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Home > Laptop Buyer's Guide > Storage Devices

Laptop Hard Drives & Storage Space

Hard disk drives in Refurbished Laptops tend to be quite a bit smaller than those in desktops. While 6 GB drives are not uncommon in low-cost systems, we think 20 GB is currently a more realistic size as a minimum.

If you plan to use the notebook as a substitute for a desktop system and load it with lots of applications, or if you'll use it for storing MP3 digital music files or images from a digital camera, the 40 GB to 60 GB is recommended.

Extra Drives Or Less Weight?

Once you look beyond the hard disk, storage options can start to get complicated. Many notebooks have a multipurpose drive bay that can accommodate a CD-ROM (or CD-RW or DVD) drive or a floppy drive, or even a spare battery.

On the other hand, if you don't anticipate needing any of these when you're traveling, you could save travel weight and size by opting for a notebook that lacks an internal drive bay, and simply connect an external CD-ROM or floppy drive when you need it.

Recommended Internal Drives

If you do choose an internal drive, what type should you get? Some travelers like DVD drives because they can watch movies on long, boring flights. But there's little real business justification for getting a DVD drive, so for many buyers, the more meaningful choice is between a read-only CD-ROM and a re-writable CD-RW drive.

We recommend CD-RW drives because they offer an easy mechanism for backing up data and they also let you record music CDs. They can be somewhat more costly than a basic CD-ROM drive, though, especially for Refurbished Laptops. However, if having an easy way to back up and transfer files from your laptop is very important to you, then a CD-RW drive will more than justify the cost.

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