What External Hard Drive do I need?

Need External Hard Drive

There are many different types of storage device, and choosing the right external hard drive for you can be difficult. In this article, we look at various options and attempt to show how different users have different storage needs, hopefully answering the question – what external hard drive do I need?

Under 500GB – USB Flash Drive or SD Card

USB Flash Drives
If you only need to store a relatively small amount of data, then you may not need a hard drive at all. USB Flash Drives and SD Cards are perfectly designed to move small files between PCs and other devices.

USB Flash Drives are small and robust, which makes them ultra-portable and perfect for moving around your files and media. They range from 16GB to 128GB in capacity and if you aren’t looking to store hundreds of videos, then a USB Flash Drive may be all you need.

SD Cards are non-volatile memory cards which are used in many handheld devices. They are most commonly used as storage for digital cameras, camcorders or mobile phones. If you need more storage for saving your pictures or videos directly on the device, an SD Card may be what you need.

500GB to 2TB – Portable External Hard Drive

Portable Hard Drives
If portability is important to you, but you also need a lot more space than a Flash Drive can provide, then an external hard drive offers the perfect solution.

Portable External Hard Drives can store hundreds of video files or thousands of photos, just like the hard drive in your PC or Mac. The difference is that an external hard drive, made by Seagate or Western Digital for example, is only the size of your wallet and can be carried with you when you leave the house. Terabytes of files at your fingertips, ready to be plugged into any device. If you have two computers for example, you can use a portable external hard drive on both devices and keep huge amounts of files available to you no matter which computer you are using at the time.

Another great use for a portable external hard drive is backing up. Our PCs and Macs are collecting more and more files, photos and videos than ever, and making sure our files are backed up is of vital importance. A portable external hard drive is large enough to store huge amounts of files and should be able to backup most, if not all of your data. You can even use a portable external hard drive to free up space on your computer.

Over 2TB – Desktop External Hard Drive

Samsung Desktop Hard Drive
When 2TB is not enough, desktop external hard drives are the only option. Storage capacity on these monsters can reach 8TB. This is for the user who has massive amounts of media files – thousands of movies, tv shows and videos. If you don’t have thousands of files, then a portable external hard drive will probably be sufficient.

Desktop external hard drives are larger and usually need to be connected to a mains power supply in order to operate. They are meant to be put on the desk, next to your PC or Mac, to act as a huge external storage solution.

Wireless Network – Personal Cloud Storage

WD My Cloud
You may want to incorporate your storage into your home network. Personal Cloud Storage devices are hard drives with wireless network capabilities. They can be used to share all your files around the house to multiple different devices at the same time.

With a Personal Cloud Storage hard drive you can stream movies on your smart TV, or check out your backed up photos on your phone or tablet. Having your files in one shared location enables everyone to access them without having to move the device or use a wired connection.

Saving all your music to a wireless network means that you could play it anywhere in the house on any computer, tablet or TV. It goes further than just being an external hard drive, it becomes a server and excellent tool for sharing.

Choosing what you need

When asking yourself ‘what external hard drive do I need?’ make sure that you ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I need over 2TB of storage?
  • Would a 64GB flash drive be sufficient for my needs?
  • Do I want to share my files over my wireless network?

Answering these questions, and reading the information above will enable you to make a more informed choice about what storage device is right for you.

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