External hard drives can be used to back up personal data or archive the film collection. In order not to lose track of the huge selection, there are a few things to consider.
External USB hard drives are ideal for backing up and transporting large amounts of data.
Fast USB 3.0 hard drives are often marked with a blue connector. These models are characterized by particularly fast data transfer.
Larger 3.5-inch models are particularly suitable for pure data backup. The power supply is guaranteed by an additional power supply unit.
At the beginning of the year, the Locky Trojan horse ransom attacked computers worldwide on a massive scale. The ransomware encrypted not only the files on the infected computer, but also in connected networks. Affected computer owners were asked to pay a sum of money. Many important files that were not backed up outside the system were lost. Such attacks can be prevented with an external hard drive. With regular data backups, the computer can be restored very quickly in the event of damage. And the portable data storage devices can also be used to store photos, videos and documents.
Spoiled for choice: SSD or HDD as an external hard drive?
When choosing external hard drives, a distinction is made between classic hard drives, hard disk drives (HDD), and solid-state disks (SSD) that are stored on flash chips. "If you want to store large amounts of data, external hard drives are - still - the method of choice," says Wolfgang Pauler from the computer magazine "Chip" in Munich. They are cheaper per gigabyte compared to SSDs, and you can buy them with larger capacity.
Fast and energy-saving: SSD hard drives
SSDs show their strengths primarily as system memory. This is where their high access speed comes into play. "Anyone who uses an SSD and starts a program has practically no loading time and can immediately start entering text or editing images," explains Timm Lutter from the IT association Bitkom. SSDs also do not require a lot of power and have no mechanical components. This makes them fairly insensitive to bumps and falls - if a hard drive is dropped, it is almost always permanently damaged. SSDs are also available as external variants for connection via USB with up to one terabyte (TB) of storage. However, they are comparatively expensive.
HDD hard drive for large amounts of data
For most purposes, such as backing up the photo collection, a classic HDD is sufficient for normal users: "In addition, if data is lost, the contents of the HDD or at least parts of it can be restored more easily," says Lutter. The hard drives with rotating storage disks are usually 2.5 or 3.5 inches in size. The purpose is decisive here: "The external 3.5-inch HDD is recommended when you really want to save large amounts of data and then put the hard drive in the cabinet, for example for backups," explains Wolfgang Pauler.
Note the speed of the external hard drive
"Anyone who simply wants to take their film, music or photo collection with them is usually well served with a 2.5-inch device," says Pauler. With a few exceptions, the smaller 2.5-inch hard drives run a little slower than the larger models at around 5,400 revolutions per minute. But the power that is transmitted via the USB cable, which is also used for data transmission, is sufficient for them. 7200 RPM models are faster when reading and writing large amounts of data. On the other hand, the windows are louder, vibrate more strongly and consume a little more electricity.
Price per gigabyte: the bigger, the cheaper
For external 2.5-inch HDDs, Wolfgang Pauler recommends a storage size of at least two terabytes (TB): These usually offer a good price-per-gigabyte ratio of around five cents per gigabyte (GB). If the capacity increases, it will be proportionally even cheaper. For the external 3.5-inch HDD, the GB price is around three cents for 4 and 5 TB models.
Fast, faster, USB 3.0: The Ferrari among external hard drives
In addition to the speed of the hard drive, the speed of data transfer between the computer and the storage medium is important. If you often save a lot of data externally, you should, according to Wolfgang Pauler, choose a fast rotating model. "USB 3.0 as an interface is now an absolute must." Models with an older USB 2.0 port are also hard to come by. The newer models with USB 3.0 can often be recognized by the fact that the connector for connecting to the computer is colored blue in the middle.
3.5-inch hard drives: Power supply via the wall socket
The larger hard drives in 3.5-inch format draw their power from the socket. So users also have to carry a power supply around in case the plate is taken with them. They could become a little more mobile in the future. The first new devices with power supply only via the USB port are already in the works. It will take some time before they appear in large numbers in stores. "The only model known to us requires USB 3.1 Type C ports for the connection - and these are currently hard to find," says the test manager from "Chip".
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| Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2017, 11:21 am
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