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How to choose an external hard drive

An external hard drive is a very convenient medium for storing information, combining mobility and the ability to store large amounts of data. Currently, there are many models of these devices on the market that differ in form factor, memory size, file system type and some other parameters. That is why many users who decide to purchase this type of media, encounter difficulties associated with the fact that they are at a loss with its choice.

External hard drive: how to choose a form factor
External hard drives available on the market are subdivided into two types according to their form factor: 2.5 inches or 3.5 inches. Winchesters with a size of 2.5 inches are more compact to use and have not only a small size, but also a miniature weight.They can even be put in a small handbag, and you will not feel discomfort. This media is not demanding on power, so it’s enough to connect it to the computer’s USB port. The only drawback of a 2.5 hard drive is its small amount of memory.

Winchester 3.5 inches in size allows you to store more information, but it is very inconvenient in transportation due to its size and weight. Such a hard drive can weigh up to 1.5 kg. To work with it, you must connect the device not only to the computer, but also to the outlet. Therefore, it will be an unsuitable option for those who want to use an external hard drive outside their home environment by connecting it to a laptop.

How to choose the amount of external hard drive
2.5 inch media can store from 250 to 500 GB of data. This is enough for a lot of documents and images, a collection of music files or even several films. Therefore, if you need media for storing and transporting various documents and photos, a 2.5 inch hard drive with a capacity of 250 GB is enough for you.

3.5 inch external hard drives allow much more information, reaching up to several TB. They should be purchased if you intend to store a collection of films, video materials or massive databases on them.

External Hard Drive Speed
Very few users, choosing an external hard drive, pay attention to its speed. But this factor is one of the most important parameters in ensuring comfortable use. The speed of the hard drive affects how quickly files will be copied and moved, the speed of archiving, and other parameters. By purchasing too slow external media, you run the risk of spending up to 20-40 minutes copying a movie hard drive or a large archive of documents.

Two parameters affect the speed of a hard disk: spindle speed and data transfer interface.

Currently, the fastest interfaces are eSATA and USB 3.0. Therefore, if you do not have the task of saving on a purchase, purchase media with their support. USB 3.0 is currently the most advanced interface: it allows you to transfer data at speeds up to 5 GB per second. The more common USB 2.0 interface is ten times slower compared to it. ESATA speed is 3 GB per second.

When choosing an interface, you must take into account the fact that your computer must also support it.

The spindle speed determines how quickly the necessary information is found. The speed of 2.5 inch drives does not exceed 5400 rpm. The speed of 3.5 inch media can reach 7200 rpm.

Choosing a file system type
Currently, there are two types of file systems on external hard drives on the market – NTFS and FAT32.

FAT32 is optimally suited for working with all operating systems, be it Windows 95 or the modern Seven, Apple Macintosh computers and any media centers. However, FAT32 does not allow working with files larger than 4 GB, so before choosing a medium, consider what data you will work with.

External media based on NTFS can easily work with files of any size, but may not be compatible with all devices. In addition, these discs allow you to encrypt the information stored there.

Device body
Do not forget to pay attention to the case of the hard drive, since the safety of your data will depend on its strength. The best option is a metal or plastic case with rubberized inserts that prevent damage to the device from shock.

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