Bob Rankin: All External Hard Drives are Not Created Equal


By Bob Rankin

“I’m buying an external hard drive for my backups, as you have often recommended. But I’ve bogged down in the details – capacity, transfer speed, USB vs. Firewire, etc. Can you give me some tips on choosing an external drive for backups?”

Buying an External Hard Drive

External hard drives make it plug-and-play easy to add storage capacity to an existing PC or laptop. An external drive is also handy for storing backup copies of data, especially if you want to back up multiple computers around the home or office. Here are some tips for buying an external hard drive.

There are two broad categories of external hard drive. Desktop drives with 3.5 inch mechanisms inside are designed to stay in one place, usually on your desktop. They generally require a power adapter. Portable hard drives are based on 2.5 inch or 1.8 inch mechanisms, making them small enough to fit in a shirt pocket. Portable drives typically get their power from the computers to which they attach.

Desktop drives currently come in capacities up to 3 Terabytes. If you need even more storage space, look for models that stuff two or more drives into one chassis. Portable drives max out at 1.5 TB, but capacities of 250 GB to 750 GB are more common and less expensive.

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This excerpt is shared with permission from Bob Rankin.


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1 thought on “Bob Rankin: All External Hard Drives are Not Created Equal”

  1. Portable drives do not max out at 1TB where would you even get such an idea from. I can buy a 2TB pocket drive right now for like 150 bucks.

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