Features to Look for When Buying a Long-Lasting External Hard Disk Drive

Views 3 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful
Features to Look for When Buying a Long-Lasting External Hard Disk Drive

An external hard disk drive is a great solution to storage shortages. In addition to providing extra storage space for computer files, these devices can enhance computer use in a number of ways. They enable quick backup of data, and in some cases, make media more portable. Considering that the ever-growing memory requirements for files are making them more challenging to work with, a long-lasting external hard disk drive is a valuable item to have.

The features for external hard disk drives vary a great deal from drive to drive, so consumers should be familiar with these if they wish to purchase the right drive for their needs. Before getting into the features of these drives though, consumers should understand a few basic points about external hard disk drives. eBay is a good source from which to buy these devices. Consumers can combine good knowledge of external hard disk drives with an understanding of the eBay buying process in order to shop successfully on the site.

Long-Lasting External Hard Disk Drive Basics

Consumers can prepare for successful purchases of long-lasting external hard disk drives by understanding a few basic points about these devices. Knowing the definition of an external hard drive, the benefits of the device, and the different types of external hard disk drives available helps consumers buy long-lasting external hard disk drives that they are satisfied with.

Defining an External Hard Disk Drive

An external hard disk drive is a data storage unit that sits outside of a computer's housing. Most computers, be they desktops or laptops, are sold including internal hard disk drives. An external hard disk drive provides supplemental storage for computer files. It sits in its own encasing, and consumers can easily connect one to different computers.

Benefits of an External Hard Disk Drive

The main benefit of an external hard disk drive is that it provides extra storage for computer files. Consumers can use the added space in a number of ways. They can continue to store files after the hard drive space on their computers fills. Consumers can also back up the data on their computers' hard disk drives so that they can retrieve important files should their computers malfunction or become damaged.

External hard disk drives give consumers greater portability for their data. They can carry large files, such as videos and music collections, from place to place without lugging their desktops or laptops. Lastly, it is possible to use the same hard disk drive with a PC or a Mac, so long as the drive is properly formatted. This makes computer data storage more versatile.

External Hard Disk Drive Types

Consumers can choose between desktop external hard disk drives and portable external hard disk drives. They should understand the difference between the two to pick the type that better suits their needs.

Desktop External Hard Disk Drives

Desktop external hard disk drives are generally larger and faster drives than portable external hard disk drives are. They have big storage capacities and require their own power adapters. It is possible to buy a single desktop encasing with multiple hard disk drives in it, and this solution provides a great deal of storage space.

Those who need to significantly expand their data storage capacities, but also require the convenience of working with a single drive, should consider purchasing a RAID array.. This device is composed of multiple external hard disk drives, but it interfaces with a computer as if it were a single drive.

Portable External Hard Disk Drives

Portable external hard disk drivess are physically smaller than desktop external hard disk drives are, and they use computers to which they are attached as power sources. These features give these drives enhanced portability and make them well-suited to use with laptops.

Higher-end portable external hard disk drives can hold nearly as much memory as desktop external hard disk drives can. However, manufacturers do not package multiple portable disk drives together in a single encasement like they sometimes do for desktop external hard disk drives.

Features of a Long-Lasting External Hard Disk Drive

As soon as consumers have a good understanding of the basic points of external hard disk drives, they can consider the features that are important to them. Good buying decisions result from understanding the significance of features such as storage capacity, speed, interface, cache, and form factor. There are also a few additional features that enhance user experience with external hard disk drives.

Storage Capacity

Storage capacity is the first feature that many consumers notice when looking at external hard disk drives. This feature indicates how much data a drive can hold. Those looking to back up internal hard disk drives with a great deal of data on them should consider purchasing external hard disk drives with large storage capacities. Many consumers also want to store vast amounts of media off of their computers, and a large storage capacity makes sense for this as well.


Consumers should avoid the trap of looking solely at an external hard disk drive's storage capacity when deciding which device to purchase. Spindle speed is another very important feature. Measured in revolutions per minute (RPM), the spindle speed determines how quickly the hard disk drive loads and retrieves data. A drive that spins at 10,000 RPM performs better than one that spins at 7,200 RPM. This feature is especially important for consumers that plan to transfer large files or watch high-memory videos directly from their external hard disk drives. Slower drives results in slower transfers and lag time when viewing videos.


Consumers should also pay attention to how an external hard disk drive interfaces with computers. USB is a common interface, and this may be USB 2.0 or USB 3.0.. The form factor for the interface is the same, so USB 3.0 disk drives work with USB 2.0 interfaces on computers and vice versa. The USB 3.0 interface is significantly faster than the USB 2.0 one is, so consumers should use USB 3.0 disk drives with USB 3.0 computer interfaces for enhanced performance.

It is also possible to find FireWire interfaces. Some of these types, such as Thunderbolt, are quite fast. However, fewer and fewer external hard disk drive manufacturers are putting these interfaces on their devices.


Cache is high-speed random access memory (RAM) on an external hard disk drive's circuit board. It buffers data when users are transferring it onto the drive, temporarily storing it while the drive processes the data in front of it. Once the drive is ready, it processes the data stored in the cache. The more cache an external hard disk drive has, the faster it performs data transfers.

Form Factor

Another prominent feature that consumers should see displayed when looking at external hard disk drives is the form factor. This is the size of the disk, expressed in inches. The form factor directly correlates with the disk's maximum capacity, speed, and cache. The table below illustrates this correlation.

Form Factor

Maximum Capacity




Over 1 terabyte

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

2, 4, 8, or 16 megabytes


160 gigabytes

4,200 or 5,400 RPM

2, 8, or 16 megabytes


80 gigabytes

4,200 RPM

2 megabytes


12 gigabytes

3,600 or 4,200 RPM

2 megabytes

A bigger disk generally provides enhanced storage and performance. External hard disk drives with a form factor of 3.5" or 2.5" are more common than those with smaller form factors.

Additional Features to Consider

Some external hard disk drives include a USB hub, or a memory card reader, or both. The former enables consumers to use their external hard disk drives without monopolising their computer's USB interfaces. The latter allows consumers to transfer files such as music and photos directly to their external drives rather than transferring to their computers' internal drives first. Although these features are not critical to how external hard disk drives perform, they do make drives easier to use.

How to Buy a Long-Lasting External Hard Disk Drive on eBay

It is possible to buy long-lasting external hard disk drives from local and online shops that sell computer accessories. You can also find a large selection of them on eBay.. It is easy to search the site to find the external hard disk drives you are looking for, and buying from local sellers can help save you money on shipping.

Searching for External Hard Disk Drives

You can search for external hard disk drives from any eBay page with the search bar on it. You can type "external hard disk drive&" or a more descriptive term, such as "desktop external hard disk drive&", into the search bar and click the Search button. When eBay presents the results, choose the series of categories that corresponds with your search to ensure that the listings are relevant. You can then filter for the features you are looking for.

Buying from Local Sellers

One way to save additional money on an external hard disk drive is to buy it from a local seller. You can find local sellers by specifying the distance from your postcode within which sellers should be located. eBay filters out all other sellers, leaving a listing of nearby sellers from whom shipping is likely to cost less.


External hard disk drives benefit consumers by giving them additional storage space for computer files, allowing them to back up their existing data more efficiently, and providing enhanced portability for their digital files. Certain features enable some external hard disk drives to perform better than others. Storage capacity, speed, the interface, cache, and the form factor can vary from device to device. Consumers must, therefore, decide which of these features are important to them and if they are willing to pay a little more for enhancements in those areas.

eBay is a good source from which to buy external hard disk drives because the site has a broad selection of these devices at competitive prices. By learning how to search and locate local sellers on the site, consumers can quickly find the external hard disk drives they want and save money when they purchase them. If consumers know what to look for in an external hard disk drive, they should be able to find one on eBay that gives them file storage benefits for years to come.

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