or SSD? ›

Even though most NASes have an HDD, SSD is also a good option. This Solid State Drive is up to 30 times faster than a traditional HDD. Aside from that, an SSD is more energy-efficient and silent, so you save energy and aren't bothered by noise as much. One last advantage is the lifespan of the SSD.

Why won't my Seagate hard drive work on my PC? ›

Basic hardware troubleshooting steps:

Try connecting the drive to a different port on the computer. If possible, try using a different cable. Try using the drive on a different computer. Verify the drive light is on.

What is the difference between a NAS hard drive and a desktop hard drive? ›

A NAS HDD is designed to run for weeks on end, while a desktop HDD can only read and write data for hours at a time. A NAS HDD is also built specifically for RAID setup. By combining multiple drives into one single logical unit, RAID configurations provide data redundancy, thus protecting data against drive failures.

Which Seagate hard drive is best for PC? ›

For our pick, the Seagate Backup Plus wins the best external hard drive overall. The device is ultra portable for easy carry, and it offers a straightforward design that works with both Windows and Mac.

What is special about a surveillance hard drive? ›

Surveillance drives are meant for recording video on 24/7 security systems. They typically use something called a network video recorder (NVR). Unlike a PC, these drives have to be writing data—specifically, video data—all the time.

Can I use a WD Purple in desktop? ›

Yes, you can. It should work fine. But, WD Purple is built for surveillance. This means that the drive is built to be written over and over again and read only once in a while.

What is a surveillance grade hard drive? ›

Surveillance rated drives are extremely high-grade, specialty hard drives designed to be operated 24/7 for years on end without failure and without overheating. A normal PC hard drive will most likely burn out within 6-8 months from the strain of recording several video feeds 24/7.

What are the two types of HDD? ›

There are two types of drives: HDD (hard disk drive) and SSD (solid-state drive). HDDs are installed in most PCs and laptops. There are several aluminium plates inside the drive.
Interfaces for connecting HDDs.
TaskDrive typeInterface
Large but not high loaded serversHDDSATA
Database management systems (DMS)HDDSAS
7 more rows

What are the different types of HDD? ›

Types of Hard Drives – SATA, PATA, SCSI, and SSD.

Are desktop HDD better than portable? ›

While portable drives can offer capacities up to 4TB, they aren't designed for large-scale, long-term use. Desktop drives prioritize longevity, security, and reliability over portability, and are therefore more appropriate for professional, large-scale applications.

What's is the better hard drive for surveillance camera system 5400 or 7200? ›

Given two identically designed hard drives with the same areal densities, a 7200 RPM drive will deliver data about 33% faster than the 5400 RPM drive.

Which is better SSD or HDD or both? ›

SSDs are faster, more durable, more compact, quieter, and consume less energy. HDDs are more affordable and may offer easier data recovery in the event of damage. As long as price isn't the determining factor, SSDs come out on top — especially since modern SSDs are just about as reliable as HDDs.

What does SATA stand for? ›

SATA (also referred to as Serial ATA) stands for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, an industry-standard bus interface for connecting a computer's host bus adapter to storage devices such as hard disk drives (HDD), optical drives and solid-state drives (SSD). Serial ATA (SATA) Cable.

What's the difference between SATA and SSD? ›

Serial ATA (SATA) refers to a type of connector cable that is used to attach components, like hard drives, to a motherboard. A solid-state drive (SSD) is a type of storage drive that allows for very fast read and write speeds. Comparing the drive type with a type of connector cable does not really make sense.

What are the two most common types of internal hard drives? ›

There are two general types of hard drives: hard disk drives (HDD), which use one or more rotating discs and rely on magnetic storage, and solid-state drives (SSD), which have no moving mechanical parts, but use flash memory like the kind found in USB flash drives.

How do I know if my hard drive is SATA or IDE? ›

Look for the "Interface" option in the specifications. SATA drives generally will be referred to as "SATA," "S-ATA" or "Serial ATA," while PATA drives may be referred to as "PATA," Parallel ATA," "ATA" or, on older drives, simply as "IDE" or "EIDE."

Does it matter what HDD I use? ›

If you're buying the drive mainly for data backups and long-term data storage, go with a traditional HDD. If the drive is going to run an operating system or hold a lot of frequently accessed files and programs, then go with an SSD instead. Speed and performance are the primary benefits of an SSD over an HDD.

Can you use a portable external hard drive on a desktop? ›

An external hard drive can be connected to almost all computers because they have a USB port. Therefore, you can easily pick up your external hard drive, take it out and connect it to another computer. It comes with a high storage capacity. An external hard drive can store much larger data than a USB flash drive.

What are the disadvantages of a portable hard drive? ›

External hard drives can be corrupted, like any other piece of hardware. They can be susceptible to fire and water damage, can overheat, and can malfunction. There is nothing worse than feeling like you've backed up your important data, only to find out that your backup solution has failed.

Can I use a desktop hard drive as an external? ›

Simply attach the SATA portion of the cable to your old drive, and the USB end of the cable to your computer, which will allow you to use the drive as you would an external hard drive. As long as it's connected to your system via USB, you can use it for storage.


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