Find the perfect external hard drive

External hard disks are ideal for backups and to transport data uncomplicatedly. However, the devices are now available in all possible versions. You should pay attention when buying, so that you have as long as something from your external hard drive.

With an external hard drive or a portable SSD drive at the USB port, you can store, transport and simply expand the hard disk space of your PC cost-effectively. A USB 3.0 hard drive or an SSD drive with USB 3.0 / 3.1 also fits an old USB port, then runs at comparatively lame USB 2.0 speed. External hard drives are prefabricated with memory capacities up to 10 terabytes. Already from 45 Euro are plates with 1 TB capacity to have. 4 TB external disk storage costs between 100 to 140 euros, storage giants with 8 TB capacity cost around 250 euros.

External hard drives are prefabricated with memory capacities up to 10 terabytes. Already from 45 Euro are plates with 1 TB capacity to have. 4 TB external disk storage costs between 100 to 140 euros, storage giants with 8 TB capacity cost around 250 euros.

External SSDs are available with up to 2TB of storage capacity. External SSDs are fast, Compact and extremely robust – but also comparatively expensive. Models with 500 GB storage cost between 150 and 200 euros. For 1 TB SSD storage in the case you pay about 400 euros, for 2 TB variants are paid over 650 euros. An SSD in the external housing is especially recommendable if the speed should be in the first place.

Handy external hard drives or stationary models

For external hard drives – usually an internal drive with a SATA 300/600 port (300 or 600 MBit / s data rate) in a USB 3.0 housing – you have the choice between drives in 2.5 and 3, 5-inch format. The advantage of the smaller versions is that they are particularly mobile and lightweight due to their compactness, and the drives are usually quiet and energy-conscious. Their capacity is currently limited to 4 TB. Unlike some external 3-5-inch hard drives, external 2.5-inch drives do not have a power switch.

This means: Hang on a PC or notebook, pull power – even when idle. One consequence of the (high) electricity consumption is heat generation. Usually external hard disks, which pull a lot of current, Also above-average.

Externally used 3.5-inch plates, on the other hand, are ideally suited for stationary use and offer higher capacities – currently up to 10 TB. However, they need their own power supply and are accordingly more powerful and louder in operation than their external 2.5-inch counterparts. The latter is mainly due to the fact that the drives are equipped with a fan, which can be heard during operation due to the own power supply, which in turn generates more heat. However, they need their own power supply and are accordingly more powerful and louder in operation than their external 2.5-inch counterparts. The latter is mainly due to the fact that the drives are equipped with a fan, which can be heard during operation due to the own power supply, which in turn generates more heat. However, they need their own power supply and are accordingly more powerful and louder in operation than their external 2.5-inch counterparts. The latter is mainly due to the fact that the drives are equipped with a fan, which can be heard during operation due to their own power supply, which in turn generates more heat.

Checklist: USB hard disks and USB SSDs

  • Application area: Any internal hard disk is full – countless photos, the MP3 collection and videos in high resolution require large amounts of disk space. Additional storage capacity is provided by an external USB hard disk or an external SSD drive for the USB connection.
  • Speed: In everyday use with USB 3.0, data transfer rates of up to 250 MB per second are realistic for hard disk drives. External SSDs are about twice as fast – but only if drive and PC are equipped with USB 3.1. With USB 3.0 are possible by 375 MB per second.
  • Lifetime: The housings of external drives are generally quite robust, Only the installed controller for controlling the hard disks is sometimes a weak point. Otherwise, external hard disks and SSDs have the same durability criteria as when used in desktop PCs.
  • Fail-safe: There are two possible causes of a failure of external drives. The controller in the housing can be as well as the installed hard drive / SSD. In the case of a defective controller, the device can be re-used in another housing.
  • Storage Capacity: External hard drive in compact and lightweight 2.5-inch design without power supply and available with up to 5TB capacity. Models in 3.5-inch design are larger, heavier and less mobile, But with up to 10TB of storage capacity. The currently largest mobile SSD is the Samsung SSD 850 EVO 4TB and offers 4TB storage volume.
  • Price: The Gigabyte formatted storage space already exists for around two cents. External drives usually cost only a little more than the hard disk as a single component. External SSD storage is comparatively three to four times as expensive. The currently largest mobile SSD is the Samsung SSD 850 EVO 4TB and offers 4TB storage volume. Price: The Gigabyte formatted storage space already exists for around two cents. External drives usually cost only a little more than the hard disk as a single component. External SSD storage is comparatively three to four times as expensive.

The currently largest mobile SSD is the Samsung SSD 850 EVO 4TB and offers 4TB storage volume. Price: The Gigabyte formatted storage space already exists for around two cents. External drives usually cost only a little more than the hard disk as a single component. External SSD storage is comparatively three to four times as expensive. External drives usually cost only a little more than the hard disk as a single component.

External SSD storage is comparatively three to four times as expensive. External drives usually cost only a little more than the hard disk as a single component. External SSD storage is comparatively three to four times as expensive.

For maximum data transfer speed

If you are particularly demanding on a hard drive and you use it as backup memory, for example, you want the speed of reading and writing data. If you are using an external hard disk, make sure that you are connected to the USB 3.0 port – the USB 2.0 standard, which is still available in old models, is noticeably slower in data transmission!

Current external hard disks can be connected to the computer via USB 3.0. As a result, the disks work very quickly – theoretically with up to 500 MB per second. But this pace is practically never reached in practice. After all, it can be said that 3.5-inch drives usually work faster than their 2.5-inch counterparts. One reason for this is the fact that the hard disks are used in the 3.5-inch range at 7200 rpm. In the narrower 2.5-inch versions, the plates usually only rotate 5400 times a minute.

Another technical reason for the higher data rates for hard disks in the 3.5-inch design lies in their larger data disks. In the outer rings of a data disk, the data rate is higher than in the inner rings since the hard disk travels with a revolution of more memory space under the read / write head than with a revolution in the inner and smaller area of the disk. Since the data disk of a 3.5-inch hard disk has a larger diameter overall and thus a larger circumference than that of a 2.5-inch hard disk, it transports more space at the same speed with a movement. In the case of an SSD, you should have access to a model with a PCI Express port and an internal RAID controller. For the longest possible lifetime of an SSD, you should take a look at the warranty, the manufacturer’s stated Terabytes Written (TBW), and the average operating time between failures (MTBF). Ten-year warranty, a TBW of well over 50 TB and an MTBF of more than one million hours are a good SSD. Many manufacturers now link the warranty with the total writing performance – it expires when a TBW has been exceeded. (Terabytes Written = TBW) as well as the average operating time between failures (MTBF). Ten years warranty, a TBW of well over 50 TB and an MTBF of more than one million hours are a good SSD. Many manufacturers now link the guarantee time with the total writing performance – it expires when a TBW has been exceeded. The total written performance (terabytes Written = TBW) specified by the manufacturer, and the average operating time between failures (MTBF). Ten-year warranty, a TBW of well over 50 TB and an MTBF of more than one million hours are a good SSD. Many manufacturers now link the warranty with the total writing performance – it expires when a TBW has been exceeded.

Housing: Standard or Rugged?

In addition to the numerous variants with standard housings, special Rugged models are available which are suitable for outdoor use and should absorb strong shocks due to their buffered housings. The hard disk or SSD inside is better protected against mechanical damage.

Tips: Find the optimal external drive

  • Capacity: The most prominent figure in the product description of external hard disks and USB SSDs is the storage space. Please note that the manufacturer’s specification does not match the formatted capacity. A 1-TB hard drive provides 931.5 GB of actually usable memory. The reason for this discrepancy is that the hard disk and SSD manufacturers use the decimal system, while operating systems work according to the binary system. In order to store 1000 bytes, for example, 1024 bytes of space are actually required. For the proof: 465.8 * 1024 (corresponds to MB) * 1024 (corresponds to KB) * 1024 (corresponds to byte) = 500.1 GB.
  • Tempo: While the capacity is always mentioned, there is usually no indication of how fast the drive is working. As a rule, you can currently expect 3.5-inch (7200 RPM) disks to be used. Hard disks with 5400 RPM become less hot and consume less power.
  • Continuous operation: External hard disks are often used around the clock. Special hard drive series are tailored to this application. The plates are low-vibration and thus quieter. They are designed for continuous operation and work better with higher operating temperatures than desktop disks. Examples of these disk serials can be found at Western Digital under the name WD Red or at Seagate as NAS HDD. These hard disks are about 10 to 15 percent more expensive in the Internet mail-order business than models without a special NAS release.
  • Security extras: To get away from the competition, some manufacturers equip their external hard drives with special features. For example, some drives provide AES encryption, an access code keypad, an RFID tag, or a fingerprint scanner.

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