Buying an external drive is a great idea if you’re in need of data backup or just a little bit of extra storage space.
And as hard drives get less and less expensive to make, frugal shoppers will be happy to note that many major hard drive companies have very attractive pricing on some of their external devices. Here’s a list of five great drives from major companies (which are, at least in the hard drive industry, much less likely to put out a substandard product) available online and in stores for decent prices.
1. Western Digital MyBook Essential Series – Western Digital Mybook drives range in size all the way to 2 terabytes, and they’re not too bulky or cumbersome, either. Pricing goes as high as $800 for the 2 terabyte model, but the entire line has quite a few smaller drives that fit well within the “value” shopper’s price budget.
Try the MyBook Essential 750GB model, for only $269 list–it doesn’t have Firewire support, but at that size and price, it’s an incredible bargain.
2. Maxtor OneTouch Series – The hard drive that pioneered the idea of a “backup button,” the Maxtor OneTouch series is still pushing the boundaries in the hard-drive-for-backup department. They still ship with backup software, and they’ve still got the cool little button you can press to instantly start backing up your computer, but their sizes are bigger and they’ve got models for all types of users.
My pick of the litter is the Maxtor OneTouch III, 300GB, USB style. Price is about $140 retail for that model.
3. Seagate FreeAgent – Seagate is well known for its super quiet drives. Their FreeAgent series brings this to the world of external hard drives, and spins at a clean 7200RPM with sizes up to. It takes up “less room than a stapler” (that’s assumed to be desk space, if not placed horizontally) and has an exceptionally long projected life (as many Seagate hard drives do).
The FreeAgent Pro 500GB, which has both USB and Firewire connections, goes for only $219 list price.
4. Western Digital Passport Series – Maybe you don’t need a whole lot of storage space–maybe you just need a little drive to take back and forth between work and home, or something that takes up as little desktop space as possible.
The Western Digital Passport series has the best physically-small hard drives in the world right now, with sizes ranging up to 250GB and a very small chassis that takes up about as much desktop space as a note card. They also come with WDSync backup software, which, despite its “meh” interface, has pretty decent backup power.
The biggest model at 250GB costs about $200.
5. Toshiba 200GB External Drive – Despite the lack of a flashy name, this workhorse pocket-sized drive holds 200GB of information and conveniently fits just about anywhere. Toshiba is known for high quality internal hard drives, and the included recovery software, while not extensive, is pleasantly workable. Not bad for $230 list.
Any of these drives can be found for cheaper on the Internet–look for rebates, and always buy from known websites so you can make sure you don’t get a used model.