External Hard Drive: which one to buy

Published on Jan 25, 2017

Focusing on a notebook with SSD integrated we run the risk of running out of space for your personal data (documents, music, videos, etc.) in view of the reduced capacity of the solid-state drive. The problem that capacity can also occur on a desktop PC, in particular if the integrated hard drive is not adequate for the amount of data that we stock all of the days. These and other scenarios is a good thing to focus immediately on a good external hard drive so you can save all of your documents, photos, music and anything else in outer space.

Let's see together all the features that it must possess an external hard drive to be taken into consideration, with the inevitable guide to the final purchase in which you will see close up the external hard drives that can be purchased on Amazon.

For convenience, we use the following index.

The first differences can be found depending on the format of the external Hard disk chosen.

An external hard disk drive 3.5-inch can be used next to a PC fixed, in view of their poor handling. In return, you can get the best capacity and speed, since the use of desktop drives adapted to use as an external hard drive.

Choosing an external hard disk drive 2.5-inch we can count on solutions compact, easily connectable to a notebook, a TV, a TV Box or any device with a USB port and can read the hard disks. The capacity and speed are inferior compared to hard disks, 3.5-inch, but much depends on the type of connectivity being used (as we will see in the next chapter).

Almost all models now feature a USB 3.0 connection, capable of supplying electric power sufficient for the operation of the hard disk. On the old disks was not uncommon to see the Y-cable with two USB sockets 2.0 for a single disk: one socket dedicated to the power supply, the other to the exchange of data. These sockets are now fallen into disuse.

External drives have long been of the USB 3.0, faster than USB 2.0 but is backwards-compatible with the latter (an external hard drive with USB 3.0 can be connected to a USB 2.0 port without problems). What changes between USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, the transmission speed is the theoretical:

The two versions of the USB can be recognized easily by the colour of the ports and sockets: blue sockets are USB 3.0, and white (rarely black) for the USB 2.0.

Lately, there is also the USB 3.1 with the top speed is significantly higher on the basis of the generation to which it is associated:

Often the USB 3.1 is associated with the form factor of Type-C, but it is not a fixed rule.

The form factor of the USB connection for an external hard drive is traditionally the Type-A, the classic socket USB that we all know, as visible in the image below.

Lately it started to spread also the form factor of Type-C, which in addition to being small and thin has the double direction of insertion (can be inserted in a socket-Type-C without fear of making a mistake to fixing common error with the Type-A). Below is an example of the socket Type-C.

The Type-C is not automatically synonymous with the maximum transmission speed of: there are in fact sockets USB 3.0 Type-C, USB port 2.0 Type-C and USB 3.1 Type-C; best to check in advance the speed of the USB port and provided cable.

In addition to the USB connection, you can find external drives with Thunderbolt-connected, less widespread than USB, but much appreciated on the Apple devices. Also in this case we have different speeds of transmission on the basis of the generation of the Thunderbolt taken into consideration:

Disks with Thunderbolt can be connected only to PC's that have Thunderbolt ports, which can occur with two form factors:

For Thunderbolt 1 and 2, the form factor is identical to the Mini DisplayPort, as in the image below.

Thunderbolt-3 the form factor is identical to the USB Type-C, as in the image below.

We can recognize the presence of the ports or sockets of the Thunderbolt symbol in the shape of a lightning bolt engraved in the vicinity of the sockets and ports.

Among the hard disk drives are the most widespread technology is certainly one of the hard drives (or HDDS), which provide good durability, good speed, and security in storage of data. But between the external hard disk, you can also find SSD compact with USB sockets.

To understand the difference between the two technologies, we refer you to our leaflet dedicated.

Hard Disk and SSD: the differences

D0po having seen some of the features that can have an external Hard Drive, let's see together some of the best models available on Amazon.

WD My Book

One of the best products on the market. With the external hard drive from Western Digital we can have great storage space and a built-in software to make automatic backups of both the files of the operating system (Time Machine).

Below are some of the features of the product:


WD My Cloud


A middle path between the NAS and external hard drive! With the WD My Cloud we can have an external hard drive connected via Ethernet to the LAN of the house, so you can benefit from the storage space offered on any PC, TV or TV Box.

Below are some of the features of the product:


WD My Passport


The quality of Western Digital at your fingertips. Ease of use combines a unique design and customizable (6 colors available) , high security thanks to encryption and automatic backups, thanks to WD integrated.

Below are some of the features of the product:


Maxtor External HDD

The Maxtor are good drives external hard, able to combine a good design with a low weight, and the software for automatic backup, all protected by the technology SafetyKey.

Below are some of the features of the product:


Verbatim Store ‘N’ GO

Verbatim is a well-known brand for optical discs, but that has been able to reinvent themselves in storage with the classic. In this case offers a compact solution with a USB 3.0 connection and technology, Smart Disk, for maximum performance. The hard disk can also be used on the TV compatible with the recording channels via USB.

Below are some of the features of the product:


SanDisk SSD External

In the field of the SSD can be used as external hard disks could not miss the solution offered by SanDisk. Designed to withstand the weather and stresses, allows you to save any data at a speed much greater than any mechanical disk.

Below are some of the features of the product:


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