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External Hard Drive

Discover the convenience of firewire hard drives

These days, many people store an immense amount of data on their computers. From word processing documents to photographs to video, this data needs a safe and secure place to reside. While an internal hard drive usually has more than enough space for the average user, some people need larger drives to either store more data or to back up their important files. This is where the external hard drive comes in.

An external hard drive is very similar to your regular hard drive, except that it is connected to your computer by cables. There are many different types of external hard drives; some are no larger than a standard envelope, and others are much bigger.

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USB External Hard Drives

The first type of device you might consider is a USB hard drive. USB stands for "universal serial bus," and refers to the method in which the hard drive is connected to your computer. A USB connection facilitates data transfer through plug-and-play applications.

A USB external hard drive can range in price from under $100 to more than $500, depending on the amount of data it can hold and the data transfer rate. For example, there are now USB hard drives available that can hold upwards of 1 TB of information.

Since a USB external hard drive is plug-and-play, you can connect it to your computer and the machine will immediately recognize it. This makes the USB devices a convenient and easy way to store information, and to transfer media from one device to another.

FireWire Hard Drives

Another type of external hard drive is the FireWire external hard drive, which is much faster than its USB counterpart and is growing in popularity. They are backwards compatible and are often considered preferable to USB. FireWire external hard drives can transfer data at speeds up to 800 Mbps, though improvements are made every day. They offer a significant advantage over USB because more devices can be routed through the same hub, offering greater convenience to consumers.

Of course, if your media storage needs aren't excessive or if you don't require high data transfer speeds, you might want to stick with the traditional external SCSI hard drive. This device can connect only 16 or so devices at a time and is far slower than USB or FireWire external hard drives.

Written by Steve Thompson