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External Hard Drive

The right external hard drive provides a safe storage space for file backups or portable storage for files you need while on the move. The selection of devices from manufacturers such may seem overwhelming, but knowing what factors to consider be fore purchase makes it easy to choose a hard drive that matches your needs. These factors include storage capacity, portability, and transfer speed.

External Hard Drive Storage Capacity

The storage capacity of external hard drives has increased as technology advances. Devices that can store up to 8 terabytes (TB) are available, but few people need that much storage space. If you need to save video files, a 1TB external hard drive or 2TB external hard drive is large enough. Since word processing documents and emails require less space, opt for a smaller capacity drive to store these types of files.

External Hard Drive Portability

If portability is important, be prepared to spend a little extra on a rugged drive, such as those on offer from LaCie, to protect your data. Also, consider weight, size, and power sources. A portable external hard drive typically draws power from a USB cable connected to the computer. A desktop external hard drive comes with an AC power adapter and tends to be heavier. Some models feature integrated fans that cool the drives during constant or heavy use to extend their lifespans. Although these are practical solutions for data that never leaves the home or the office, they are not particularly portable.

External Hard Drive Transfer Speed

A secondhand external hard drive's external connectors affect its transfer speeds. USB 2.0 or 3.0 ports are standard, but some include extras such as FireWire (400 and 800) and eSATA. If your computer has a USB 3.0 port, opt for this type of connection on the external hard drive as this is the fastest file transfer option available.

Before buying a used external hard drive, figure out your storage, portability, and file transfer needs. These determine the size and type of hard drive you need as well as the type of external connectors it should have. Look for offerings from trusted manufacturers such as Western Digital, Toshiba, LaCie, Samsung, and Seagate.