When the first external hard drive first hit the market, it was large, clunky, slow and very expensive. Like most aspects of the world of computer technology, however, the prices of these external hard drives have steadily fallen, even as the speed, reliability and storage capacity has increased so greatly. While the storage capacity of the first external hard drives was measured in mere megabytes, today most external hard drives are capable of holding hundreds of gigabytes worth of data.
There are a number of reasons why a computer owner would opt to buy an external hard drive instead of installing a secondary hard drive inside the computer case. One of the most significant benefits, of course, is that of convenience and simplicity. After all, many computer users are simply not comfortable opening the cases of their computer and installing additional hardware. When you opt for an external rather than an internal hard drive you do not need to crack the case; you simply need to plug it in and go. Another great benefit of an external hard drive is its portability.
Unlike internal hard drives, external hard drives can be moved from computer to computer in a matter of minutes, simply by unplugging them from one computer and plugging them into another. For this reason, external hard drives are often used in the business world, especially by traveling employees. Traveling employees can instantly sync up the data on an external hard drive with that on their desktop or laptop PC, and then easily transport that data anywhere in the world. There are a number of things to consider when buying a new external hard drive, whether the drive is to be used for business or personal purposes. One consideration, of course, is that of price.
While there used to be a huge price differential between internal and external hard drives, with external hard drives costing far more than internal had drives, these days the difference in price has dropped significantly, making an external harddrive a more realistic choice for more and more people. Storage capacity, of course, is important as well. As with any type of hard drive, it is best to buy as large an external hard drive as you can afford. Even if you do not think you will ever need all those gigabytes of storage, it never hurts to have it available, and the price differential between large drives and smaller ones is generally quite low. It is also important to look at the speed of the hard drive you are considering.
The speed of the external hard drive will be expressed in RPMs, and the higher this number the faster the drive will be. In addition, you will see an average seek time number, expressed in milliseconds. The lower this number, the faster the drive should run, and this is an important consideration, especially for business users.