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External Hard Drives
By Andrew Reichenberg Posted in Emerging Tech on October 30, 2013

For people who use their computers to view and save multi-media files and data, the space on the hard drive usually is not sufficient for storage and the easiest solution to store vast amounts of data is to purchase an external hard drive.  An external hard drive is a much more efficient way than USB memory keys and CDs to keep back-up files safe.  Here are the key features of a good external hard drive. When it comes to performance, the two key factors to watch for are storage capacity and speed.  A superior option will have at least 500GB of storage available, with most models on the market now offering a whopping 1TB.  There are options which offer even more space for files, but for most people who handle a tremendous amount of media or digital photographs such as photographers and amateur movie-makers, 1TB is plenty.  Professionals should consider models with even more storage capacity.  Speed refers to the rate at which files are transferred between a computer’s internal hard drive and the external one.  A good quality external drive should have a speed of at least 5120Mb/s, but transfer speeds will vary according to the type and size of files.

Interface connectivity is also an important feature that cannot be overlooked.  The best external hard drives will connect via a USB cable and should have a 2.0 or 3.0 USB interface.  3.0 USB interface is the best, as transfer speeds will be faster and will furthermore be backwards compatible with 2.0 USB ports. Most people looking for external hard drives are looking for models that are portable.  The best types are those that are lightweight, have a hard casing and can withstand minor bumps.  Furthermore, they should be bus powered, meaning that they should not require an additional power supply; the same USB cable that is used to transfer data should power the device. Security is also a very important element in order to protect one’s files from unauthorized viewing.  Data encryption and password protection should be part and parcel of the external hard drive purchased.  Finally, an external hard drive that has little to offer in the help and support arena should not be considered.  Two-year or longer warranties that offer protection against manufacturer defects are ideal, and customers should have easy access to multiple contact sources in case anything goes wrong.

Other features which are nice are back-up software, plug-and-play operation, and a sleek design.  Some recommended external hard drives are the My Passport Essential, which comes in 500GB, 750GB and 1TB storage capacities and boasts of a 5120Mb/s transfer speed, and costs under $100; the Transcend StoreJet 25M3 which has identical capacities and speeds and costs under $90; and the Clickfree C2N which although only has a transfer speed of 480Mb/s and has a 2.0 USB interface, comes in all three storage capacities and has a cost of $170.  While much more expensive than the first two drives mentioned, the Clickfree C2N is one of the best external hard drives on the market if one has to back up multiple computers. With these features and characteristics kept in mind, a buyer is sure to make the right choice when it comes to external hard drives.

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