Network Video Recorders

HDDs: Which One Is Right For Your CCTV System?

561 views 2nd August 2017 maxxone 7

Hard drives are an integral part of any CCTV system, without which the cameras can only provide a live view of the focused areas. For general reference and crime prevention purposes, a recording unit relies on a hard drive to store all that high definition footage. In the same way a computer needs to multitask, so too does hard drive.

  • Running for weeks or months uninterrupted
  • Several cameras recording simultaneously
  • Reviewing footage from mobile or desktop applications

How many of these sound familiar to your CCTV system?

So now we’ve established why we need a hard drive and the importance of making sure it’s capable of handling long-term heavy usage, what should you look out for when selecting a hard drive for your recording unit?


Storage Capacity

The more space your drive has, the more data it can store. MaxxOne recording units support up to 8TB hard drives and models with 16+ channels typically support 2 or more of these drives.

Transfer Speeds

While there is no minimum transfer speed requirement per-se, a hard drive that can work at 7200 revolutions per minute (RPM) is always going to out-perform a 5400 RPM drive. The more RPMs your drive can perform, the faster it can transfer data (images).

Cache Space

When a hard drive needs to transfer data to another section of the drive, it uses a special part of the memory called the cache. A larger cache means the hard drive can transfer this data faster.


At MaxxOne we prefer to fit our recording units with a surveillance-grade hard drive, for added peace of mind. Surveillance-grade hard drives can run hotter, for longer, while using marginally less power than their standard desktop counterparts. The Seagate Skyhawk and Western Digital Purple ranges make a superb addition to any system, which is why we would happily recommend either for use with any compatible CCTV setup.

Where budget is a bearing factor, any 3.5” desktop hard drive will work in a MaxxOne recording unit and we offer that as option with all our DVR and NVR ranges. As with the surveillance-grade hard drives, Seagate and Western Digital are our preferred choices when fitting a regular desktop hard drive. 

To give you an idea of how much hard drive space you will need, please take a look at the following examples which are based on 24-hour recording schedules. Motion-triggered recording schedules will require a lot less hard drive space depending on how often movement occurs in the focus areas.


AHD / TVI / Analogue Cameras

Based on MaxxOne DVR compression (H.264) and 15 frames per second

IP Cameras

Based on MaxxOne NVR compression (H.265) and 12 frames per second

(all figures were rounded to 1 decimal point and may vary slightly based on hardware used)


Hard drives are typically set to overwrite the oldest footage, so you should never be in a situation where your recording unit is unable to record. The main consideration is how far back you think you will need to access.

  • If you’re buying for home use, plan ahead and buy a hard drive suitable to cover you for the duration of any potential trips or holidays.
  • If you’re buying for business use, consider how far back you may need to review for crime reference purposes or to satisfy the demands your insurance policies.

We will be adding a hard drive calculator to the website shortly which, by selecting from a range of sensor types or Maxx One products, will work out the minimum hard drive capacity required to fulfil your recording needs. In the meantime there are a number of such tools available on the internet that will perform this task for you.

We hope you found this guide easy-to-follow and that you are now comfortable selecting the right hard drive for your CCTV system. We are happy to answer any further questions you may have on this matter, you can contact us via the web form or by calling our technical support team.

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