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It is of utmost importance to store the digital information for future use. The best external hard drive ensures that your data is secure. An internal hard drive is already there in your computer, so you might want an external storage to increase the capacity for accumulating more data or creating a backup to safeguard against data loss.

External hard drives have various interfaces through which they connect to the systems or other devices. USB, FireWire, Gigabit Ethernet and eSATA are some of the interfaces found in the topmost external hard drives. Available in form factors 2.5 inch and 3.5 inch these external hard drives are storage devices to laptops and desktops.

Before buying an external hard drive you may consider some points like what sort of data you need to store in it and the speed with which you want the data transfer between a hard drive and the system. Once you decide the type and speed of data, it is time to look at the specification of these hard drives. We discuss each of these in the upcoming section.

Capacity:
Depending on user to user, the capacity of the hard drive may vary. It may be that you just want to backup your files and store documents to an external hard drive; in this case capacity of 500GB is sufficient. If you want more space for storing your photos and videos, 2TB external hard drive would solve the purpose.

Speed:
Spindle speed and data transfer speed of an external hard drive are responsible for its performance; it depends on how fast the spindle rotates to access the data from the disk platters. It is good to go for a spindle speed of 5400 RPM or more. For video editing this speed works well while for gaming the topmost external hard drives have a spindle speed of 7200 RPM.

Transfer speed determines how fast the data is taken from the system to the external hard drive or vice versa. The most popular interface in the top rated external hard drives is USB 3.0 which allows a data speed up to 5Gbps. eSATA and FireWire 800 interfaces also offer good data transfer speeds.

Buffer Size:
Cache buffer of the hard drive helps in faster retrieval of already accessed data. A buffer size of 8MB or more would be good for the external drive to get the data faster.

Compatibility and Warranty:
Its is necessary to ensure that your external hard drive is supported by the platform on which you want to work. The major interface USB 3.0 is backward compatible with the previous generation USB 2.0. Hard drives with the newest Thunderbolt interface work with Windows on driver installation.

The top-ranked external hard drive cover a warranty period of 3 to 5 years. So, you can choose an external hard drive promising more years of operation without trouble.

Western Digital, Toshiba, Seagate, LaCie and G-Technology are the leading external hard drive brands. Considering the opinions of the expert reviews from around the web, we present here our listing of the best external hard drive.

Browse All Top External Hard Drives »

WesternDigital My Book 4TB

WD My Book 4TB External Hard Drive Storage


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WD My Book 4TB
WD My Passport for Mac
Seagate Wireless Plus 1 TB (STCK1000100)
Toshiba Canvio Slim
Kingston Digital Wi-Drive WID/128GB-A
WD My Book 4TB External Hard Drive Storage
WD My Passport for Mac 1TB  USB 3.0
Seagate Wireless Plus 1 TB Built-In Wi-Fi Streaming (STCK1000100)
Toshiba Canvio Slim Portable Hard Drive 500GB
Kingston Digital Wi-Drive 128 GB Pocket-Sized Portable Storage (WID/128GB-A)
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Release Date
Oct 2012
Aug 2012
Jan 2013
Sep 2012
Dec 2012
Enclosure
External
External
External
External
External
Capacity
4096.0 GB
1024.0 GB
1024.0 GB
500.0 GB
128.0 GB
Designation
Desktop Computer, Laptop Computer
Desktop Computer, Laptop Computer
Desktop Computer
Desktop Computer, Laptop Computer
Desktop Computer, Laptop Computer
HDD Form Factor
3.5'
3.5"
Interface
USB, Serial ATA, FireWire
USB 3.0 and USB 2.0
Serial ATA
USB
USB 2.0
Spindle Speed
7200.0 RPM
7200.0 RPM
7200.0 RPM
5400.0 RPM

  • The WD My Book (4TB) desktop-class external hard drive is a basic, large-capacity drive. It's what you need if you're a compulsive video downloader, photograph everything you do, or need to keep every MP3 you own in one place.


  • Western Digital's 4TB My Book World Edition II NAS device is an easy and reasonably cheap way to store large amounts of data in a central location. Its overall performance is slow, but for tasks where speed isn't critical this NAS device is a decent choice.

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    Western Digital's 4TB My Book World Edition II NAS device is an easy and reasonably cheap way to store large amounts of data in a central location. Its overall performance is slow, but for tasks where speed isn't critical this NAS device is a decent choice.


  • The WD My Passport Portable makes an excellent portable drive for use with both desktop and laptop computers, at home or while on the road.


  • The market is pretty saturated with USB-only drives from a variety of manufacturers. Price per gigabyte and speed have become paramount concerns, and the only technical way to compare the contenders. The My Passport for Mac stacks up well against competing drives, producing some of the best times we've seen in a USB-only drive. It has comparatively strong pricing (though it's by no means the cheapest on the market), and it has a solid warranty behind it.


  • The Western Digital My Passport offers a spacious hard drive for casual Mac users who simply want to back their data up, but there are faster drives with faster connections available.

  • Rating Unavailable

    If you have a digital library that's larger than the capacity of your tablet and want to bring it all with you on the go, the Wireless Plus is arguably the best choice on the market.


  • If you have a digital library that's larger than the capacity of your tablet and want to bring it all with you on the go, the Wireless Plus is arguably the best choice on the market.