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External USB Hard Drive Upgrade

Updated on June 16, 2014

Replacing two USB hard disks that have done a good job.

If I already have two USB powered hard drives, why do I need a third? That's easy to answer: more capacity, speed and ruggedness!

I have been perfectly happy with the performance of the portable Seagate and Lacie HDD I have, but they are aging in more ways than one. First and foremost they are filled to the brim with photos and job files going back many years. I also feel the need for a more rugged external hard drive that can handle travel in a good way.

Click To See The List of Most Popular USB External HDD's

To further convince myself of the need for a upgrade, I tell myself am hearing strange noises from them. So, will I throw them away? Absolutely not. They are still functional and will probably find a new home with one of my relatives.

Here is a little info about how I made my choice of a new external hard drive.

Image by me

I was really close to getting one of these. The WD harddisk suite is extremely popular and getting very good consumer reviews which is something that I always rely on.

WD My Passport 2TB Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive Storage Blue (WDBY8L0020BBL-NESN)
WD My Passport 2TB Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive Storage Blue (WDBY8L0020BBL-NESN)

Available in several colors and data capacities the WD My Passport is portable, but designed as a desktop unit and therefore not very tough.

If you do buy one, see below how you can transform it into a rugged go-anywhere companion.


Popular Seagate and Lacie Portable Hard Disks

I own a Seagate and a Lacie portable hard disk. They have somewhat limited capacity by today's standards. Despite heavy use they still do the job though and I would happily buy from either brand again.

Does HDD design really make a difference?

my two external harddrives
my two external harddrives

It does. I know, silly... but for some reason I always find myself reaching for the Lacie - even though it is oldest, has the least capacity, and is beginning to show signs of wear.

It would probably be a different story if I could notice a gain in speed with either one. I guess on paper they do differ a bit but for my needs I really can't see much advantage in data transfer speeds one over the other. I often edit really large image files directly with the external HDD's and I have never felt limited by them in any way except raw storage size. The Seagate has more gigs and is newer and perhaps a tiny bit faster.

So why do I prefer the aging Lacie? read on..

small hard drives
small hard drives

Seagate VS Lacie size and form

One frustrates while the other just feels right.

There isn't that much difference between these guys. Both have about the same footprint and are not much bigger than you average phone, or a pair of reading glasses. Both use mini usb connectors.

Both are powered directly from the USB cable - which is a absolute must in my opinion. There is no sane reason for having a small external harddisk powered by a separate unit that weighs as much again and which you will forget or loose on your next trip. Or, you will remember it but forget the global socket connector >..<

USB power or nothing! Enough said.

If you look at the Seagate though it has 1) odd side-placement of usb connector, 2) a hard, sort of glossy plastic top cover, and 3) extending, pointy surfaces that probably only contain air.

The plastic cover of the Seagate isn't totally flat and feels a bit flimsy. It actually squeaks a bit when pressed, and it makes the unit a bit higher than necessary.

The Lacie on the other hand has a discrete, strict and highly functional design. No protruding edges. A perfectly flat top on which you can lay stuff. Put something on the Seagate and the glossy, slightly curved surface makes everything wobble and fall off.

So.. am I really that vain that these small details dictate which HDD i keep reaching for? Well, who wants a slippery thing with irritating pointy extensions when you can have a solid thing with soothing rounded edges?... vanity rules I guess!

For my next purchase though, I will be focusing on functionality and build rather than let design sway me...

USB3 Mil-Spec Rugged 1.5t Portable Hard Drive - My choice

Military spec rugged hard disk
Military spec rugged hard disk

In choosing my next external USB hard drive I really wanted to max out on portability, capacity and ruggedness. This heavy duty HDD by Transcend is what i decided on. Points that made me pick it are:

Ultra rugged external USB drive. Mil-spec level 3 stage shock absorption says it all. I also like the silicone non-slip cover.

Self contained power through the USB cord

It is a USB 3 external hard drive which gives me fast transfer speeds (works with usb 2 devices too)

Plug and play but also has a good harddrive backup software included.

The list goes on but the main things I fell for are the mil-spec shock resistance, usb 3 portable external hard disk with a whooping 1.5 terabyte capacity (doubling my current setup), and the one button backup feature.

Ruggedize your WD Hard Disk Drive for Cheap

rugged case for external hard disk
rugged case for external hard disk

Keeping your external data safe from harm is easy with a dedicated case. "Nomad" has smart design with tough exterior, shock-absorbing insides and you can hook up your HDD without opening the case.

Don't be fooled by the pics - this is a small and convenient HDD case which measures only 5.8 x 4.4 x 1.4 inches!

The Nomad - Rugged Case for WD HDD's

Stylish and cheap insurance against the elements!

Do you use a portable hard disk or rely on your on-board computer HDD?

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    • profile image

      hmommers 4 years ago

      I have a little lacie one that will do its duty this holiday! And on my desk are 2 MyBooks

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      I just bought a seagate terabyte hard drive. Love the thing. I like the cases you show - didn't even think about that but that's the next purchase.

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 4 years ago

      Excellent review!!