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USB (Universal Serial Bus) hard drives are of external type and can be connected to systems to avail larger storage space and back up internal hard drives to avoid any data loss. Due to portability and ease with which these USB hard drives can be attached to the computer, we can move large files between devices at our convenience. Most of these cheap USB hard drives are pluggable without any need for driver installation.

Seagate, Western Digital, LaCie and Toshiba are some of the brands which offer the best USB hard drives. The important specifications to look for while buying the most suitable USB hard drive are its form factor, capacity, spindle speed, buffer size and supported platforms. We discuss each of these briefly here.

Form factor:

  • The topmost external hard drives having USB interfaces are used in laptops as well as desktops. For better portability, 2.5 inch hard drives for laptops would be good to opt for. These hard drives could be ideal for traveling due to their ability to withstand shocks or jerks, low power consumption and less heat generation.
  • If you want larger storage space, you might need 3.5 inch hard drives which are used mostly in desktops, servers and workstations. However, these USB hard drives might not allow portability.

Capacity:
USB hard drives which scored high to make it to our listing have at least 500GB of capacity. This much of storage is enough for storing your documents, music, photos and videos safely in one place. Besides, you can choose these USB hard drives according to the capacities you need. For example, servers for small business might require larger storage capacities of 1TB or more in order to store vast amount of data and programs.

Spindle speed:
Spindle speed is responsible for the performance of a hard drive. USB hard drives should have high spindle speed so that less time is taken for accessing the data stored, thereby increasing the performance. The USB hard drives would work better with 5400 RPM spindle speed.

Buffer size:
It is important to consider the buffer size in these USB hard drives. More the cache size, faster is the data retrieval. Buffers of 8MB or more are required for better performance.

Compatibility and Warranty:
Other important aspects to consider while buying a USB hard drive are the supported operating systems and the warranty period.

  • USB 3.0 is faster and backward compatible with USB 2.0, which means USB 2.0 hard drives can be connected to computers having USB 3.0 ports.
  • Furthermore, there should be 3 to 5 years of warranty period provided with the highly ranked USB hard drives.

In order to help you choose the right storage device, we present here our listing of the best USB hard drives based on the opinions of major review sites across the web.

Browse All Top USB Hard Drives »

WesternDigital My Book 4TB

WD My Book 4TB External Hard Drive Storage


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WD My Book 4TB
WD My Book Studio Mac
Toshiba Canvio Slim
G-Technology G-DRIVE mini
Toshiba Canvio Desk
WD My Book 4TB External Hard Drive Storage
WD My Book Studio 4TB Mac External Hard Drive Storage USB 3.0
Toshiba Canvio Slim Portable Hard Drive 500GB
G-Technology G-DRIVE mini 1TB 0G02576
Toshiba Canvio Desk 2TB External Hard Drive HDWC120XK3J1
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Release Date
Oct 2012
Oct 2012
Sep 2012
Oct 2012
Oct 2012
Interface
USB, Serial ATA, FireWire
USB
USB
USB, FireWire
USB
Capacity
4096.0 GB
4096.0 GB
500.0 GB
1024.0 GB
2048.0 GB
Designation
Desktop Computer, Laptop Computer
Desktop Computer, Laptop Computer, Tower & Drive Cases
Desktop Computer, Laptop Computer
Desktop Computer, Laptop Computer
Desktop Computer, Laptop Computer
Enclosure
External
Plug-In Module
External
External
External
HDD Form Factor
3.5'
3.5"
Spindle Speed
7200.0 RPM
5400.0 RPM
7200.0 RPM
5700.0 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.

  • Rating Unavailable

    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.

  • Rating Unavailable

    Compact and light enough to easily fit in a backpack or briefcase, Western Digitalâ?? s My Book Studio external hard drive is a cute little bugger. Designed to resemble a book, the 6.5-inch tall drive stands upright, and you have the option of digitally labeling your drive (with 12 characters or less) so itâ?? ll read like a title on the binding a book.

    Designed specifically for a Mac, this plug-in-and-go drive is compatible with Appleâ??


  • For the Mac user who requires copious storage but not the mirroring capability of the Studio II, the Western Digital My Book Studio (2TB) makes a good Time Machine or working storage drive.


  • Western Digital's My Book Studio Edition is quite possibly the sexiest external hard drive we've seen, if we're allowed to call external hard drives that. The powdered silver casing is one of luxury, a single stretched ovoid line lit by white LEDs calmly and serenely tracks back and forth when it's in use.


  • Unless you are using a Mac with a FireWire 800 port, G-Tech's G-Drive mini Triple portable hard drive holds little appeal.


  • The G-Drive mini is a portable drive that offers connectivity flexibility. And if you need zippy data transfers, the G-Drive mini is an ideal choice.

  • Rating Unavailable

    The G-DRIVE Mini from G-Technologies (Hitachi) is a nice addition to any notebook computer needing extra or backup storage although more so for Mac users than PC users with the FireWire 800 interface being the best option for data speeds.