External HDD - Portable or not?

Toshiba 640gb usb 2.0 portable external...
January 26, 2010 at 12:15:51
Specs: Windows 7
Hi, I'm looking to purchase an external hard drive mostly for holding music and DVD's, and other media like that. My question is, should I be looking at larger, more permanent HDD's or the smaller, Free Agent portable ones?

Will there be a speed difference, noticeable during playback if I am streaming DVD's from a portable drive? Most of them connect using only a single USB 2.0 connection, where as most of the larger ones have their own PSU.

Here are the two I am primarily looking at:



"When life takes a s--- on you, it's time to wipe and move on." -ZK

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January 26, 2010 at 12:58:57
I would recommend that you build your own. Buy a GOOD enclosure with a fan and then buy whatever size HDrive you want and install the HDrive.

You will end up with a unit that you can open without voiding warranties and probably with a better hard drive. Although the first link you provide is from a known brand the unit is geared toward backups and as such there is backup software pre-installed. Also has no fan. Fanless enclosures are OK for intermittent use. If you intend to keep it connected and running all the time then get one with a fan.

What will you do to back up all the files you store on there? Consider getting a unit that can hold two drives for redundancy.

The link below is one example of what I am suggesting.

Another point to mention is that if your motherboard has an eSATA port that is much faster than USB or firewire.

The second drive you linked is re-certified. Why do you think that is? Those drives do not last past the warranty period.

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January 26, 2010 at 13:26:56
You should get the ones with a power supply. Only slower laptop drives(found in the smaller portable units) can run off a usb power. Portable is kind of relative. They are not that big and can be moved around.

They make good backup up devices but as with all this junk, can fail. Might consider using your computer for files and use the usb for backup in compressed form.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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January 26, 2010 at 13:59:54
The drives which need only a usb connection are classed as portable because they can be used "on the move" with a laptop, provided the battery is well-charged. A good thing to have if only to hold a disk-image to restore the OS.

They do not spin all the time they are plugged in. The internal circuitry puts the disk in 'standby' if no data is being transferred to/from it (it does on my Seagate portable anyhow), so longevity is no worse than one which is mains powered.

However, it is true that a usb-powered drive may not work on a system where lots of other usb devices are attached. Mine won't work on my desktop PC for that reason, but on my laptop it works faultlessly.

It really comes down to whether you want or need true portability when deciding on either a compact portable one or something larger and mains-powered that will work on any PC no matter how many usb devices are attached to it.

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January 26, 2010 at 14:25:37
...where as most of the larger ones have their own PSU

Just a friendly correction ...

The larger ones doesn't have their own PSU. They are powered by AC adapters.


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January 26, 2010 at 14:27:04
By the way I totally agree with the USB connection scenarios summarized by pip22. I have seen it happening on many machines running all types of Windows.


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January 30, 2010 at 18:17:54
Thanks for the feedback everyone!

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