We live in an age in which, like it or not, the use of optical or magnetic disks, such as CDs, DVDs or floppy devices, have gone through a serious decline. Currently the most popular data storage systems are flash memories (popularly known as Pen Drives) memory cards (SD, microSD, Compact Flash) but also, especially in households, external hard drives.
An external hard drive is nothing more than a hard disk enclosed in a smaller outer box, which through a direct connection to the computer, can store all types of files and documents securely. Let’s know more details and which types of external hard disk you can choose on Amazon…
Features to consider when buying an external hard drive
There are many external hard drives to choose from Amazon, each and every one of them is designed for a specific type of user: some simpler, others more complete, some have a better design, some are more for work. You have to realize that these devices are really sensitive: an accidental fall to the ground from a certain height can be their last. Thus you need to take extreme measures when handling it.
Their capabilities, formats, sizes, designs, connectivity and manner of operation, determine the best uses that you can give them according to your particular needs. Let’s check which features you can currently find in an external hard drive from El Corte Inglés:
- Physical Disk Size: There are discs of various sizes, depending on the specific needs of the user. For example, the most common are 2.5″ (inch), which are generally used to store data and move them from one device to another, since they are the most comfortable and portable. You can also find 3.5” hard drives, which are more ostentatious and are often used in fixed sites at home (since they usually need an external power supply). External hard drives of larger sizes than these are often used as mass data storage sites or multimedia file centers.
- Design: Generally, an external hard drive is contained within a case with plastic finishes, but it’s really common to find special editions that use more resistant or durable materials, such as rubber or aluminum.
- Internal Capacity: An external hard drive is measured primarily by its capacity. The most sold external hard drives are the ones with 1TB, i.e, with 1024 MB of space. Yes, the new versions of 2TB, 3TB, and even 6TB advanced storage systems are coming strong now. As a user, you can only decide how much space you need.
- Connectivities: In 90% of current external hard drives you will find, as the main connection, an USB 3.0 port, which lets you transfer data at 5 MB/s between a computer or device that supports this protocol. The rest of portable hard drives use USB 2.0, LAN / Ethernet, Wi-Fi connections and even a Thunderbolt port. The future is on the new USB-C connection with USB 3.1 protocol, which is tinier, much faster than USB 3.0 and reversible, but there are still months or years ahead until such hard drives are common in stores.
- Format: Usually, external hard drives are compatible with a wide range of PCs, Macs, or other operative systems. The format of their file systems are usually FAT, FAT32 or NTFS, which are Windows standards and are used in the most current commercial devices, though it is also possible to find them or convert them to specific formats for use on Mac systems (Mac Plus OS and HFS+), Linux (ext) or new formats such as exFAT.
- Energy-saving features: Almost all current external hard drives, especially the 2.5″ models, have the ability to make the most of the power that the USB 3.0 connection provides, which is 5V and 1 A. Still, for convenience, the larger-sized External Hard drives often include power supply adapters to be plugged to the network, since they are designed to be placed permanently on a desk or table, and this gives them the guarantee of functioning as a separate electronic device, if it is not necessary to use USB.
A matter of uses
What types of uses would you give to an external hard drive? Well, though this response is quite personal, let’s venture to make a small collection of ideas, albeit as a guide:
- Photo Storage: Our cameras, smartphones or tablets usually produce large files due to their high quality. After filling the memory card of the device where you store the pics, it is vital to move them to a hard drive to store the photos safely, and if you are a professional photographer, you already know that the RAW and JPG files from your camera eat away compulsively the memory from your cards and hard drives.
- Storing videos or movies: Storing the videos of your cameras, smartphones or tablets is of even greater priority, especially if we are talking about FullHD resolution or 4K / UHD videos, as they occupy a lot of space on your memory cards. You may also store digital movies and save space in your video library.
- Game storage: Today, besides being able to purchase games in physical format in stores, digital games purchase platforms are becoming more popular, as they allow you to download, in some cases, the games in full to be installed directly on your PC. An external hard drive is the best ally when moving and storing such large files. (Read More: Best Gaming Laptop)
- Computer program storage: Formerly we had to store hundreds of CDs or DVDs with specific computer programs for our work or studies, with encyclopedias, etc. Today we have the opportunity to create a catalog of programs in a simple and portable external hard drive. Disk shelves belong to another era.
- Document Storage: For high-school and college students, it is often vital to have a PC, but even more so a place to store safely all documents and graphic files that needed throughout the courses. An external hard drive is essential in these cases. This applies also to any employee that uses a computer regularly in their company.
- Backup: One of the cleverest uses you can give to an external hard drive, without a doubt, is to use it as a security backup or to back up your most important files. Thus, before any accident or unexpected disaster or unexplained loss of important files on your PC, you will always have the peace of mind that you have a copy on an external drive.
- Media center and TV recorder: Another of the most popular aspects of using an external hard drive is as media center to enjoy all types of content on your TV. There are specific models that are ready to be connected to the TV via HDMI video connection and even Wi-Fi, but the most practical and quick solution is to connect the drive via USB to the TV, as currently all TVs have this port. You can also use your external hard drive as TV recorder in most modern television sets, but each TV will be the one to impose the conditions for storing these recordings (it might even be necessary to format the disk in some cases).