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Buying Guide: Data Storage Devices

Your smartphone, laptop or computer is incomplete without storage devices. There are several important things that requires backup and the one thing that irks people is the low storage capacity once things start piling up. Here is a complete guide to help you buy the best storage devices according to the requirements. Let’s get started.

Data Storage Buying Guide

What is an external Data Storage device?

External storage devices are nothing but the data you have stored in these devices. You simply need to attach it to the computer and access the stored data.Some common types of external storage devices are-
A. Hard disk
B. Memory Cards
C. Pen Drives
D. CDs

Which one will be suitable for you?

Having an external storage device is of utmost importance as you don’t want to lose some crucial data that you would want to keep with yourself for lifetime. Keeping data stored in your laptop or PC is not always a good idea as you never know when it would crash! Having a regular backup will keep you stress free (especially for the employees and the corporates).For storing huge data, a hard disk comes to rescue as it not only saves money but also stores all types of data that you can access within seconds.
Take a look at the types and understand which will suit you the best-

External hard drive

External hard drives have different types and it is important to understand the types of connections and the storage capacity it offers.

A. Desktop external hard drives

We won’t go much in technical terms as it will only confuse you. Let’s get you straight to the point. These hard drives come in 3.5 inch spinning disk mechanism which is used in desktop computers and 2.5 inch hard drive which is used in laptops. Usually the 3.5 inch hard drive is cheaper than the 2.5 inch hard drive (also known as portable external hard drive).

B. Capacity

160GB to 3TB. 3TB would mean 3000GB approximately. The 3.5 inch drives have the capacity up to 4 TB.

C. Connection

The common connections to the computer are through USB 2.0 or USB 3.0.

D. Portability

Larger hard drives need a main power supply connection which makes them less portable and as a result, a less travel-friendly option. Smaller units that need only a USB connection are extremely portable.

E. Note

It can be one of the cheapest storage options. It is like a onetime buy and you are done!

Memory Card

Well, your smartphone will be useless without a memory card isn’t it? These cards offer high capacity memory in a small size. Memory cards can be used in portable devices like audio players, digital cameras, mobile phones, camcorders, etc.

A. Type of classes

The class reflects the performance of the SD card. There are four ratings that you would often see while shopping online. These are advertised as class 2, 4, 6 and 10. Hence, the card will be able to write speed of 2MB/sec, 4MB/sec, 6MB/sec or 10MB/sec respectively. 2 is the slowest whereas 10 is the fastest.

B. Class of the memory card

Your memory card comes with a class. For example if your SD card is 4GB or above, it is classed as SDHC card. These are basically between 4GB and 32GB. Now SDA (SD Card Association) has also come up with speed class ratings like class 2, 4, 6 and 10. The speed class is meant for the standardization of the data transfer speed.

C. Capacity

The recent SDHC cards come in 2GB to 32GB size. The SDXC (more recent) come in 32GB to 2TB size. Vast majority of the devices support the SDHC card whereas SDXC is newer and less common. You need to verify your device for the compatibility.

D. Note

If you are a photographer and use DSLR camera then you would definitely require a SD card that has great speed. Also if you record HD quality videos you would need a speedy SD card. Memory cards are used by everyone these days. The only thing you need to consider is storage capacity and the speed.

USB thumb drive or Flash drive

USB thumb drive or Flash drive is smaller in size and capacity. They are extremely portable and can be carried in your pocket as well.

A. Ideal for

Flash drives are ideal for backing up a small amount of data. You may only backup important data that you would need on the go.

B. Capacity

4 GB to 64 GB

C. Note

These external storage devices will cost you more. For example, you think that 8 GB flash drive will suffice. But later when you want to store more you end up buying another flash drive. You should know that there is no limit to data. It keeps on increasing and your purchase should depend on the type of data you want to store. Students who are more interested in listening to songs or backing up important projects can opt for USB thumb drive.

Solid state drives

The look and the function are similar to external hard drives but internally they are completely different. They use less power as compared to the traditional hard drives and works faster too. The better features of solid state drives make it famous among the laptop and mobile users. They are highly portable and are a viable option for data backups.

A. Capacity

64GB to 256GB.

B. Connections

USB 2.0, USB 3.0 or SATA.

C. Note

Although it is better than the traditional hard drives, it is pricey. You need shed more money if you are planning to get the solid state drives.

Optical drive (CD/DVD)

People have stopped using CDs and DVDs because they have got better options in the market. However, if you wish to store some good songs, photos or movies and give it to your friends or relatives then CD or DVD is not a bad idea. Of course, it is cheaper than any other storage device but it is not a good option if you are planning to backup data. They have a shorter life span and are pretty slow.

There are basically two types of CDs. One is the CD-R and the other is the CD-RW. CD-R means that you can only burn the data only once. You cannot physically delete data. CD-RW means that you can not only add data, but also delete the data on the disc in case you want to put different contents.

A. CD Capacity

650MB to 900MB.

B. DVD Capacity

4.7GB to 17.08GB..

Table for interface and transfer rate

The following summary will help you understand the various hard drive interfaces and maximum data transfer rates-

The trend about OTG Flash Drive with micro usb connector

This is probably the recent trends that most of the people are using. These provide additional storage for Android OTG mobile devices. You can easily backup files, videos and photos and share with other mobile devices.

These are absolutely small and lightweight which makes it portable. The best part is that it works like a standard USB flash drive. It is a very convenient way to share large files between mobile devices. Hence, you do not require any online cloud services.

The USB OTG flash drives are compatible with most of the smartphones and tablets. Also, they are pretty affordable.

People who usually complain about the struggle of transferring data quickly can opt for OTG flash drive with micro usb connector.

An external hard drive compatible with both windows and mac?

So, here is a catch. Windows computers won’t read Apple’s HFS+ file system. Also, Mac won’t read Microsoft’s NTFS format. However, both types will be able to read exFAT file system.

In case you want a hard drive to be compatible with both Windows and Mac then you need to format it in the exFAT file system.All you have to do is select the exFAT option from the drop down menu when formatting the drive. This will make the external hard drive compatible with both Mac and Windows.

What is exactly exFAT?

exFAT format is designed for memory cards, flash drives, and external hard drives. This format helps you to add support from Microsoft’s FAT32 format. You only need to do minimal adjustments.

exFAT has also been adopted by the SD Card Association which has made it a default file system for the SDXC Cards which have a memory capacity over 32GB.

It is important to back up the data on the external hard drive before you start formatting. If you format your hard drive then you will lose all the data that you have stored in.

Top Brands
  • Sandisk Storage Devices
  • HP Storage Devices