Do you always fall short of hard drive space and keep wishing you had some more? Then the ultimate solution to your problems might be a 2 TB external hard drive. In this article, I make your search easier, by reviewing some of the best in the market.
Always ‘Safely’ Disconnect Your Drive
When you directly pull out a plugged in hard drive, without using the ‘Safely Remove Hardware‘ feature on a Windows OS, there is a risk of data corruption. Ergo, using the feature is necessary, as it ensures the integrity of your data.
No matter how much you buy, you always need more. Yes, that’s right, we are talking about hard drive storage space. No matter how many gigabytes you start with, you are ultimately going to have only a few megabytes left. Ergo, the only solution is to buy more space, in the form of an external hard drive. Why not go for the roomiest drive of them all, which might be a drive with 2 Terabyte capacity or more? That’s right, 2000 Gigabytes of digital storage space to stack away all your music, videos, photos, movies, and personal documents.
Choosing a Drive
Here is a quick buying guide, for those of you, who are making a first-time purchase. The first choice you’ve got to make is between a desktop (3.5″) or portable/laptop (2.5″) drive. The desktop variety is bulkier, cheaper, and requires an external AC power connection. The portable type requires no external power connectivity, is slimmer, lighter, and costlier. There is a third SSD (solid state drive) variety, that is available up to 500 GB capacity, which provides super fast data transfer, along with drop resistance. It is substantially expensive, compared to the other two. However, it is recommended that SSD drives be used as internal storage, as they do not provide a great advantage as external storage devices. If you want to go for a high capacity desktop drive, make sure that it has an inbuilt fan, as these devices tend to heat up a lot.
Besides the primary feature of the storage space offered (more the better), check out the RPM speed of the drive, which determines the rate at which data transfer occurs. Higher the RPM speed, faster is the drive at transferring data. Look for a high buffer cache size as it allows the drive to temporarily store data, when transfer is in progress, thus improving the overall transmission speed.
Other than these features, the most important thing is the type of interface its equipped with, for data transfers. The fastest interface right now is Thunderbolt, along with USB 3.0. If you plan to use the drive as a server backup, look for built-in RAID system compatibility and security tools. Look for durable drives with rugged enclosures and preferably metal casings, that can conduct heat faster.
All the major hard drive manufacturers, including Seagate, Western Digital, and LaCie have 2 TB hard drives, as their high-end line of products. We review three of the best desktop and portable (laptop) drives.
Backed by the solid reputation of Western Digital, this drive offers all the storage and security features you would need for your data. Besides providing 2 Terabytes of storage capacity, this drive has USB 3.0 connectivity, which provides up to three times faster data transfer speeds, compared to USB 2.0. What sets it apart is the strong software suite, that comes packaged with it.
A built-in software called WD SmartWare Pro makes it easy to create scheduled backups for your system. For system level backup, another software, known as Acronis True Image WD Edition is provided. Besides this, the drive is also equipped with password protection and hardware encryption facilities. It also has the best sequential write and read speeds, among the top drives on offer. With a price tag of USD 115.41, offered on Amazon, it is simply the best choice out there.
The rugged 5 mm aluminum enclosure, USB 3.0 connectivity, and a 2 year warranty, with 2 TB storage capacity, makes this product, designed by Porsche and manufactured by LaCie, one of the top external drives to go for. The additional 10 GB Wuala encrypted cloud storage, automatic backup for PC and Mac, password protection offered by LaCie Private/Public software, and the Eco mode that lowers power usage by as much as 77% (when the drive’s not operational), make this product unbeatable. The only negative factor to be pointed out is the warranty, which could have been more than 2 years. However, at a discounted price of USD 119.99 on Amazon, the product is totally worth purchasing. Mac users should know that the drive is Time Machine compatible.
Another trusted brand, adopted by millions of users worldwide, Seagate has been the storage standard for years. Weighing just 860 gm, the Seagate Backup Plus drive is uniquely designed to not only back up your computer data, but your private data from social networks as well. Using the Seagate Dashboard app, you can back up your data from mobile devices and your computer. Through the ‘Protect’ function, you can set up a one-click backup.
With its integrated Android and iOS apps, you can back up all your smartphone or tablet data to the cloud or drive. The software also lets you save your social networking data and enables batch upload of multiple files simultaneously. Using the NTFS driver for Mac, that comes pre-packaged with this device, you can use the drive with a Mac and a PC. With these range of features offered, the drive also provides excellent read and write speed, and is available at a surprisingly reasonable price of USD 99.99 on Amazon. This is the ideal choice for people who have a highly functional social networking life.
Another state-of-the-art drive released by Western Digital, My Passport Slim is a device, encased in a durable metal shell. It is widely acknowledged as one of the best USB 3.0 enabled drives in the market, due to its high read and write speeds, high capacity, and a wide range of features. Weighing just 7.7 ounces, the drive is very sleek and portable, being just 0.70 inch thick. Compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems, the drive comes with plenty of bundled software that enhances its utility.
Using the WD SmartWare Pro, you can automatically back up your most important data. Dropbox connectivity lets you store data on the cloud, while WD Security offers password protection, along with hardware level encryption. It also has a special Windows 8 app that lets you easily access data on the drive. The 3 year warranty, capacity, and the range of features, totally justify the USD 129 price tag.
If you are looking for a drive that can offer blazing fast transfer speeds on your Mac and also withstand extremely rough handling, the LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt series is exactly what you are looking for. One of the priciest drives on the market, with its 299.99 price tag, it offers USB 3.0 (5 Gb/s) and Thunderbolt (10 Gb/s) connectivity. Built with a white metal chassis, that is enclosed in a rubber shell, it is a robust device.
It provides an average data transfer rate of 110MB/s. All these features come with a 2 year warranty. Additional features include an automatic backup facility, password protection, and encryption (AES 256-bit), along with a 1 year subscription of 10 GB Wuala cloud storage space. This drive is designed by Neil Poulton. An average reading speed of 112.2 MB/s and writing speed of 113.8 MB/s on Macs, has been reported by most reviewers. If you want to truly take advantage of your Mac’s Thunderbolt connectivity, the LaCie Rugged is the right choice for you.
Seagate’s best portable drive offering, the Backup Plus Slim offers USB 3.0 connectivity, with high data transfer speeds and compatibility with Windows and Mac OS X platforms. It comes with an 18-inch USB 3.0 cable, weighs about 150 grams, and is only 12 mm thick. The pre-loaded NTFS driver lets you use the drive with Mac and Windows PCs. The Seagate Mobile Backup app lets you save your data from smartphone and tablet devices.
The native Seagate Dashboard app lets you automatically and flexibly backup your data. It also lets you share your files on social networks and sites like YouTube. Like its desktop counterpart, it is the ideal choice for social network savvy individuals, who share a lot of stuff online, on a daily basis. With all these features, the drive is offered at a very reasonable price of USD 104.09 on Amazon.
It is tough to choose between these hard drives, as almost all offer comparable features. Let price, warranty, and your specific requirements be the deciding factors. If given a choice, I would prefer the Western Digital or Seagate drives, having been convinced of their build quality, performance, and durability.