Ah, the external hard drive. It’s certainly high up on the must-have accessory item list for the serious computer user. But with buyer options that nearly rival those found on any new car lot and with budgets for such trinkets leaning on the modest side in today’s economy, how does one go about finding the best external hard drive for them? Well the answer to that question is found inside of another question, really. And it’s one that you should certainly have the answer to long before you end up on the receiving end of some charming salesperson’s magnetic monologue.
So what’s the question? The question is, “What are my primary needs and concerns for this item?” The answer? Well, the answer is up to you. And it will, of course, vary from person to person. Here are a few different answers to the question, “How can I find the best external hard drive for me?” Try to find yourself among them and you’ll hopefully be on your way to a smoother transaction when next you gaze longingly down the storage hardware aisle.
How can I find the best external hard drive for me? I need extra storage for multimedia (movie and graphics) files.
If this is you, then forget about what they say. Size does matter. One single movie file, depending on the length, can be over two gigabytes in size alone. You will eat more space than PacMan if your storage needs involve a large amount of multimedia files. Of course the obvious downside to this solution is the bigger the drive, the bigger the price tag. Buy the biggest drive you can afford from a reputable manufacturer with a good warranty. And don’t be afraid to reach a little out of your comfort zone here. You will always need more space than you think you will. If that next step up in size doesn’t force you to eat Top Ramen for a month, then go for it. Always up the ante on what you think you’ll need by about 50 or 60%.
How can I find the best external hard drive for me? I’m all about the brand name.
If you’re a brand-loyal buyer then there’s no need to break the mold now. Recognizable brands usually lose in the price wars, but the old adage, “You get what you pay for,” usually holds true. With a popular brand name, there will typically be better warranties and better customer service outlets available. When you’re shelling out the bucks for a product, you want to know that your questions and concerns will be easily supported and addressed, especially if the product fails. No name brands may be easier on the wallet, but what you gain in pennies, you lose in reassurance.
How can I find the best external hard drive for me? I need top performance.
Well for starters, connectivity will affect your speed. You can buy the most souped up drive on the market, but if you happen to have a USB 1.0 port on your computer (possibly if it was manufactured pre-2000) that you’re using to connect the external hard drive, your data transfer is going to move like molasses. USB 2.0 is the more common USB connection, but Firewire connections, available on most newer computers and external hard drives, currently offer the fastest data transfer possibilities. Additionally, if you happen to be a speed demon, pay attention to the RPMs or (Revolutions Per Minute) the drive is flaunting. 7200 is better than 5400 but 12000 beats ‘em both.
How can I find the best external hard drive for me? I’m really low on funds.
Let your fingers do the Google-ing, honey. Take a walk to your local electronics superstore and browse the aisles for what you like. Get an idea of what’s on shelves right now. Get a few names, styles and product numbers, then get back to your computer and Google the names of what you found. See if a site like amazon.com or newegg.com has the same thing or something similar for a better price. You may even have luck with craigslist.com. You never know when the resident geek down the street is ready to upgrade. His trash could be your treasure.