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Guide to picking an USB External Hard Drive for your Computer or Laptop

Are you running out of space on your computer, or need to make an extra copy/back up of your file for safe keeping on another hard drive?

A USB 2.0 external hard drive is the perfect storage device for you since you can move files to you USB hard drive instead of deleting files off of your computer hard drive, so you’ll have more space for installing programs like games, office suites, etc.

I also read online that it is possible to install programs on external USB hard drives if your computer’s internal hard drive runs out of space.

When buying an USB external hard drive, you should look at its size, speed, power source, durability, and connection type.

A 500 GB External hard drive is good for someone who mainly will store documents, photos, music, and a few HD quality video files on it. 500GB drives are also great for people on a budget since they only cost 50-60 dollars.

If you need a bigger size drive for storing lots of HD quality videos, and high bitrate MP3 or Flac audio files a 1TB/1000 GB hard drive would be big enough for your file storage needs. A 1 TB drive is a little more expensive then a 500GB drive.

There are 2 TB/2000 GB hard drive available which is good if you know multiple people will be using the same hard drive to store their HD video, songs, and high resolution video.

The bigger desktop external hard drives are usually faster then portable external hard drives which are smaller because a desktop external hard drive usually have a 7200 RPM hard drive inside of the case rather then a slower 5400RPM hard drive on portable hard drives. Also, larger hard drive sizes like 1TB-2TB drives usually have 16-32MBs of Cache Ram which can speed up your file open times

The main advantage of a portable external hard drive is its size, and no power adapter is required since it gets it power from your USB port in most cases while the more bigger external hard drive gets its power from an AC power adapter which is plugged into your wall’s home electricity outlet. However, portable external hard drives are more expensive.

Some external hard drives are mainly designed for home use meaning they do not have a rubber coating or thick hard case like some external hard drive to protect your external hard drive very well from falls and bumps.

It is best to buy a USB 2.0 hard drive since it is the cheapest, but still offers decent performance. Avoid buying USB 1.0/1.1 hard drive since they are slow. The fastest USB type is USB 3.0, but only newer mid-high end computers made in 2011 has USB 3.0, so plugging a USB 3.0 external hard drive into USB 2.0 ports will not have any speed increase.

USB 2.0 theoretical transfer rate is at 480 Mbit/s while USB 3.0  is 4 Gbit/s. USB 1.1 is the slowest at 12 Mbit/s.

In summary, I recommend a desktop USB 2.0 1TB hard drive for most computer users since they are not very expensive considering you get 1000 GB of storage space for your files. Plus, 1TB hard drives usually have faster hard drives. You can also use them to carry your files to a friends house like a portable external hard drive, but you need to remember to bring the AC power adapter, and make sure your bag have enough space to carry your external hard drive.

Tip: If you move a file to your external hard drive, it is recommended to also have a back up of the file on a CD, another computer, online storage or USB Flash drive since all computer parts eventually break, so it is best to have two copies of the same file for safe keeping just in case one storage device breaks.

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