Back-up Hard Drive Buyer’s Guide

Woman-celebrating-at-computerWhen shopping for a back-up hard drive for your computer, you should keep a few important things in mind. Back-up hard drives are more important than a lot of people realize. Remember, your back-up hard drive is going to store gigabyte after gigabyte of personal, private and important information. If you buy a low quality drive and it suddenly fails, you’ll likely lose all the information that was contained on it forever.

Because of this fact, you want to make sure you buy a quality product. You don’t necessarily have to get the most expensive hard drive you can find, but you should make sure that any unit you get meets a few important standards for the best performance.

Spin rate

Toshiba-Canvio-back-up-hard-driveThe first thing to look at when shopping for a back-up hard drive is the spin rate. The spin rate affects the performance of the drive, which ultimately affects how quickly your computer’s operating system will be able to access the information contained on it.

The spin rate is measured in revolutions per minute. For the sake of comparison, consider the fact that 15,000 revolutions per minute is around the spin rate that most servers use. Servers are designed to be in-use almost constantly and need to provide users with instant access to information. When buying a back-up hard drive for a home or even a business computer, a spin rate between 7,500 and 10,000 revolutions per minute should suffice.

Intended use

You’re also going to want to consider exactly what you plan on using your back-up hard drive for. The use of the drive will affect a variety of qualities, including how large your drive should be. If you want to create a back-up copy of every last bit of data on your existing hard drive, you need to buy a back-up drive that at least matches the size of your computer. If you have a 100 gigabyte hard drive installed in your computer, for example, you should buy a back-up hard drive of at least 100 gigabytes in capacity.

Internal or external?

Hard drives are either internal or external in nature. An external hard drive will rest near your computer’s case and you’ll connect the two with a high speed USB cable or some other type of data transfer cable. Internal hard drives, on the other hand, need to be installed inside the computer’s case and plug directly into the motherboard.

External hard drives are infinitely more portable, but internal hard drives are typically faster, bigger and less prone to damage. You also need to consider that if you buy an internal hard drive but don’t feel comfortable installing it yourself, you’ll have to pay someone to do it for you.

Western-Digital-Mybook-AVReputable brands

Many reputable manufacturers offer both internal and external hard drives that will meet your needs. The Toshiba Canvio 3.0 hard drive, shown above, is an external drive that offers 1.5 terabytes of storage. It has an internal shock sensor that’s designed to protect the sensitive elements inside the case in the event you should drop it. It supports USB 3.0 data transfer technology and even allows you to back up information to cloud servers.

The Western Digital My Book AV, shown at right, is another solid external hard drive that offers one terabyte of storage space. The added bonus of Western Digital’s back-up hard drive is that it’s specifically designed for audio and video files. If you’re trying to back up your movie or music collection, for example, you can do that and then connect it right to your stereo or home theater system for effortless streaming. If you’re only planning on backing up documents, however, you probably don’t want to pay extra for features you’ll never use.

If you treat buying a back-up hard drive like the important task that it is, you’ll be able to find something that’s both worth the money and gives you everything you need when it comes to data storage and protection.


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