Buy an External Hard Disk Drive to Store Your Music and Videos

Views 1 Like Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful
Buy an External Hard Disk Drive to Store Your Music and Video Collections

The storage space on your laptop or desktop computer is limited to the size of its hard drive, so you probably cannot store all of your music and video collections on it, along with applications and other data that you may have. Moreover, the internal hard drive of any computer may break, causing you to lose precious data. Therefore, you should back up your extensive collections and other important data on an external hard disk drive. External drives are available with various capacities, and you should easily be able to find one that can store all your collections. Back up your files every now and then to ensure that you always have them at hand when you need them.

When looking for an external hard disk drive, you should pay attention not only to its capacity, but to its other features, such as spindle speed. By knowing the features precisely, you can make the best choice from available options. You can buy external hard disk drives from high street electronics shops and bigger supermarkets, and you may also find one on an online auction site, such as eBay.

Types of External Hard Disk Drives

By and large, external hard disk drives can be divided into two types. These types differ in terms of the way they are used, and are desktop and portable drives, respectively.

Desktop External Hard Disk Drives

A desktop external hard disk drive is designed for home or office use. These drives usually require a power adapter, and therefore you also need to have a power outlet close by. Choose a desktop drive for your collection if you mainly use it for backing up your collections and do not need to take them with you when out and about.

Portable External Hard Disk Drives

Portable external hard disk drives are smaller in size than desktop external hard disk drives, but their capacity is still substantial, ranging from 500 GB to 4 TB. The main advantage of a portable drive is that you can take it virtually anywhere. For instance, you can take your favourite music and videos with you when going abroad. Generally, portable drives are powered via the USB port, and therefore require no power outlets. This makes them easy to use on the go. The drives may also be powered by an internal battery that can last about 10 hours. Some come with special mobile applications that allow you to quickly transfer content to and from your tablet or smartphone.

Features of External Hard Disk Drives

Besides considering the types of external hard disk drives, there are some features to look for if you want a drive that offers you great performance. These include storage capacity, form factor, ventilation system, ease of use, security, compatibility, spindle speed, and transfer speed.

Storage Capacity

The more data the external hard disk drive stores, the more expensive it is. However, do not be frightened by higher prices, because it is better to have some extra space available than to be short of space. High-resolution videos and photos, PC games, and other documents require lots of capacity, and the sizes of files may become larger in the future. To ensure that you can keep up with modern technology, you should buy a drive with at least 1 TB of free space. In fact, some purchase options include more than one internal hard drive, resulting in more storage space.

Form Factor

The form factor refers to the external hard drive's size, and it is determined by the type of hard drive used inside the external drive. External hard disk drives may be equipped either with notebook or internal hard drives, with notebook drives being smaller. The inner drive may measure 0.85, 1, 1.8, 2.5, or 3.5 inches in diameter. The smaller the form factor, the easier it is to carry the drive with you anywhere.

Ventilation System

The ventilation system is important to consider when you buy an external desktop hard disk drive. The drive may heat up during the transfer process, and therefore needs to be cooled with an integrated fan. Although some desktop hard drives come without a fan, you should consider getting one with a fan if you intend to use it often and transfer large files.


If you plan to use the external hard drive for transferring files to and from different computers, you may require a drive that supports both the Mac and PC platforms. If you can format the drive both in FAT and FAT32, it is compatible with both platforms. "FAT" refers to "File Allocation Table" and this system keeps track of all your files and also helps them to be found on the disk, even if files becomes fragmented. FAT32 is a slightly more advanced system that uses more bits when identifying clusters on the disk. FAT32 supports up to 2 TB of disk storage.

Ease of Use

A good external hard disk drive is easy to use and does not require that you consult a manual each time you operate it. Transferring and accessing your media collections should be simple. Plug-and-play devices are probably the simplest because they require no additional software to be installed. Although software may be needed for security features, you should opt for an interface that does not look too difficult to manage. Many external hard drives are also hot-pluggable, so you can connect and disconnect them while your computer is working.


If your music and video collections are very valuable, you may want a drive with advanced security features, in order to keep your files safe. These security features include automatic backup and password protection. Hardware encryption and built-in diagnostics can further help to protect your collections. Models with physical locks are also available, and if they are operated without the designated key, the exterior of the drive is damaged. You need a secure drive if you are using it for business purposes, for instance, if you work in the music or film industry.

Transfer Speed

The faster the external hard disk drive can transfer content, the better, because this helps you to save time when creating backups. With large files, the copying may take quite a long time, so faster drives are useful. The interfaces used on external hard disk drives are either USB, IEEE 1394a, or IEEE 1394b, although some drives also use SATA or SCSI. The USB 3.0 interface is the fastest option because it also provides high bandwidths.

Spindle Speed

Spindle speed refers to the speed at which the motor and platters inside the hard disk drive spin. The spindle speed is measured in rotations per minute (rpm). The faster the drive is, the better the performance of the drive. External hard disk drives have average spindle speeds ranging from 3,600 to 10,000 rpm.


Cache refers to the auxiliary memory from which high-speed random access memory (RAM) can be retrieved. The cache is also a buffer between the hard drive and the rest of the system. The bigger the cache, the faster the hard drive. Cache is measured in MB. Generally, drives with a larger form factor have a larger cache.

Form Factor and Other Specifications

The size of the external hard disk drive influences its capacity as well as its performance. The following chart how these specifications are related to each other.

Form Factor (inches)

Maximum Capacity (GB)

Spindle Speed (rpm)

Cache (MB)



3,600 or 4,200








4,200 or 5,400

2, 8, or 16


Over 1,000 (1TB)

5,400, 7,200, or 10,000

2, 4, 8, or 16

As you can see, bigger form factors provide better performance. If you are looking for a powerful hard drive, then you should choose a model with a larger form factor. These are commonly desktop hard drives..

Buying External Hard Disk Drives on eBay

When looking for external hard disk drives on eBay, you can either start with a general search or a specific one. General search terms might be "external hard disk drive", while more specific keywords may include the form factor, brand, capacity, or connectivity type. The storage capacity is probably the most common feature listed for hard drives. Once you receive the initial search results you can, in fact, narrow them down by sorting the items by price or auction time. You can also click on related searches if these seem closer to the kind of external drive you are looking for.

In order to receive the best service and buy high-quality products, opt for top-rated sellers who are valued by other buyers. Read their feedback and browse their ratings, because these reflect the opinions of previous buyers who have dealt with these sellers. A good seller is also always able to answers any questions you might have about delivery, payment methods, packaging, refunds, or exchanges.


The storage space in your computer has its limits, and although you can buy a new internal hard drive, there are other options. Choose an external hard disk drive in order to store your music and video collection, be it either for home use or on the go. With an external drive, you are less likely to overload your computer, and thus it can run faster.

External hard disk drives are available in two types: desktop and portable drives. A desktop drive is designed for use at home or in the office. Although it is more powerful, it requires a power outlet and is therefore not portable, unlike the special portable models that are self-powered.

Features to consider when buying an external hard disk drive include its storage capacity, which is commonly the most important specification for many people, its form factor (size), ventilation system, compatibility, ease of use, security, transfer speed, spindle speed, and cache. Many of these specifications are actually dependent on the form factor.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides