Today’s hard drives are bigger and cheaper than before, and if you’re looking for some extra physical storage for your precious data, you don’t have to look far to find a good inexpensive external hard drive that Will meet your needs – without drying out your bank account.
Below, we have a wide selection of the cheapest external hard drive deals available from various online retailers. Whether you’re after a portable SSD to go or a desktop HDD to back up terabytes of data, these external hard drive deals have something to meet almost any storage need:
Today is the best external hard drive deal
- Maxon 500GB Ultra Slim External Hard Drive – $ 37Was $ 47
- Western Digital Element 2TB Portable Hard Drive – $ 60, Was $ 130
- Silicon Power Rugged Armor 2TB Portable Hard Drive – $ 68, Was $ 135
- Western Digital Element 5TB Portable External Hard Drive – $ 110, Was $ 130
- Western Digital My Book 10TB External Hard Drive – $ 200Was $ 300
- Western Digital Easy 14TB External Hard Drive – $ 260Was $ 310
How to choose an external hard drive
The first two steps of choosing an external hard drive determine your budget and determine what size you need. As cheap as per gigabyte in 2020, the classic trade-off of portability versus hard drive size still holds up; Basically, your primary consideration is storage space or physical size? If your external hard drive is for home and office use at the same workstation and will sit more or less in one location, storage space is more valuable than mobility. If, on the other hand, you are often paired data from one PC to another, then a portable hard drive may be a better option, even if you are sacrificing some storage space for a smaller footprint.
Exactly what you are using your hard drive for will also be a factor in your purchase decision. This is simple if your external HDD or SSD is for file storage only, but if you are going to read and write to your external storage on a regular basis (for example, instead of automatically editing video from the drive on the computer System drive), you want to make sure that you get something that has good read and write speeds and that uses up-to-date connectivity standards like USB 3.0. For more information about external hard drive design and features, read When to decide your purchase.
HDD vs SSD
Storage drives mostly fall into two main categories: traditional hard drives, or HDDs and solid state drives, or SSDs. Most recent hard drives were mechanical HDDs. Inside these are moving disks (called plotters), where the data itself is written and read. These traditional hard drives have largely fallen out of favor for use as system drives, but their large capacity and very affordable per-gigabyte cost mean that they are still a very popular option for external storage usage. Huh.
In recent years we have seen solid state drive revolution. These drives are basically a type of flash memory, where data is written to the chips instead of magnetic stripes – this means there is no moving part, which means faster read / write speeds and more. Only (in principle) increase long-term reliability. However, these drives are typically much smaller and significantly more expensive per gigabyte than HDDs; The trade-off is that they are what you usually find when looking for portable external hard drives that are small enough to carry in your pocket.
There are also hybrid hard drives, sometimes called SSHDs. These hybrid drives are essentially HDDs that feature built-in flash storage (typically a fairly small amount), where your most-used files are stored and read, allowing for greater accountability of SSDs. HDD combines with large storage capacity. These can be worth the price if you need increased storage of HDDs, but expect external drives to actively read and write.
Are all external hard drives SSDs?
Pretty much any hard drive can be used as a suitable enclosure as an external drive, and these are available as both SSDs and HDDs. Although SSDs are quickly replacing HDDs for use as internal system drives (the hard drive inside your PC, where your operating system and other software is installed), HDDs still remain extremely popular for external use Because they are very high, very cheap per gigabyte and thus give you a lot of storage capacity for your dollar.
Are external hard drives reliable?
An external hard drive is simply any HDD or SSD – similar to that found in laptop and desktop PCs – inside an external enclosure. This enclosure provides some means of connecting the hard drive to your computer or another device, usually a USB port, and may (depending on its size) be some kind of power adapter. This means that an external hard drive will be as reliable as any internal hard drive, as long as it comes from a reputable manufacturer. Stay with proven manufacturers such as Western Digital, Seagate, SanDisk, Samsung, and Kingston, and your data should be in safe water.
Are external hard drives fast?
Read and write speeds are a very important thing to consider (the speed with which data is downloaded and uploaded to the hard drive), but it is less than the potential damage done in the past. Even traditional rotary hard drives (HDDs) today offer very solid read / write speeds with 7,200rpm being the standard. Be sure to double check it and avoid using the old 5,400rpm standard anyway, although these are less common now. Solid-state drives naturally provide the best read / write speeds, but, as noted above, provide the least value per gigabyte.
Also, do not ignore the connection speed. The fastest read / write speeds will be the bottleneck when transferring data over a connection using an older standard such as USB 2.0. Make sure that your external hard drive uses at least USB 3.0 (which is about ten times faster than USB 2.0 by comparison).
Does the external hard drive require power?
Hard drives are electronic devices that require power from an external source, but this is not to say that all external hard drives have to be plugged into a wall. Most can usually draw enough power over the same USB connection they use to transfer data, but larger HDDs may require an external AC adapter that will come with a hard drive. This is not a very big problem for most, but if the power outlets are prime real estate where you are going to install your drive, then be aware of it.
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