What size external drive?

A reader asked the Answer Line forum what size external hard drive he should buy for backup.

When people talk about the "size" of a hard drive, they generally mean it's capacity — how many gigabytes of data it holds. But you should also consider its literal, physical size.

External hard drives come in two basic sizes: portable and desktop. Portable drives are light, generally the size of a small whiskey flask, and can be powered by the computer's USB port. Desktop drives are larger, inconvenient to carry, and need separate AC power.

On the other hand, desktop drives tend to be faster, hold more data, and cost less by the gigabyte if not by the drive. For instance, as I write this, $100 can buy you a 500GB portable drive or a 1TB desktop one.

If you want to take the drive with you on the road, go for a portable. If you want to back up massive amounts of hi-def video, you'll want a desktop. Otherwise, weigh the factors and consider your needs. Personally, I prefer portable drives for backup, even if I don't travel with them, because I can hide them after backing up and lesson the likelihood that a burglar will take my PC and my backup.

Now then, about capacity: Go with the drive that holds about 25-percent more than the source drive you'll be backing up from. This will allow you to do a full backup and many incrementals.

See the original discussion at http://forums.pcworld.com/message/232159.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags storage

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lincoln Spector

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?