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So how do external hard drives work?

Like... are they like SD cards and USB flash drives where you just store files on it and then can just view them from any device you plug them into? The thing is I need a LOT of storage. Like 2TB. But I’m having a hard time finding any flashes or sd’s that hold that much and these external hard drives keep popping up. I need something I can keep files on like media and stuff and view from two different laptops one at home and one at work.

3 Answers

  • -
    Lv 5
    9 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    For storage of media, photos and documents, a 2TB external USB hard-drive/HDD is the most cost-effective one, compared to the same-capacity USB flash-drive or SD card. You do not need the more expensive external USB SSD for mere storage of media/files. SSDs is more optimum and cost-effective for running an OS, eg Windows.

    Wrt data transfer speed, USB 3.0/blue at 5Gbps should be fast enough, eg it will take only about 20 seconds to transfer a 2GB movie/720p file from a laptop to the 2TB external USB 3.0 hard-drive.

    USB 2.0 = 10X slower at about 480Mbps or 0.5Gbps = will take about 200 seconds or 3+ minutes to transfer the same 2GB movie file.

    USB-C = 10Gbps = 2X faster than USB 3.0.

    There should be no problem playing the movie from the external USB hard-drive, even if using USB 2.0.



    P S - I am running Linux Mint from a 160GB external USB 2.0 hard-drive via my old BIOS Win 7 laptop, ie a desktop Linux OS can be installed on an external USB hard-drive and run as a dual-boot.

    ....... I used a second-hand 160GB 2.5" internal laptop hard-drive and put it into an external USB 2.0 hard-drive enclosure. Cost me about US$30.


    • Matthew9 months agoReport

      You’re a life savor thank you so much!

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  • 9 months ago

    Unless they are SSD's, they are regular HD's.

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  • 9 months ago

    2 TB is going to be difficult - I assume you already know it's going to be expensive :-)

    In principle, an external drive (SSD or HDD) works like a USB stick or SD. You plug it in an access it. Theproblems that might show up:

    - access speed. You'll definitely want a high speed USB port both on your PCs and the external drive (no matter whether stick, SD card or external drive)

    - power consumption. Goes, for a part, together with access speed. Those large devices, especially if they're mechanical (HDD) need more power than at least USB 2.x ports can provide. A cheap and unreliable workaround was to provide them with dual USB connectors, which really is not a solution

    Another option might be a cloud based (or otherwise online accessible) storage system. For example, at least in theory, my NAS at home comes with a software that lets me access my NAS' contents from anywhere (haven't tried that yet, but plan to try it for my music collection). Or yu could rent online storage space from any number of cloud service providers.

    If online is not an option for you, I'd suggest you get an external SSD with a USB C connection.

    • Matthew9 months agoReport

      Well ok they’re gonna be expensive I’m ok with that, and I’m not super concerned with speed either, ya know as long as it doesn’t take like super long time to do stuff on it I’m ok with that, and I don’t really trust the cloud so. I just don’t much about this stuff

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