When you first turn on your brand new computer it seems impossible to put all that empty storage space to use. Then, you start uploading all your pictures and videos and downloading games and software. Before you know it all that vast nothingness gets taken up with files, old and new, and there is simply no room left to store your information. The more you use your computer, the more space you will need to acquire. It’s time for you to buy a hard drive to backup your files or create and save new ones. The question is: do you go with an internal or external drive?
Essentially, both internal and external hard drives do the exact same thing. Deciding which is right for you is a matter of personal preference and what your individual needs are. Internal drives are, as the name suggests, are installed inside your computer. They are meant to replace an existing, full drive or upgrade a new system. If installing and internal drive yourself, make sure you are comfortable working inside your computer. External hard drives, in contrast, are portable and encased in an enclosure. They connect to your computer via a USB port, Firewire or similar connection and are, therefore, easier to install and transport.
Determining which brand to choose from is the least challenging part of buying a hard drive. Be safe and go with a name you recognize. If you are a fan of IBM products (as I am), then you should consider an IBM internal hard drive. There are some who claim to be more discerning and make more of a fuss over their selection. However, you really shouldn’t get too hung up on what’s in a name; it’s not like you are making a life-long commitment or making a ridiculously expensive investment.
Both external and internal drives can be bought with varying amounts of storage space. If you regularly upload videos, record TV shows, are a serious (not a casual) gamer, or have an extensive photo or music library, you should probably look into buying a drive with a 1 terabyte or higher capacity. For most other folks, who only plan on installing Windows 7 or Microsoft Office for the purposes of saving a few Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and a small collection of family photos, a smaller drive will do just fine. Drives with a larger than 2 TB capacity may not be recognized by older PC and Windows XP systems and you will have to purchase an adapter.
External hard drives come in two different types, desktop-style or notebook-style and are compatible with Macs and PC’s. Desktop drives are for stationary use and usually come equipped with a built-in fan to ensure their longevity. They are made to ease the process of transferring files and are suitable for work or home. Notebook external hard drives are small enough to be transported in a pocket and typically have less storage space, although it is possible to find some that can hold up to 1.5 TB’s of information.
When buying a hard drive for the first time, do not overcomplicate your needs. For example, if you find an IBM external hard drive , know what you are going to use it for and pick one based on its storage. Try not to get sidetracked thinking about speeds and all types of other nonsense because, unless you have made a career out of your computer skills, the extraneous details do not matter.