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A hard drive is a piece of hardware designed to store your computer files. It’s what your programs, photos, videos and documents live on inside your desktop computer, laptop or gaming console, ensuring that they’re always there to work on. Without a hard drive, your device wouldn’t run the applications you need.
An external hard drive, also known as a desktop drive, is like a portable hard drive, as it lives outside of your computer or laptop. However, it’s designed for a different type of use. They’re bigger in size, making them less portable and more for living for a desktop or stand. They often have larger storage capacities, acting as more of an upgrade to your device’s storage.
External hard drives still support USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB-C or Thunderbolt connectivity, but may also require an AC adapter for power. They are available in both HDD and SSD formats.
Hard drives often come in two technology types: HDD and SSD. HDD is the traditional type and contains a circular disc known as the platter, which spins to hold your data and complete file transfers. The SSD Drive features no moving parts and uses flash memory chips to store your data share documents. The SSD is usually faster, but the HDD is more cost-effective.
Some hard drives cater to specific technologies. While most work on both Windows and MacOS, it’s still important to check the features to make sure it’s compatible with your operating system before making a purchase.
Discover the different types of hard drives available at Officeworks.
A solid state drive is a new generation of storage device that uses a flash-based memory. It is significantly faster than traditional hard drives as it contains no moving parts. They are a great hard drive for gaming and business use due to their fast transfer speeds. Solid State Drives come in a range of storage sizes ranging from 500GB to 2TB.
Portable hard drives take the functionality of your hard drive in your computer and makes it portable. These often have slightly smaller capacities than hard drives built into your device but are faster when it comes to transferring files.
Portable hard drives usually connect to your device using USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB-C or Micro-USB, making them incredibly convenient. When browsing for a portable hard drive, you should check the connectivity type it uses, and if your device is compatible with it. Portable hard drives can come in HDD and SSD formats.
Desktop hard drives are designed to be connected to a device like a laptop or desktop for most of the time. This allows data to be continuously uploaded onto the hard drive, so you don’t have to manually transfer it. These hard drives are usually bigger and bulker than portable ones and often require a power source to be used. They are best suited to office environments where data needs to be continuously stored in a safe place.
Network Attached Storage is dedicated file storage that allows users on a local area network (LAN) to access the shared storage via an Ethernet connection. They are best suited to large enterprises or for home offices and small business as they can be accessed remotely. It provides the benefits of a cloud and centralises date in a safe and reliable way.
The best type of hard drive depends on your situation and needs. Different types of hard drives are designed to suit different types of people. It’s important before you make a purchase that you recognise what you need the hard drive for and how you’re going to be using it.
If you primarily save documents and use the cloud a lot, you should search for a hard drive with a smaller capacity. If you save movies and videos and use a lot of apps for editing, you should lean towards something larger.
For quick data transfers and collaborative work, a portable hard drive is recommended. They’re easy to use with USB connectivity and are slim so you can fit it in your bag and use it on the go. If you’re at university or school and have documents you need to share, a portable hard drive will suit your needs.
It’s also important to look at the type of technology the hard drive has before buying. SSD drives perform faster transfers and make less noise, but with the HDD, you can get more storage for a lower price. The decision is entirely dependent on what you need.