Remember how freeing it felt getting a 128 MB flash thumb drive about 10 years ago? Even up until a couple of years ago, getting a portable external hard drive that could hold 160 GB seemed like a great little personal luxury – you could carry your movies and your music and your data anywhere.
These days, even as these devices become extremely affordable, people do think twice before buying. They know that there’s cloud storage to be had for next to nothing at all.
If they buy their own personal hard drive, they figure, they could drop it or lose it or something. Cloud storage is forever. Why bother with a portable external hard drive, they feel.
The thing is, cloud storage isn’t as great as you might think. If you get a virus on your computer or if you any need to wipe your hard drive, it’s a lot easier to restore everything from a hard drive you have in your drawer than it is to download hundreds of gigabytes.
And anyway, who has the time or the patience to repeatedly stream a movie every time they want watch? In short, a portable external hard drive still makes sense.
Buying a drive, the choice today is between the USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. It would make a lot of sense to buy 3.0, because it doesn’t cost any more.
Of course, most computers don’t have a USB 3.0 port. But no matter, new computers that come out these days mostly have them.
Practically every computer should have 3.0 support withing a year or two. Until then, your superfast hard drive still can work with an old 2.0 port.
Stay away from FireWire though – that’s a standard that is nearly gone now. If you want something that’s even faster than USB 3.0, you should consider Intel’s Thunderbolt – something that’s only shown up on Apple computers so far.
Thunderbolt is pretty expensive. A mere cable for Thunderbolt costs $50. If you can find it. The upside though is that it can transfer data at twice the speed of USB 3.0.
Since Thunderbolt really hasn’t shown up anywhere yet, might not make much sense looking for a Thunderbolt hard drive. You might be able to use it with your newest Apple computers. You probably wouldn’t be able to use it on anyone else’s computer.
eSATA is a great option too, though that’s exclusively designed for hardware connections. Most new laptops feature eSATA these days. They’ll usually double up as a USB port too. If you get one of these hard drives, you’re in luck. They are as fast as USB 3.0.
Do consider springing for a network attached storage drive or a Wi-Fi drive. This is something that you don’t have to actually physically connect to your computer.
Basically, portable drives are dirt cheap. And they are super compact too. There’s quite nothing like owning a capacious 1TB hard drive that’s the size of the palm of your hand.
Buying a Portable External Hard Drive is a post from: Computer Spot