External hard drive buying guide


An external hard drive is the perfect solution if you're looking for more storage space but require an affordable and portable solution that solves the problem of having to upgrade a computer beyond its built-in storage capacity – which can prove either expensive or at the very least fiddly!

External hard drives are ideal for backing up or transporting large amounts of data. They are perfect for storing large files - such as movies, music and other resource demanding files.


Purpose of External Hard Drives

External hard drives offer the convenience of more storage that can be used with a large number of different devices - PCs, Laptops, PC Tablets and even Apple Macs and laptops depending on their compatibility.

In the simplest terms – an external hard drive will increase the storage capacity of a PC or laptop. In some instances they can back-up entire computer systems and relevant files. They can be set-up to perform regular, automated system back-ups – perfect for the user who needs to protect and backup important data.


External Hard Drive Types & Capacity

Whilst all have different styles, performance capabilities, storage capacity, different shapes, sizes – they basically all do the same thing – store more data.

There are 2 main types of external hard disk drive - a 2.5" and a 3.5" – both are reasonably portable, however, the 2.5" version has the edge if you need something smaller and lighter to carry around. There are larger ones available but usually these are designed and built to be kept in close proximity to a desktop PC and aren’t ideal if you’re looking for something you can carry around.

There are various hard drive capacity sizes - ranging from as little as 500GB (for those who don’t require a lot more space) to as much as 10TB - which is usually enough even for the most demanding user.


External Hard Drive Performance & Connectivity

Drive Spin Speed

There are 2 main types of spin speed available for an external harddrive – 5,400 RPM or 7,200 RPM.

The 5,400 RPM version spins slower than the faster 7,200 RPM one and it’s cheaper to buy, however, the 7,200 RPM hard drive displays its dominance as it can write large files and large amounts of data very quickly. In spite of this the 5,400 RPM version is more than adequate if you have a limited budget and simply need something for general usage.

external hd


There are a few types of connectivity – including USB and eSATA, however, USB tends to be the most commonly used.

USB Connectivity (HDD)


USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 are the most common USB types, however, USB 3.0 is becoming the standard for more modern PCs and laptops – but many still also come with at least an additional USB 2.0 port as well.

USB 2.0 can transfer data at a maximum of 60MB a second; however, USB 3.0 has proven data transfers as high as 614MB per second - quite a significant increase.

Whilst USB 3.0 external hard drives are becoming the most common – the good news is they are backwards compatible so can be plugged into USB 2.0 if required, however, you will experience slower data transfer speeds.

eSATA Connectivity


eSATA (or External Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) are simply an external version of the same types of cables that are used to connect the internal hard disk drive to the computer’s motherboard. They can be plugged into a laptop or PC in much the same way as a USB connection – but obviously to an eSATA port.

These can get up to speeds as fast as 384MB per second – so can be a nice middle-ground between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0.


To summarise


External hard drives can be a convenient, quick way to transfer and store important files that you don’t want to lose – whether it’s family photos, music, movies, letters, or if it’s simply a way to back-up your computer on a regular basis.

Take a look at Medion UK’s range of external hard drives and take your time to review them to make sure you find the right product for your needs before buying.


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