Follow these steps to
find your ideal specs:
Rotating speed: 7200rpm
The folowings are only
recommened minimum specs:
- A basic external hard drive for simple
back-ups designed to lie on the desk with the specs listed above will have
a price of approximate £50. Drives with smaller capacity can be cheaper,
but will not be a good value for higher cost per gigabyte.
- If you need to use
more capacity, you had better buy the largest drive that you can afford.
If you are using external drive to back up internal drive, the general
rule is to buy the external drive with double capacity so that you have
enough space for other files.
- If transferring many
files, you will need a hand-held drive. 2.5-inch drives such as laptop are
the best value and available in capacity up to 1TB. They are small enough
to put into a coat’s pocket or handbag. However, it is more expensive than
desktop computer. If the size is really important, you need pocket-drive.
The external drive using 1.8-inch hard drive (iPod
size) is the best. They usually have maximum capacity of 250GB.
- Performance can be a big problem for
1.5-inch drive. If you write many data from the drive, choose a drive with
high rotating speed since you will have faster throughput. Most 2.5-inch
hard drives rotate at 5400rpm speed. Most desktop computer’s drives have rotating
speed at 7200rpm.
- USB2 is the commonest interface found in
external hard drive. It is fast enough for almost all uses, but if you
frequenly process extreme large files such as HD video, find USB3 drives
since they are much faster. They work when being plugged in USB2 port, but
you will need USB3 to take advantage of the drive. If PC does not have it,
you can add a few more ports with a £25 PCI expanding card. You can buy the
eSATA external hard drive, which can be a bit faster than USB3, although
not all PCs and laptops have eSATA. It is easy to add eSATA to PC with
SATA ports on the host circuit board by using
a $7 backplate.
Buffalo DriveStation Velocity 2TB
In spite of an attractive name,
DriveStation Velocity 2TB hard drive has simple design. The only special
feature is that it can be put horizontally or vertically on the desk. What a
pity, there is no cooling fan, so you will need to keep the drive in a well
However, what it lacks in form is made up for
in speed. When connected via USB3, it ran file transfer tests, recorded large
file at 105MB/s, and read just lower than 152MB/s, which makes it become one of
the fastest external drives we have ever seen. It is not leading with small
files, but still faster than average with small file write speed at 31MB/s and
read speed at 43.2MB/s.
Software packed in advance is not so
impressive. Backup Utility can back up files in schedule, but wizard interface performed
poorly does not bring confidence.
However, 2TB Velocity has a reasonable
price with 7p/gigabyte, which makes it become good value if you need much fast
Verdict. If you want fast USB3 desktop hard drive, Velocity is worth buying.
Desktop external hard drive. 2TB capacity, 7200rpm rotating speed, USB3 interface, 123x39x189mm,
two-year RTB warranty.
Energy consumption: 1W at idle mode, 75W at active mode
Freecom Mobile Drive Sq 500GB
Hand-held external hard drive usually has
retangular shape, but this hard drive, as its name implies, has square shape.
It is also incredibly thin, so it will not be oudated beside MacBook Air or
Mobile Drive Sq connects to your PC via
USB3, but its performance is far worse than the best USB3 drives we have ever
seen. It is fast in reading large files, reaching 109.3MB/s, but reads them
slowly, just reaching 58.5MB/s. Small file performance causes disappointment with
read speed at 30.3MB/s and write speed just at 14.6MB/s.
Nero BackItUp program is included, which is
very useful. It supports backing up increasingly and in schedule, so you do not
have to back up manually, and just files changing since the last back-up will
be copied to external drive, thus saving time.
Regardless of software packed in advance,
Mobile Drive Sq is too expensive to introduce. It costs more £38 compared to Iomega
Prestige Mobile USB3 500GB faster drive, which is a better choice.
Verdict. Some drives are nice, but you are paying much for shape and
thinness of Mobile Drive Sq.
Hand-held external hard drive. 500GB capacity, 5400rpm rotating speed, USB interface, 120x120x100mm,
two-year RTB warranty.
Iomega Mac Companion Hard
Companion is designed to lie on iMac’s
base, but will connect to any PC with a USB2 or FireWire 800 port.
It has some unsual features. It can be a
three-port USB hub; the USB port on the side can charge smartphone or tablet,
including iPad. Unfortunately, if you want to use USB hub, you will not be able
to take advantage of faster FireWire 800 port of Companion. Via USB, it copies
large files at the common speed at 27.4MB/s. Small files are transferred at
12.2MB/s. Through FireWire 800, these speeds increase to 47MB/s and31MB/s,
It is a pity that you have to choose
between Companion’s FireWire 800 performance and its USB hub. It is not more
expensive than most FireWire 800 2TB drives, but costs £80 more than USB3 2TB
drives, which are much faster.
Verdict. Iomega Mac Companion is a good idea, but at this price, we prefer
Desktop external hard drive. 2TB capacity, 7200rpm rotating speed, USB2 interface, FireWire 800,
45x148x197mm, three-year RTB warranty.
Energy consumption: 8W at idle mode, 9W at active mode
A-Data Superior SH14 750GB
Superior is an
eye-catching USB3 hand-held drive. However, although the drive is designed to
be water-resistant and clash-resistant, thin cover layer does not make it look
It is much faster when reading files than writing
them. Large files are read at 101.6MB/s speed, but written at slower speed,
although it still dramatic at 80MB/s. Small files are read at 26.4MB/s and
written at 16.8MB/s.
There is no back-up app, but you can
download OStoGo utility from Adata’s website. It allows you to copy Windows
setup disc to Superior – quite useful if you want to reinstall Windows on
netbook or ultrabook without buying an optical drive.
Superior has a
reasonable price for a 750GB hand-held USB3 drive with 15p/gigabyte if you
accept slow small file performance.
Verdict. Superior has competitive price, and has much storage, but its
inconsistent performance causes us much regret.
Hand-held external hard drive. 750GB capacity, 5400rpm rotating speed, USB3 interface, 122x83x20mm,
three-year RTB warranty.