A guide to buying External Hard Disk Drive

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Choosing and buying External Hard Disk Drive can be overwhelming for some people and here is a couple of things that you should know before making the big purchase. This article covers different types and sizes of External Hard Disk Drives as well as tips to choosing THE perfect portable storage device for your precious, invaluable data.

1. Which type to go for?

There are 4 common types of External Hard Disk Drive.

Picture 1 shows different types of hard drives (5.25", 3.5", 2.5" and 1.8"); Picture 2 is a direct comparison between a 3.5" External HDD and a 2.5" External HDD.
  • 1.8" (Very new in the market, very small, extremely portable and extremely pricey)
  • 2.5" (highly portable, powered by USB only, good value, available in 40GB, 60GB, 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, 250GB, 320GB, 500GB)
  • 3.5" (powered by external power source, cheap, available in 160GB, 250GB, 320GB, 400GB, 500GB, 640GB, 750GB, 1TB, 1.5TB, 2TB)
  • 5.25" (bulky, inconvenient, and may or may not be cheaper than 3.5")
Generally speaking, 2.5" and 3.5" are the most popular or common types of External Hard Disk Drive simply because they provide huge storage capacity with medium to high portability at fairly good price. If you are only after huge storage capacity and are not worried about lugging around a huge, heavy external hdd, 3.5" is your choice. If you think 300GB is more than enough and you would like to carry all your data around in your pocket, you should go for 2.5".

**If you are unsure whether the item that you are looking at is 2.5" or 3.5", please make sure that you ask the seller because you don't want to be paying, say, $100 for a 250GB 3.5" External HDD when you can get a much much smaller and portable 250GB 2.5" External HDD for $105.

2. Which brand or design to opt for?

Now, as soon as you have decided which type of External Hard Disk Drive to go for, it is time for you to decide which brand or design to opt for.

External HDD is made up of 2 parts:
  • The core (Hard Disk)
  • The case (Enclosure)
Most Hard Disks have either an IDE interface or a SATA interface. IDE has been in the market since forever while SATA is fairly new with the most noticeable difference- data transfer rate. A 320GB SATA 2.5" HDD has a Data Transfer Rate of 3GB/s max while a 320GB IDE 2.5" HDD has a Data Transfer Rate of 600MB/s. Some go for SATA because of its performance while others choose IDE because of its slightly cheaper price, but either one is fine because they are just as reliable and durable as one another.

Hard drives come in different capacities just as Potato Chips come in different flavours. Tailor your purchase to your needs. Basically you have nothing to worry about the hard disk because there are very few fakes or low quality hard disks out there. Almost all hard disks are manufactured by the following reputable International companies: Seagate, Western Digital, Samsung, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Hitachi etc and they all offer at least 3 years of warranty.

However, having a hard disk with 3 years warranty does not mean that you will definitely get at least 3 full years of good use out of it because the enclosure tends to fail before the hard disk does. That is probably why most enclosures come with only 1 year manufacturer warranty instead of 3 or 5 years. To make things worse, most of the enclosures in the market are produced by some manufacturers based in China or Hong Kong. They may have resellers in Australia, but they do not have their own offices or representatives/dealers here in the country. If something goes wrong with the enclosure, will you be able to claim the warranty and have the enclosure fixed or replaced? Hence, to protect yourself, it is vital that you choose the right enclosure. Any enclosure with easy access to warranty information and services is good and any enclosure with more than 1 year warranty is a bonus!

**A Samsung (or Western Digital or Seagate etc) External Hard Disk can mean 2 things. 1, Samsung Hard Disk with Samsung Enclosure. 2, Samsung Hard Disk with other branded or generic enclosure. Whichever it is, make sure that your enclosure has easy access to warranty information and service.

3. Which seller to buy from?

This is not specific to External Hard Disk. It applies to any online purchase.
  1. Check the feedback score or feedback comments left by other customers. It tells you how reliable the seller is.
  2. If the seller has negative feedbacks, check how did he get those feedbacks. It gives you a bit of clue how responsible the seller is.
  3. Check the location of seller. It gives you a bit of idea as to how genuine the product might be.
**If pick up is available, you can almost be sure that the seller is genuine, the product is quality and the chances of stock shortage is low.

Thanks for reading. If you have more questions in regards to External Hard Drive, feel free to message us and we will try our best to find a solution. If you think we are missing something, please contact us, we welcome feedback and suggestions. If you find this article helpful, please kindly let us know by hitting the 'Yes' button below. Thanks.

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