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The Best USB 3.0 External Hard Drives

Updated on August 11, 2013
Will Apse profile image

Scientist, writer, audiophile and smartphone addict, Will Apse, loves explaining tech issues in a way that anyone can understand.

GoFlex Slim Portable USB 3 Hard drive
GoFlex Slim Portable USB 3 Hard drive

For PCIe cards to adapt a desktop to USB 3.0 try this page: USB 3.0 Cards

For an overview::USB 3.0 Ports FAQ

The first real benefits of USB 3.0 superspeed have reached the market place with external hard drives enabled to take advantage of the new technology. Everyone hates the time spent waiting for data transfers in any situation. Now data back up is less of a chore.

USB 3.0 is about three times faster than USB 2.0, a lot faster than Firewire and comparable to eSATA 300 whilst offering more versatilty as USB 3.0 devices become more widespread.

Whilst very few computers are being shipped with USB 3.0 ports yet, there are easy to install PCIe adaptor cards for desktop computers and even easier to use ExpressCards to make laptops and notebooks USB 3.0 compatible.

The number of USB 3.0 hard drives on the market grows everyday and there also enclosures with USB 3.0 ports that are compatible with the hard drive of your choice.

All USB 3.0 ports are backward compatible with USB 2.0 cables and devices.

Portable USB 3.0 Hard Drives

It is great to be able to take all your media files and important documents with you wherever you go. External hard drives are getting to be so small they might soon be merging with flash drives!

The only drawback is the time it takes to back up data from from your desktop. USB 3.0 makes back up at least twice as fast.

Western Digital My Passport 1 TB

It is easy to forget just how far things gave come as far as data storage is concerned. Twenty years ago you would have needed a truck to carry around one terabyte of data. You would need to have been Bill Gates to afford it. Now you can slip a terabyte in your pocket and pay around a $100.

This latest ultra portable Western digital model can connect via USB 2 or USB 3.0.

The dimensions are an amazing 4.3 by 3.3 by 0.7 inches- not much bigger than a real passport.

There is 500 GB version available.

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex with USB 3.0

One of the main attactions of this 1 TB Seagate drive is its versatlity. It offers plug and play USB 3.0 but also has options to upgrade to FireWire 800 or eSATA.

It comes pre-loaded with encryption and back up software.

A GoFlex adapter cable lets you play content on TV or over a network.

Seagate Slim
Seagate Slim

Seagate FoFlex Slim:

New in April 2011, this 320GB drive is both fast (7200 rpm) and super small. (pictured top of this page and right).

It measures just 124mm by 78mm by 9mm, and can use either USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 connections. It is equally at home with Mac's and PC's.

The shell has a tough anodized finish so it should wear well in bags or pockets. Seagate are backing its durability with a three year warranty. It is relatively pricey at $99 on launch but I am guessing this will fall over time.

Transcend 500 GB

Transcend offer tough military grade hardware that will stand up to knocks and shocks. Their 500 GB portable USB 3.0 external hard drive also features a flash of fluorescent green which makes it easier to find in a hurry.

The OneTouch Auto-Backup button makes keeping your portable storage current easy and there is a power saving sleep mode.

USB 3.0 Hard drives for the Desktop

Western Digital My Book 3.0

For a desktop setting, My Book external hard drives have been a reliable choice for many years. The new USB 3.0 versions are very fast when compared to their USB 2.0 predecessors. A 2 hour high definition movie can be transferred in under 3 minutes with USB 3.0 compared to nearly 13 minutes using USB 2.0.

You can go for the 1 TB option or 2 TB. Both offer automatic, continuous backup and hardware encryption with password protection.

A USB 3.0 PCIe adaptor card is included with 1 TB My Book.


Buffalo Technology DriveStation 1 TB

Buffalo are a well respected Japanese manufacturer who have moved into USB 3.0 technology well ahead of rivals, offering a super fast USB 3.0 Blu-ray disc writer among other products.

This 1TB desktop hard drive offers a suite of software and can use your PC's RAM to speed up data transfer beyond USB 3.0 rivals.

Buffalo also offer a USB 3.0 PCIe adapter card.

USB 3.0 Hard Drive Enclosure

USB 3.0 To Sata 3GB/S Enclosure

Chose your own 2.5 inch hard disc drive and house it in the slender and highly portable SIIG enclosure.

The 3.5 model is probably better suited to desktop use.

SIIG have a good reputation for reliable fan technology. Keeping the hard drive cool will help keep it worknig for many years.


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    • profile image 5 years ago

      It was very cool and very nice having an EX-HD i can store my back file and it make feel save and my datas are secure

    • barry1001 profile image

      barry1001 5 years ago from North Wales

      Interesting, I actually need a new external drive.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Thanks for the information on USB hard drive.