When in need of HDD space for content archival, I usually purchase internal SATA HDDs with 4+ TBs of capacity. The “Western Digital RED” series has been working OK for me, although I had one 6 TB volume complete failure (suddenly unrecognizable, unrecoverable, and all that on very light use), months ago.
When one buys these HDDs, they should arrive “uninitialized” and, with zero starts/stops and zero minutes of use, inside a sealed anti-static bag, ideally inside a retail or OEM card package. You can check the SMART data using software like “HDD Sentinel”.
Here is what I do next, on Microsoft Windows, using the “computer management” tool (“compmgmt.msc”):
1) Initialize the disk using “GPT” and not “MBR” (for better support of large volumes);
2) Quick format the HDD (for a speedy format);
3) Disable content indexing (for speedier usage and because for searching I do not use Windows Explorer or other Microsoft tools).
Then, using the command prompt (“cmd.exe”), I use fsutil to disable 8.3 names creation. For example, if the volume was assigned to drive M:
fsutil 8dot3name query M:
fsutil 8dot3name set M: 1
The first line will probably tell you that 8.3 names (for retro compatibility with Windows XP, DOS, etc.) is enabled;
The second line disables 8.3 names creation, speeding up the file system operations on the drive. This makes a big performance difference when working with thousands of files, which is my case.