External data storage: how to choose

The cloud is the most modern, but not always available storage. If the Internet will disappear, will disappear, and access files. A portable external drive from the Internet is not affected: it is always at hand, ready to join in the work.

Despite the popularity cloud storage the need for flash drives and external drives is not going away. Usually external drives are used to store backups of computer, laptop, and phone. It is possible to throw off all that does not fit in the memory of the PC, and in the case of a computer crash you can recover the data in few minutes.

Only one question remains – how to choose an external drive? Talk about important parameters.


The most significant specification of this drive is its capacity. Makes no sense to buy high speed disk encryption if it can't accommodate the desired size of the files. On the other hand, it is unwise to spend a lot of money on a huge drive, which during operation is filled half.

So what is the optimal capacity? Specific numbers we can not lead, it all depends on your needs.

For office work, that is, transfer documents and media files between PCs, fit flash drive average. Consumer drives up to 2 TB of information, but often such models are unreasonably expensive, and office workers large capacity to anything. So you can do low-cost option for 64 or 128 GB, which stores asking for 1.5-2 thousand rubles.

Home drive "faylopomoyki" you need to choose the bigger one. Look at the portable drives 1 TB. This is sufficient for the various purposes, although there are higher capacity models like external HDD Seagate Backup Plus is available with volume from 1 up to 5 TB. Its price varies from 3,5 up to 10 thousand rubles.


External drives come in two types – solid-state SSD and hard drives HDD. In fact it is two different ways of storing and processing data.

The hard drives are "pancakes" — a rotating plate on which files are recorded by the head. Because of the movable elements when the disc is heard characteristic sounds. What speed is higher, the drive noisier. SSD arranged on a different principle: they are transistors that are switched on / off depending on the incoming electrical impulses. They have no moving parts, hence the absence of any sounds at work.

SSDs much faster than HDDs, but SSDS of the same capacity is more expensive. Choosing a budget option in the form of HDD, keep in mind that this type of disk is vulnerable to physical impacts, it can not drop. We can say that as a portable storage device, it is preferable to choose the SSD. On the HDD should stay only in special circumstances are on a budget, need a very large capacity.

the Speed

The speed of working with data as important as the capacity of the drive. If you frequently need to upload the files from the computer to disk and back, you would not want to wait long.

At the speed most affected by two factors: a storage technology and interface used. High rates of speed have SSD.

With regard to the connection interface, most external drives use the USB connector. Here we need to note that there are different generations of USB and there are differences between them regarding the speed of data transfer.

USB 2.0 is the old standard, it is better to avoid, because the maximum speed of only 480 MB/s. Typically, USB 2.0 has no special color markings: he is black or white.

The modern generation of USB is 3.0, 3.1 and 3.2 Gen1 Gen1. Their specifications are similar, they all provide speeds of up to 5 Gbps and is usually painted blue. USB 3.1 Gen2 and Gen2 USB 3.2 operate at a higher speed – up to 10 GB/s. Visually, they are distinguished by the color red.

as for connectors, the most common type USB-A. It has a rectangular shape, the connector connects to it only in one position. USB-C newer, smaller and more rounded, the connector can be inserted either way round. Video output via USB-C is carried out by means of DisplayPort. Some connectors use a type of USB-C port, but work on the Protocol Thunderbolt 3 with transfer speeds up to 40 Gbps.

In older devices Dating alternative connectors, such as eSATA and Firewire, but their technical indicators do not meet modern standards, and should be refused.

Thus, in the first place when the external storage is to look for Thunderbolt 3. If the drive support it seems too expensive or your computer is not equipped with USB-C Thunderbolt 3, then look for USB 3.1 / 3.1 Gen2.

The portability and durability of the

If you are looking for a store exclusively for home use, you can organize it on the basis of NAS. In fact it is the same cloud, but completely personal. The NAS works as a standalone wired device in the local network connects multiple storage devices and storage modes. Production of disks for the NAS do Promise Technology, QNAP, Synology and some others.

NAS will always be in touch, however you will not be able to put it in a bag to take to work or for a trip. If portability is important, this is no longer an option.

There are many compact and light external storage, e.g. Samsung T5. Despite its small size it has a decent capacity. If you compare SSD and HDD, you first have smaller dimensions.

The more reason to make a choice in favor of termotehnika – durability. HDD manufacturers protect their products with shells made of reliable materials, however, the presence of moving parts within itself is the weak point. SSD mobile mechanics in there, so a gentle blow or fall off the table is unlikely to have an impact on the health of this disk.


Some personal and business data needs protection from outside interference. Many drives offer software-based encryption solution, configure them easily, and benefit cannot be overemphasized.

To protect particularly serious information need hardware encryption. Among portable drives, a keyboard for entering a PIN, for example, Apricorn Aegis Padlock.

From attempts of opening mechanically protects extra strong hull. Kingston drives series Ironkey small in size, but the emptiness inside filled with epoxy resin. This design withstands the rigors of handling and makes it very difficult to access the content. But if the attacker still remove the memory chip, built-in encryption chip set detects the interference and prevent to decrypt the data on the new device.

will Work

Newly purchased external drives are often formatted for a specific OS. This is also important: a pre-formatted under Windows 10 the disk will have problems with connecting to MacOS and Vice versa. There are disks that are prepared to work in Linux.

This setting is reversible. The disk can be transferred to another file system, but it will take time. If you choose a drive with a goal immediately to start to work with it, look for one that is compatible with your working OS.


External storage for games is a separate issue.

Is especially important in data transfer rate, so there are a lot of sense to choose a SSD: it was the primary testing of the game will go twice faster than HDD. Equally important is a USB 3.1 / 3.2, while the new consoles and gaming computers will soon get a higher rate of speed.

For gamers will be a useful feature to automatically copy and universal compatibility. Some models, for example, Silicon Power Armor A60 have a built-in compartment for cables and a durable case.

Some drives designed specifically for a certain console: in the family of Seagate Game Drive there are separate models for Playstation and Xbox.

Additional functions

All of the above characteristics must be considered in the first place. But there are additional aspects that are also worth paying attention to, especially if you have not yet decided on the purchase.

Extended warranty period has value if you are worried about the reliability of the selected device.

Sometimes included with drive no cables or they are not the ones that you can use on your computer. It is preferable to buy a drive with a cable. But if your PC has the USB-C port or Thunderbolt but the drive comes only with the cable USB-A, you simply will not be able to connect. Have to buy another cable or look for the drive with a compatible interface.

At last, some external drives have a feature works via Wi-Fi. They usually have a built-in battery and the charger on the basis of USB, but they cost much more than the wired counterparts.