Others use spinning platters and are a bit larger, like the LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive , but they still fit easily in a purse or even a coat pocket. Portable drives get their power from the computer to which you connect them, through the interface cable, so there's no need for a spare wall outlet. If you buy a larger desktop drive with two or more spinning platters, you'll almost certainly have the ability to configure the drive as a RAID array using included software.
Depending on which RAID level you choose, you can prioritize capacity, speed, or data redundancy, or some combination thereof. A collection of spinning drives configured with a RAID level designed for faster access can approximate the speeds of an SSD, while you should consider a drive with support for RAID levels 1, 5, or 10 if you're storing really important data that you can't afford to lose.
Hit the link above for explanation of the strengths of each RAID level. How an external drive connects to your PC or Mac is second only to the type of storage mechanism it uses in determining how fast you'll be able to access data. Unfortunately, these connection types are constantly changing, and the internet is littered with outdated references to legacy interface types such as eSATA and FireWire. Right now, the fastest mainstream connection type is Thunderbolt 3, which is handy assuming you have a newer laptop or desktop with a Thunderbolt 3 port.
All late-model Apple laptops have them, but they're much scarcer on Windows machines. As an added bonus, a desktop drive that supports Thunderbolt 3 might also come with additional DisplayPort and USB connections that allow you to use the drive box as a hub for your keyboard, mouse, monitor, and other peripherals. If you'd rather save money than time transferring your data, if you're buying a desktop drive with a single platter-based mechanism inside, or if you have a PC that lacks Thunderbolt 3, you'll want to make sure your drive has a USB connection.
Nearly every recent drive we reviewed supports USB, and the same goes for laptops and desktops.
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Not all USB ports are created equal, though. The most prevalent is the standard rectangle shape called Type-A that's been present on devices for decades. The oval-shaped Type-C connector is quickly gaining traction, though. It's capable of supporting the USB 3. Otherwise, you'll need to buy a separate cable or adapter. If you carry your drive around frequently, you'll want to pay attention to how rugged the drive is. Some models include plastic bumpers, and some even meet military standards for shock and dust protection. Look for support for specifications such as IP67 or IP And of course, if you're carrying your drive around with you, you want it to look nice.
Perhaps the only thing you don't need to pay much attention to is the warranty. If your drive breaks because you damaged it, the warranty likely won't cover it. Even if the drive fails because of a manufacturing defect, most warranties simply replace the drive and don't cover the cost of recovery services that attempt to rescue your data from the broken drive.
Also know that you can find external drives that do way more than just store your data. Some include SD card readers to offload footage from a camera or drone in the field, while others have built-in Wi-Fi and can double as an all-in-one home media server. Some of that kind even come with extra-large batteries that can charge your smartphone while you're on the go. Some are SSD-based, while others are platter. Certified waterproof and dustproof. Comes with USB 3.
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Cons: Warranty limited to two years. SSD option is still unreleased.
Pros: Comes in a variety of large capacities. Three-year warranty.
Cons: Requires external power adapter. Pros: IP68 resistance to water and dust. Highly crush-resistant chassis. Aggressive price for capacity, build. Two colors to choose between. Cons: On the heavy, bulky side for some. Only waterproof and dustproof when the USB cover is closed.
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Could use a Type-C cable. Pros: Slick, faceted design. Solid-feeling aluminum enclosure. Useful LaCie Toolkit software handles backup and restore, as well as mirroring. On-the-mark performance. Cons: A little hefty. Toolkit utility requires a download. TigerDirect Business is not responsible for typographical or photographic errors. Prices and specifications are subject to change without notice. Oversized orders that require delivery by truck do not qualify.
The transit time will vary by delivery address and our chosen ship method. Coupons are not applicable to prior orders. Coupons are subject to change without notice. One coupon redeemable per item per customer. Not redeemable for cash. Limited to stock on hand.
LaCie: Premium External Hard Drives, SSDs & RAID Solutions | LaCie US
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