Monday, July 5, 2010

Buying an External Hard Drive: What Should You Be Looking For?

external hard drivesI recently have been having some problems with the Compaq laptop that I purchased when I started my freshman year in college about two years ago. It’s ridiculously slow and has been driving me absolutely insane. I’ve run multiple virus scans, but they couldn’t seem to find anything significant.

I finally decided that the best thing to do would be to purchase an external hard drive to dump all of my important documents and my crazy amount of music and pictures on, and then I figured I would wipe everything on the laptop and give it a new start. When I formulated this plan though, I realized that I wasn’t exactly sure what kind of external hard drive I wanted. So after doing some research, I’ve decided to share what I think are the important things to consider when you’re looking for your hard drive.

First off it’s important to know that for under $100 you can get an external hard drive that can hold over 750,000 music downloads or photos. You can add about a terabyte (1024 GB) of space to your laptop or desktop computer. Every single computer available has the ability to have at least one external hard drive added to it. Some computers even have the multiple ports that allow for the use of more than one external hard drive. You are given the capacity to back up anything you could possibly want or need with an external hard drive.

Okay so if your considering purchasing an external hard drive, the first thing that you want to pay attention to is the type of hard drive that you want. There are two different types of hard drives that you’ll be looking at. There are desktop-style drives and notebook-class styles hard drives. Desktop-style drives are obviously for desktop computers. They require a power adapter, and therefore need to be able to stay in one place for the most part. Right now, you can find desktop-style drives with up to 2 TB (terabytes) of extra space on them.

The notebook-class drives are designed to be portable like you’re laptop. They are powered through the connector cable and do not need to be plugged in like the desktop-style. Most of the Notebook-style hard drives are small enough to easily fir into your pants pocket, which is quite convenient. They come with as much as 1 TB of extra space, but it is more common to find them with 500GB or 640GB which is plenty of room.

The next thing you need to consider is something I never even thought about. You need to decide what kind of input you want to utilize to connect your computer and the external hard drive. There are tons of different hard drives that connect in a variety of different ways. Some connect through USB 2.0 ports, FireWire (400 and 800), eSATA, Wireless USB, USB 3.0, or iSCSI. The USB 2.0 port is the most common way to connect the devices, but its not exactly the fastest. FireWIre is less common, but is much faster. Even faster than FireWire is a hard drive that uses an eSATA connection. If you’re not concerned about transferring all your data quickly, then I think that a hard drive that uses a USB 2.0 port is your best bet, and it will also be cheaper.

The last challenge that you will be faced with when selecting your external hard drive is drive speed. Unless you’re connecting you’re hard drive internally to your PC through the motherboard or with an eSATA cable, there is no need to worry about the drive speed. USB 2.0 and FireWire ports can’t handle a fast drive speed and therefore all that is necessary for your external hard drive is the basic drive speed.

There are always things like color and design to consider when you’re considering external hard drives, but I don’t feel like those are too important. You also can look into warranties, because if you’re really hard on your hard drive it can fail you. Those things are all up to you though. Hopefully now when you’re looking for an external hard drive you will now know what to look for. It’s not as hard as it may sound, ad it is definitely something that can really be a good thing for your laptop or desktop. For a very small amount of cash and a little bit of time, you can create a ton more space or possibly even save your slowly failing computer.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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