the Difference Between an Hard Disk Drive and an External Flash?

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What Is the Difference Between an External Hard Disk Drive and an External Flash Drive?

Most computer-savvy individuals utilise some sort of backup to safeguard the material on an existing hard drive or to transfer data from one location to another. The options for backing up computer files are abundant. However, two of the more popular options have long been the external hard disk drive and flash disk drives. These two options are quite similar in many respects. They both save data, but offer a variety of storage options, and are both commonly used for backup and transfer of data. However, there are still a number of ways in which they vary.

Understanding the differences between an external hard disk drive and a flash drive can save consumers money, as many people find they do not need the power and expense of a hard disk drive for their tasks. On other hand, consumers with projects of a larger scale may find that a disk drive provides an unbeatable expanse of storage in one simple package. No matter the preferences, it is possible to utilise the many functionalities of eBay to find the hard disk drive or flash drive that one needs.

External Hard Disk Drive

The external hard disk drive connects to a personal computer via one of the USB ports located on the front or rear of modern computers. The actual electronic components in the drive are saved inside of a protective plastic casing. Hard disk drives are typically large and rectangular in shape and are sometimes referred to as HDD. Prices for these devices have fluctuated throughout the years, and currently, the price of an external HDD is largely determined by its capacity.

Capacities for external hard disk drives vary significantly. Low-end models may offer as few as 256 MB of space, while ultra-advanced options could go as high as a 1 TB, or more. As a rule of thumb, many external hard disk drives tend to have a large capacity and stature than a flash drive. These devices are often used as backup or an easy route of adding more space to a computer's existing hard drive allocation. Unlike external flash drives, external hard disk drives require users to have an alternate source of power. An external disk drive also cannot function on the power supply of the computer alone, unlike the smaller flash drive. However, the external disk drive can transfer materials much more fast due to the inclusion of an ultra-speedy flat wire for quick, effective transfer of data.

Understanding the benefits and disadvantages of the external hard disk drive can sometimes make it easier for a consumer to determine if the needs dictate the use of an HDD or a simple flash drive. Often, consumers find that they can use both of these devices for different types of backup, and they sometimes end up purchasing multiple versions of both.

Benefits of an External Hard Disk Drive

  •     Large capacity
  •     Harder to lose
  •     Fast transfer speed

    Disadvantages of an External Hard Disk Drive

  •     Expensive
  •     Inconvenient for routine transfers
  •     Requires external power

    External Flash Drive

    The external flash drive, much smaller than the external hard disk drive, is sometimes referred to as a thumb, jump, or keychain drive. External flash drives contain no moving parts; a factor that differentiates them from the more mechanical HDD. Everything is held digitally through a series of binary codes in the case of the flash drive.

    Though newer flash drives can hold a gigabyte or more, they are still lighter and more practical for transferring data than the external hard drive. Many feature cute characters or key chains. They are great for college and work and may even be part of the requirements in either setting. External flash drives are a great option for students who may need to transfer files from school to home.

    Over the past decade or so, flash drives have become increasingly less expensive while average capacity has continued to grow. Since they are commonly available for very low prices and also do not require external power, many users keep a few around. Their light weight and ability to function off the power supplied by an existing computer's USB port make external flash drives a good option for tasks that require frequent transfer of files from one device to another.

    Just like the external HDD, the flash system has multiple benefits as well as a few potential drawbacks. The basic idea is the same, though the flash drive is typically a bit slower than the external hard drive. Though flash drives are lighter and smaller, this sometimes makes them more prone to loss.

    Benefits of an External Flash Drive

  •     Inexpensive
  •     Rugged
  •     Widely available
  •     Easy to carry around

    Disadvantages of an External Flash Drive

  •     Easy to lose
  •     Lower capacity

    Space Compatibility

    Sometimes, the type of space that one decides to use for backup is determined by the amount and type of files to be backed up. Understanding the different size options as well as what they are equal to in terms of popular files is an important factor in choosing between external hard disk drives and external flash drives.

    Frequently, consumers utilise a large capacity external HDD to backup the information on their computers, and then file it away in a safe place. However, when simply saving files for work and school or transferring them from laptop to desktop, many people are more likely to use the more sensible flash drive option.


    Average MP3 Songs

    Average Pictures

    250 MB



    1 GB



    10 GB



    16 GB



    1 TB



    The chart above shows capacity equivalents, along with estimates of what each capacity can hold. The length of songs and quality of photos can change this average, leading to variations between users. However, many of these size options are available in external hard disk drives and flash drives.

    Why Choose External Over Internal Drives?

    There are many benefits to choosing an external hard drive as opposed to an internal hard drive. This is one reason for the continued popularity of external drives amongst consumers. Regardless of whether the consumer is using a flash drive or a hard disk drive, the benefits are largely the same.

    To begin with, some computers, laptops in particular, do not allow for internal expansion. Therefore, if a consumer wants additional storage space on his or her computer, the only option is expansion through external means. This involves purchasing a large capacity external hard drive or flash drive. When this is the reason for expansion, many consumers stick with the external HDD, which can be plugged in and placed near one's computer for easy access.

    Additionally, external drives offer major portability. They are easily compatible with a number of computers and tablets as well as multiple other devices. They can be moved from one location to another at a whim. When replacing an old computer, all the files saved on the external drive can be moved to a new device with little fuss.

    Finally, many people are not comfortable with the idea of installing additional hard drive space internally. This is one of the main reasons that external drives of all types, including CD rewriters and Blu-ray players, have always been popular with the less tech-savvy consumers of the world. Ripping apart an expensive piece of equipment such as a computer with delicate inner-workings can be a scary process for the average consumer. However, these consumers want additional space after having a PC for a given amount of time and therefore resort to external drives.

    With an external drive, there is no complicated or tedious installation process, the consumer simply plugs the device in and can immediately begin transferring files. This not only saves the time and expense of hiring a professional to add additional space internally, but it also relieves the stress of attempting to do it on one's own.

    Searching for an External Hard Disk Drive Drive and an External Flash Drive on eBay

    To find computer drives of any kind on eBay, simply input data related to the type of drive that is desired. For example, a consumer could use search terms such as "flash drive" or "external disk drive". General search terms like these bring up limitless options. The sheer number of available items can be overwhelming for some consumers. Using a more specific term, such as "1GB flash drive", can often reduce the number of results to a more specific and manageable set. Additionally, eBay refinements can be used to cull some of the less fitting results.

    Getting to Know the Seller

    Before making a purchase on eBay,, it is a good idea to learn more about the seller with whom you plan to do business. This can add a level of confidence as you enter into a transaction with the seller on eBay. To learn more about a specific seller, visit the seller's feedback forum page, where you can read testimonials from previous clients. This page can also be used to access the contact information for the seller.


    The common reason to purchase any type of external computer storage is to transfer files between machines or backup important documents. These devices offer an extra, inexpensive source of digital space, permitting consumers to backup information or simply make extra room on a computer's internal hard drive. External hard disk drives and external flash drives may be used as a means of important files including family photos, school assignments, or work tasks. Because of the unique differences between the two, many tech-savvy consumers may choose to purchase a few of each.

    When deciding between an external hard disk drive and an external flash drive, it is advisable to take into account one's needs and preferences for portability, space, price, and other features. Regardless of one's choice, one can find eBay to be a reliable source for external hard disk drives and flash drives. Thanks to its vast network of sellers who make available a large inventory of products, eBay can help a potential buyer find and purchase the right external drive that meets the requirements.

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