External Hard Disk, SSD and NAS Drives

The latest USB 3.0 and Wi-Fi HDD and SSD external drives

The latest external hard drives are relatively small and even the cheapest models have huge capacities. Most of them could be used as portable drives, but special even smaller portable drives are available. All of the major hard-drive manufacturers produce external drives for desktop and laptop PCs and also make smaller portable drives – Seagate, Samsung, Western Digital, Toshiba. Transcend and LaCie and other manufacturers specialise in portable external drives.

The latest models provide a USB 3.0 cable and provide both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. The user usually has to provide a USB 2.0 cable in order to be able to use that version of USB. The installation is very simple. Just plug the USB cable of your choice into the computer and into the drive. Most external drives come with good backup and backup-encryption software.

The following video shows the USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports on a 1TB Toshiba drive, priced at around £40 in July 2015. Since that video was made, the data capacities if the Canvio models have increased to a huge 3TB, priced at around £160 in July 2015, and the capacities will no doubt continue to increase, since 10TB internal hard disk drives are available, the capacities of which are themselves constantly increasing. The latest 1TB and 2TB drives are very reasonably priced. The Canvio drive, unboxed in the video shown below, provides file-and-folder and full system backup software that can also encrypt the backups for additional security.

3TB Toshiba Canvio Usk 3.0 External Hard Drive Unboxing and Benchmarking –

USB 3.0, also known as SuperSpeed USB, has a maximum data transfer speed ten times faster than that of USB 2.0. Note that although USB 3.0 has the potential to be ten times faster than USB 2.0, the best USB 3.0 external hard drives are currently only up to four times faster than USB 2.0 models, because theoretical data transfer speeds are never attained in practice.

An eSATA connection is slightly slower than a USB 3.0 connection, but not many desktop and even fewer laptop motherboards provide an eSATA port. The cheapest way to add eSATA to a desktop PC is to buy an eSATA bracket, which is connected to an SATA port on the motherboard, which provides the external port at tye back of the case. Adapter cards are also available that can add eSATA connectivity, but it is not worth the extra expense involved given that most new desktop and laptop PC now provide USB 3.0 connectivity, albeit you will probably have to install the driver from the driver disc that came with the computer or USB 3.0 adapter, because only Windows 8.0/8.1 and Windows 10 support it natively, which means that earlier versions of Windows require the driver to be installed instead of Windows recognising the device and installing it automatically.  Moreover, the maximum cable length of USB 3.0 exceeds that of eSATA.

The Intel Thunderbolt alternative interface to USB 3.0

Note that Intel’s Thunderbolt interface is gaining ground due to having the potential to be twice as fast as USB 3.0. It is currently only found on Apple Macs and some Intel desktop-PC motherboards.

Thunderbolt (interface) –


Page 4External SSD drives