4 Different Types Of External Hard Drives
There are a few different external hard drive types, and you've got to choose the right one for the best experience. Here's a look at different major types of external hard drives.
The right external hard drive can be a great addition to your computer. They can provide a ton of extra space or serve as a great way to back up your important files. However, there are a few different types of external hard drives, with their own advantages and disadvantages. Here's a look at a few of the different types along with an example of each type of drive.
RAID External Hard Drives
RAID external hard drives like this one are actually a few hard drives in a single enclosure. Their manufacturers use RAID technology (RAID stands for Random Array of Inexpensive Disks) to simulate a single hard drive from multiple drives. Most external RAID drives can be set up as either a RAID 1 or a RAID 0. A RAID 1 provides great automatic data backup, as both of the hard drives in the array contain the same information--in other words, if you put a file onto one drive, it's on both.
A RAID 0, on the other hand, uses both drives as one drive. Data is striped across both of the included drives. The bad side of this is that if one hard drive fails, the data is lost. The good news is that you get more space and very fast operation.
Portable External Hard Drives
Portable hard drives are just like standard external hard drives, except they're normally powered by USB. That means that they only use one cord. They're also smaller--they've got little laptop hard drives in them rather than desktop hard drives. You can fit a portable hard drive in your pocket, so it's a great choice if you travel a lot or if you need an external hard drive to use at both your office and your home. It's best to choose a major manufacturer when you get a small external hard drive if you can, as electronics for these products can be hard to make.
Standard Desktop External Hard Drives
Standard external hard drives like this one have a power cord and a USB cable. They're typically pretty large. This one's about half a terabyte.
External hard drives vary in size, noise, and speed. There are dozens of manufacturers who offer external hard drives, but it's important to note that many of them don't actually make the hard drives that are in their enclosures. External hard drive manufacturers like Maxtor and Seagate—which have a reputation for making quality hard drives—are the best choice if you're trying to find one of these standard desktop external hard drives.
External Hard Drive Enclosures
If you want to save some money or ensure the quality of the hard drive sitting in your external, you can just buy your own hard drive enclosure. Enclosures like this one are very easy to use. You can just plug in a standard internal hard drive and you're good to go. This enclosure actually includes cooling features, so it's very good at keeping a hard drive in good working order. Only buy a hard drive enclosure if you're comfortable in handling a hard drive, of course, but they're a great way to save some money if you're up for the challenge.
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