From tiny thumb drives that you can wear are as a pendant around your neck to external hard drives that afford you hundreds of GB of storage capacity, we have all used portable storage drives in some form or the other. With most of us becoming more and more computer dependent and keeping almost all of our data on these machines, the necessity of having hard drives for backup has increased, which is why you need to buy a good external hard drive. We tell you how to choose a portable drive.
Choosing a Portable Hard Drive
Most people who are technologically challenged can often be stumped by the things that need to be taken into consideration when looking for a hard drive or any other such computer device. With most computer accessories there are a few specifications that you need to look into. Given below are the things that you need to keep in mind while picking a hard drive.
➠ While choosing a hard drive, the first thing that you need to take into consideration is the use to which you are going to put the hard drive. As you know, the size of the drive that you want is an important consideration. Normally the size of an external hard drive is determined in GB or Gigabytes. The size of the hard drive should technically depend on the amount of space that you need. For the transfer of a few files from one machine to another, it would be advisable to use a thumb drive, which are small in size and are relatively cheaper.
On the other hand, if you need a hard drive to create a backup base for a large number of files, then it may be advisable to invest in a good portable external hard disk that has a large memory. With these hard drives you may need to take the size into consideration. If you look at the hard drives available in the market today, you will see that hard drives are available in capacities reaching two terabytes (about 2000 GB) but you also have models that have a capacity of 200 GB.
➠ The type of hard drive that you are using is extremely important to consider while buying a hard drive. These are of two types; SSD or Solid State Drives and HDD or Hard Disk Drives. SSD have very high functioning speeds but they tend to be extremely expensive. With HDDs though the price is much lower especially where drives of larger capacities are concerned.
➠ The cache size of a hard drive determines the speed at which files can be copied to the drive. The cache acts as a buffer between the computer and the drive. So that when data is being transferred, it can act as temporary storage for the data so that the drive can receive the incoming data properly. The larger the cache, the faster the transfer process between the computer and the drive. Understandably hard drives with higher cache sizes are more expensive than the lower cache size models.
➠ The interface of the hard disk is also important to consider. With external hard drives, there are two main types of interfaces; USB and Firewire. While with a USB support, the rate at which files are copied tends to be high, the speed can be hampered if there are other devices using the same interface. With Firewire there is a direct connection to the external hard drive and the speed is much higher. Most hard drives of the portable variety come with both interfaces but there are some that give you the option of only one interface.
While these are the main points that need to be taken into consideration, there are other things like the security provided with the hard drive that also needs to be looked at. While this may cost you some more, it allows you to be a little more stress free about the protection that you have. For a network of computers, you may be better off getting an external hard drive that is a network attached storage device or a NAS. These devices are external hard drives that can back up the data on several computers.
Depending on factors like capacity, speed, security features etc., the price of an external hard drive can be anywhere between USD 80 to USD 300 and even more. As a novice these pointers should serve you well to understand what are the things to look for when you have to purchase a hard drive. Do consult with a friend or a family member who knows more about computers and technology before you invest in a portable hard drive.