Portable Hard Drive Buying Guide

Bob Rankin sorts through the pros and cons of the portable storage options on the market today.–PC Pitstop

Portable Hard Drive Buying Guide

Bob Rankin

A reader asks: ‘I am in the market for a portable hard drive, and considering a solid state drive (SSD). What are the benefits of an SSD over regular portable external drives, and are there any specific SSD models you can recommend?’ Read on for my advice on buying a portable solid state drive..

Should You Buy a Portable SSD?

An external hard drive for backups or additional file storage is a good idea. A portable drive that fits in your purse or pocket, and doesn’t require an AC power cable is ideal if you have multiple computers, or you need to tote hundreds of gigabytes from place to place.

The choice you have to make is whether to get a standard “spinning magnetic disk” external drive, or a solid state SSD drive. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the latter choice.

The obvious advantages of a solid-state drive (SSD) are speed and durability. SSDs store data in nonvolatile flash memory, which provides nearly immediate access to files on the drive. And there are no shock-sensitive moving parts such as spinning magnetic disks or careening read-write heads. Therefore, SSDs are inherently more rugged than their magnetic counterparts. Many laptops use internal SSDs because of the small form factor.

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