More and more types of hard drives appear on the market to cater to people’s demands. Some people may have heard about surveillance hard drives and for some needs, some users hope the drive can be used on their desktops. Is it feasible? This tutorial on MiniTool Website will solve your problem.

What Is Surveillance Hard Drive?

It is common to see some hard drives such as Parallel ATA (PATA), Serial ATA (SATA) hard drives, or Solid-State Drives (SSD). The above examples are specially created for your desktop use, while the surveillance hard drives are more often used in some security systems.

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What is the surveillance hard driver? And what does it work for?

Whenever you find a security camera whether in public or in some private conditions, your graphics will be recorded and no one is an exception as long as the camera is running, which requires the security system constantly write multiple streams of HD footage to the disk as efficiently and accurately as possible.

Such intensive operation determines high requirements for the hard drive. If the hard drive is unqualified to support such a task, the information vital to catching someone perpetrating a crime on tape will be lost.

In this way, the surveillance hard drive was born and plays a crucial role in our daily life.

Especially in a business building or a neighboring district where a full security system is required, dozens of cameras are running and HDD has to handle an extremely dense stream of data that needs to be recorded as accurately as possible, 24 hours a day.

Normal desktop hard drives may handle this situation for a short time, but if you want to transfer large volumes of data 24 hours a day, you need the help of surveillance hard drives.

Next, you can see more information about surveillance hard drives vs desktop hard drives.

Surveillance vs Desktop Hard Drive

What makes surveillance hard disks so special is that they are specifically focused on writing large amounts of data at an extremely fast speed. The largest distinction between surveillance hard drives and desktop hard drives is the running time they can persist.

The next part will give you some characteristics of these two hard drives for better understanding.

Surveillance Hard Drive

Point 1: It is designed for high write workloads.

The surveillance hard drive can perform write operations for the maximum part of its life, as the hard disk used in the surveillance system is used to write data 90% of the time and 10% for playback, which makes it keep power consumption at an absolute minimum to reduce cost in the long term.

In this way, the surveillance hard drive can perform better than the desktop hard drive.

Point 2: It offers low-power profiles.

With this feature, not only can it help conserve more energy, but also cool down the operating temperature. Its performance gets improved and the system reliability can be enhanced while working a 24×7 profile.

Point 3: More reliable quality is maintained.

No other desktop hard drives are able to come with the ability to withstand constant operational demands. The surveillance hard drive is designed to record data round the clock from multiple camera streams or channels.

Its powerful functions are superior to the normal desktop hard drive.

Point 4: ATA streaming command sets

ATA streaming command sets can show the values that the HDD has spent to read and write data to the disk for each formatted sector on the drive.

A drive’s workload rating is a carefully calculated value that gives you an insight into how much data you should be pushing through the drive to maximize performance.

With the help of that information, the surveillance hard drive can optimize the workload to read or write data as fast as possible and maximize the efficiency of transcribing the data to the HDD.

Desktop Hard Drive

The desktop hard drive is a general category that includes external hard drives and internal hard drives. Those designed for use on desktops can be regarded as desktop hard drives. They can be further classified by their functions and materials.

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This kind of hard drive is commonly used in your office or home computers or laptops. It is designed to work for a limited time about 8-10 hours a day. If the using time challenges the maximized, the hard drive can be damaged and the storage will go smaller.

Besides, the desktop hard drive can’t cope with bulk usage and storage. If you do that with a normal desktop hard drive, you may put yourself in danger of encountering data loss and hard drive failure.

Another point that can distinguish surveillance hard drives and desktop hard drives is the specific functions they perform. There are three tasks hard drives need to perform – reading, writing, and transmission.

For desktop hard drives, they will do the three tasks simultaneously, while for surveillance hard drives, they will spend 90 percent of the time writing data and the left time for reading and transmission.

The need to continuously record data means the surveillance hard drive functions at a much higher rate than regular PC hard drives and whether in reading or writing, they will outspeed a desktop HDD in most scenarios

But all of that just comes with the comparison to the surveillance hard drive. For personal or business use, desktop hard drives are more than sufficient. Catering to different demands, hard drives have undergone several upgrading.

You don’t need to pursue surveillance hard drives on your PC for the special advantages unless you are in special needs.

Is It OK to Use Surveillance Hard Drive on PC?

It is reported that some users want the surveillance hard drive to be applied for PC use. Regarding its powerful functions compared to a normal hard drive, you may be intrigued to try it on your PC for game playing or something for 24/7 work.

Is it OK to use a surveillance hard drive on your PC? The answer is YES. No matter what the purpose it is designed for, its function and essence remain unchanged.

Before applying it you need to notice that although the surveillance hard drive can perform as other desktop hard drives with its proficiency in storing data, the special creation is designed for the dedicated use.

Its higher cost than other hard drives makes the deal less cost-effective and the efficacy may be less than your expectation.

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.

But if you do need it, there are some recommendations about surveillance hard drives.

WD Purple Surveillance Hard Drive

Features (4TB HDD)

  • 5400 RPM
  • SATA 6.0 Gb/s
  • 180 TB/year
  • 5 lbs (weight)
  • 1W power usage
  • 3 years’ warranty
  • Available from 1TB to 14TB

Seagate Skyhawk Surveillance Hard Drive

Features (4TB HDD)

  • 5900 RPM
  • SATA 6.0 Gb/s
  • 180 TB/year
  • 43 lbs (weight)
  • 5W power usage
  • 3 years’ warranty
  • Available from 1TB to 14TB

Better Choice for PC Long-time Working

If you are looking for a suitable hard drive for long-term and burdensome PC work, you can refer to the information about surveillance hard drives vs NAS (Network-attached Storage).

The use of surveillance hard drives on a PC wastes its role on a petty job. You may hope to choose a hard drive for long-time game-playing or working and the better choice is left – NAS.

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NAS is built with heavy-duty 24/7 operations. A NAS often doubles as a home server for commonly shared files, such as videos, photos, documents, and e-books. It is more robust and durable than other normal hard drives.

Besides, it can withstand more vibration with multiple drives in a compact box spinning at the same time, which makes it more heat-resistant.

Compared to surveillance hard drives, NAS boasts the same advantages but they are different.

Designed for PC use, NAS is tuned for random data retrieval where many users are working on different files across the disk while a surveillance hard drive is tuned for streaming data to and from the disk.

If your PC needs a hard drive with a higher workload capacity, a NAS device can be your priority. Moreover, you can get a NAS hard drive at a lower price compared to a surveillance hard drive.

There are some recommendations for NAS drives.

Seagate IronWolf Pro 20TB

  • Interface: SATA 6Gbps
  • Capacity: 4-20TB
  • Cache: 256MB
  • RPM: 7200


  • High storage capacity
  • Faster writing and reading speed
  • More power-efficient


The yearly workload is limited to 300TB. It is easily eaten by regular integrity testing, not to mention actual use.

Western Digital Red NAS Hard Disk Drive

  • Interface: SATA 6Gbps
  • Capacity: 1TB – 12TB
  • Cache: 64B
  • RPM: 5400


It provides a large storage capacity and fast performance especially in multi-drive environments where it boasts strong large-block sequential reading and writing speeds.


Average multi-drive small block sequential transfer speeds

How to Replace Hard Drive Without Data Loss?

You may struggle with the tough situation that you want to keep all of your data unchanged and secured when changing your hard drives. It seems difficult to handle but no hardship can persist.

MiniTool ShadowMaker is born for safeguarding your data integrity and preventing loss. It has won good public praise and professional accomplishment for years of endeavor. You can believe its expertise in data backup and disk clone.

First of all, you need to download and install the program and you will get a free SM-trial version for 30 days.

Free Download

Step 1: When you open the program, click the Keep trial button on the right top corner to get in.

Step 2: Then switch to the Tools tab and click Clone Disk.

click Clone Disk

Step 3: Click the Source Disk section to select which disk you want to clone and click Finish.

select the source drive

Step 4: Then click the Target Disk section to choose which one you want to clone to and click Finish.

select the target drive

Step 5: Click OK and then there is a warning that appears to ask you to confirm the request. Click OK and wait for the process to finish.

After finishing, you will see a piece of information to tell you the operation is successful and one disk will be marked as offline by Windows. In this way, you can remove the old hard disk.

In MiniTool ShadowMaker, you can also conduct backup tasks to protect your data from loss and more attached options will give you a better experience.

Further Reading: How to Maintain Hard Drives?

Hard drives play a significant role in computer working, which requires us to take care of the health of hard drives.

Tip 1: Cautiously install the software in case of virus attacks.

Tip 2: Keep your system up to date.

Tip 3: Delete unwanted programs at a scheduled time.

Tip 4: Defragment the hard drive on a regular basis.

Tip 5: Make sure your computer machine is cleaned on a regular basis.

Tip 6: Use a solid backup plan to secure important data.

Tip 7: Keep static electricity at bay.

Tip 8: Utilize power save and sleep modes.

This article tells you what the surveillance hard drive is and introduces its function and advantages. If you like this tutorial, you can share this on Twitter.Click to Tweet

Bottom Line:

Choosing a suitable hard drive does not just depend on the larger capacity. More than that, you need to consider your demands and the PC’s requirements. Although the surveillance hard drive has its advantages, the cost is larger than NAS.

If you have encountered any issues when using MiniTool ShadowMaker, you can leave a message in the following comment zone and we will reply as soon as possible. If you need any help when using MiniTool software, you may contact us via [email protected].

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