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We are living in the age of data. High-speed Internet and HD-videos have boosted the needs for humongous data storage and consequently have seen the surge in big hard drives being shipped in laptops. Even though bigger hard drives are now a part of most new laptops, people still need external hard drives for various reasons.
Some like to keep personal data stored on external hard drives, so in the case of an accident they don’t lose it, many keep a different OS on these drives and others buy it for the lack of significant storage in their systems.
These reasons stem the need for fast, portable, enormous and durable external hard drives. Data storage companies are making cutting-edge hard drives that store huge amounts of data, up to TBs, and offer great transfer speeds. A good external hard drive lets you flawlessly transfer data to your laptop and keeps it secure.
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Best External Hard Drive For Windows PC
Seagate Expansion USB 3.0
Huge Storage and Great Speed
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The Seagate Expansion USB 3.0 external hard drive gives you a whopping 5TB storage. You can store a boatload of data on this nifty little drive. That means thousands of songs, high-definition videos, applications, text files and any other type of data you may need. It really will have you covered in the data storage part.
Seagate Expansion external hard drive has a USB 3.0 interface which means that it offers blazing fast data transfer rates. USB 3.0 can give up to 480MBps data rates but that is the ideal case, and most drives don’t give those speeds in the usual environments. It has been tested to sustain around 120MBps transfer rate for writing and 130MBps for reading. This is fast and can transfer a 1GB movie in around 8 seconds.
This external hard drive is compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports which mean that it is compatible with almost all laptops. You may need a converter bridge for newer Macs since they only come in USB Type-C. Since the market hasn’t shifted all the way to this newer technology, choosing a USB 3.0 one is wise.
Safety & Warranty
It offers a warranty of 1 year which in our opinion is short for an external hard drive. At least a two-year warranty is reasonable for this type of huge storage. Also, it does not offer any backup software or added security features.
Silicon Power 1TB Rugged Armor A60 Shockproof
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Shockproof, Water Resistant, Military-Grade Storage Device
This Silicon Power external hard drive gives you 1TB of storage. It may or may not be enough depending upon your usage, but given the price tag and added security features like a rugged armor body and shockproof feature, it is a brilliant hard drive. If big storage is your primary concern, this drive is not for you. But if you are looking for something with a reasonable room and something that is highly data redundant and safe, this is your best bet.
It has a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 and boasts 480MBps speed. In normal usage, it will offer roughly the same rates as the Seagate one, so there is not much difference there.
Connects with USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports and has a brilliant wrap-around cable management. You can use it with Macs and PCs without any worry.
Safety & Warranty
This is where this hard drive actually outshines its rivals. With its rugged and US Military standard shockproof body, you can take it with you anywhere you like without the worries to damage it or to lose your data. It is also water resistant, splash resistant from all angles for at least 5 minutes. It also offers 256 AES encryption to keep your data secure. With added plans for data recovery, you cannot do better than this if data security is your primary concern. Also, it gives a 3-year warranty which is just perfect!
WD 4TB My Book Desktop
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Humongous Storage, Various Security, and Backup Features
This Western Digital external hard drive offers a humongous 4TB storage which is more than enough for your storage needs. It is an adequate size for most people, and you won’t be running into any shortage of storage with this anytime soon. You can have your laptop backed up on it, store your personal movies and music, have a full blown OS installed and you will still be left with some storage.
It has a USB 3.0 interface like the previous two and thus offers transfer speeds up to 480MBps as is with all other USB 3.0 equipped storage devices.
It provides universal connectivity, and you can use it with any laptop or desktop computer having a USB port. You can even plug it into your car to listen to music if it supports a USB connection.
Safety & Warranty
The main catch of this external hard drive is its storage capacity and an awesome WD backup software that lets you backup your system flawlessly. It also has AcronisTrue Image WD Edition software which offers system level backup that will ensure complete and total protection. Coupled with a 256bit AES hardware encryption, it takes care of your data and keeps it secured. It offers a 2-year warranty which is quite adequate.
WD 1TB Black My Passport Ultra Portable
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Light as a feather, Super Portable
With a 1TB storage, it falls a little behind the others we have reviewed, but it still is enough storage for most users. If you are looking for a genuinely big storage, you might want to skip this one. Its strong suit lies in its portability, automatic backups, and a reasonable price range.
With USB 3.0 interface, it is no different in transfer speed than the previous three we have reviewed. It will give you amazingly fast USB 3.0 transfer speeds
It has universal connectivity and works out-of-the-box with Windows system as it is formatted with an NTFS format. You can reformat it to work on a Mac. Moreover, its 5.44-ounce weight and small size make it an amazingly portable device. For people that want something light as a feather and still capable of storing large amounts of data, this is a perfect fit.
Safety & Warranty
It offers a great 3-year warranty which is superb. It also provides automatic cloud and local backup that will keep copies of your data and will ensure its safety. With a standard 256bit AES encryption, no one will be able to break into it to steal your precious data, so it gives you total peace of mind regarding the security and safety of your data. We think this is a great travel companion and is a perfect fit for people who go with data.
Seagate Expansion 4TB Portable
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Incredibly cheap, perfect for small budgets
A 1TB storage that can store close to 1,000 hours of videos, 320,000 digital photos, and almost 16,660 hours of digital music. The choice of storage varies for different types of users, so you will have to make a choice yourself. Again, this storage is adequate for most users, but maybe short for people who primarily deal with big data or need big storage for any other reasons.
With a SuperSpeed USB 3.0, it offers blazing fast speeds on USB 3.0 ports. Then again, all USB 3.0 hard drives offer similar data rates on USB 3.0 ports. Plugging it into a USB 2.0 port will give lesser speeds.
It has universal connectivity like all other hard drives we are featuring. As we said earlier, the principal use of external hard drives is to be compatible with most laptop and desktop computers, so this hard drive naturally follows that convention.
Safety and Warranty
With most Seagate external hard drives, it offers only a one year warranty which is quite limited. Also, it does not provide you with any extra security or safety features which are also a serious drawback. It is, however, quite inexpensive. If you are low on budget and safety is not your main concern, it might work just right for you.
Corsair Flash Voyager Slider X1 256GB USB 3.0
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Fabulously portable, big storage for flash drives
This Corsair Flash Voyager is a flash USB stick, and if you think of it as a flash drive it offers you great storage, but in the leagues of external hard drives, its storage is simply too limited. With 256GB of storage, it can store up to 210 hours of HD videos and 77 thousand digital photos. If you want something incredibly portable and still give you quite a bit of storage, this is your best bet. But if you are looking for bigger storage, you are better off with the external hard drives with Terabytes of data storage capacities.
This little stick has a USB 3.0 interface and offers you read speed up to 130MBps. Its speed will be a little lower than the external hard drives but does not vary by much. Again, if you are looking for something that fits in your pocket or wallet, this is perfect for you.
It has universal connectivity which means it works flawlessly with any laptop or desktop with a USB port. It offers plug-and-play for all operating systems including Windows, Linux, and Mac without the need of installing any drivers.
Safety & Warranty
A whopping five-year warranty makes it very attractive for people who do not want the hassle of changing their flash drives very often. Flash drives do not offer any backup software or encryptions as they are meant to be ‘Flash’ storage. They need to be taken care of as they tend to disappear and often land in the hands of people who don’t like returning things – so careful with this one.
WD 8TB My Book Thunderbolt Duo Desktop RAID
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Massive storage, Ultra-fast speed
With an incredibly massive 8TB storage, this hard drive offers the biggest storage capacity available on the market. A portable hard drive with this gigantic storage is a data scientist’s wildest dreams. You can use it for big data dumps, backing up several machines, storing millions of videos, pictures, and songs.
Honestly, the possibilities are endless. This external hard drive is made up of two 4TB disks inside and can be used in three ways. It comes with a default RAID 0 configuration which means it will give you a full 8TB of storage. RAID 1 configuration will let you mirror both 4TB disks, so they both contain the same data.
This super-awesome external drive offers Thunderbolt interface which can move 2.5 GBs of data per second. That is quite impressive beats USB 3.0 speeds out of the water. This type of ultrafast speed, however, comes with a hefty price tag and is compatible with Thunderbolt ports only.
Connectivity is the real issue with this hard drive. It has a Thunderbolt interface which was exclusively for Macs earlier. Now there are PCs that come with a Thunderbolt port too, but they are rare. You can buy a PCIe for PC that comes with a Thunderbolt if you want your current non-Thunderbolt PC to work with it. In any case, it beats that flexibility and portability purposes of an external hard drive. If you want an incredibly fast hard drive, and portability or compatibility with other machines is not an issue for you, then it is an excellent external hard drive for you.
Safety & Warranty
It comes with a 3-year warranty and has a sturdy body.
Things to Consider When Buying an External Hard Drive
If you’re looking to buy an external hard drive, your first thought would be the storage. While it is an essential metric to consider, there is a lot more to a good hard drive than meets the eye. We are here to let you in on some tips that will allow you to make the best choice for your external hard drive – your portable data companion for years to come. Following are the things you should be looking for when buying it:
The storage capacity of any external drive is the deciding factor for most people when purchasing. There are no two opinions about it; storage is the primary discerning factor among different drives. Companies offer storage capacities from a couple of Gigabytes up to even 8 Terabytes.
This is to say that there are a plethora of different options to choose from and your mind will boggle trying to compare storage and price. Lucky for you, we will list down some of the best options out there on the market.
Most users do not bother to check the hard drives for transfer speed but it is one of the most important aspects of a great hard drive. There is a lot that depends on transfer speed – how fast the hard disk loads a certain program, how smooth it runs your high-definition videos and how long does it take to backup your whole computer. Hard drives with USB 3.0 interface are ten times faster than its former USB 2.0 interface.
Likewise, eSATA and FireWire take the second and third positions regarding transfer speeds, respectively. Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 2 and USB Type-C are even faster, but not many laptops (except Macs) come with those ports so unless your usage will be restricted to Macs, you should consider buying an external hard drive with a USB 3.0 interface as it is the most widely used.
External hard drives need to be compatible with most laptops as people use them on different machines. Say you have a Mac at home and a PC at the office with only USB 3.0 port, a hard drive with Thunderbolt interface will raise connectivity issues and you might require a bridge interface to connect it to both places.
The benchmark of most external hard drive manufacturers is the USB 3.0 as it works with every machine, even the ones with the outdated USB 2.0 ports. The advent of USB Type-C port will make the market shift towards it, but for now, you are better off with USB 3.0.
External hard disk drives should be sturdy and durable. Malfunctioning of your hard drive can cause you a lot of pain as most of your data will live on it. You need to be extra-careful in picking an external hard drive that gives you at least two years of warranty so you can take it around with the peace of mind. Some companies use layers for data redundancy which makes them more durable in case of data failure; those options should be given preference.
External hard drives are an excellent way to keep your laptops backed up, transfer huge amounts of data across different machines, and keep your personal data safe. There are a ton of different options on the market, but we recommend you buy the one with a reasonable storage and also enough security.
Data should not be taken lightly as we only learn its value when we lose it. We have listed a lot of different options that come with huge storage, tight security, and safety measures. Finally, it is your personal preferences that will drive your decision to buy a particular external hard drive.