Best external hard drives for your desktop

The funkier the laptop, the smaller the disc drive. Unless you’re shelling out for some kind of gaming beast, that’s largely the trade off these days. If you want your notebook to look slim and sexy, then it’s unlikely to be able to cope with all your photos, videos and whatever else it is that’s weighing your machine down.

The answer, of course, is to invest in an external hard drive that’s good for both security sake and just to free up your computer disc. So, if you’re looking to make that kind of purchase, these are the best desktop HDDs around right now.

Western Digital My Book 3.0 - £129.90

Max Storage
1TB

Auto Backup
No

Weight
1.18kg

Interface
USB 3.0, up to 5Gbps


The My Book 3.0 for Window PCs is all about the USB 3.0, which as many of you will know, is the next-gen iteration of the interfacing tech and blisteringly fast with data transfer speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second. To put that in perspective, the claim is that the My Book 3.0 could transfer a 24GB HD movie to another USB 3.0 device in 2.7 minutes compared to 13.3 minutes with a 2.0 connection. However, the drive doesn’t offer auto backup software built-in, so if you’re looking for My First Hard Drive, this might not be for you. Buy it

ioSafe Solo - £199

Max Storage
2TB

Auto Backup
Not revealed

Weight
6.8kg!

Interface
USB 2.0



The ioSafe Solo isn’t your average external hard drive, it’s the Chuck Norris of the external hard drive world and aimed firmly at belt-and-braces types who need to know their data is Secure-with-a-capital-s. It can withstand temperatures up to 1550-degrees for half an hour and is waterproof in up to 10 foot of the wet stuff for 72 hours. Should the worst happen and you toast or dunk your drive and you can’t get the data off, then the purchase also acts as a kind of insurance policy - ioSafe will spend up to a $1,000 on a “no questions asked” forensic data recovery service. Full Review

Lacie D2 Quadra Hard Disk - £119

Max Storage
2TB

Auto Backup
Yes

Weight
1.5kg

Interface
eSATA, FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0


With connectivity up the wazoo, a max 2TB capacity and PC and Mac compatibility, this desk-top drive is perfect for the creative professional or prosumer. You can program the disk to carry out backups for both Mac or PC (with both types of software bundled in) at the press of a button and cunning industrial design leads to claims of cool, quiet operation. Requiring external power and measuring in at "husky", portable this ain’t, but capable it most certainly is. Full Review

Seagate FreeAgent Desk - £86

Max Storage
1.5TB

Auto Backup
Yes

Weight
1kg

Interface
USB 2.0: up to 480 Mbps


This hard drive for Windows-based PCs comes with up to 1.5TB of storage in a sleek, brushed metal design. It will auto backup your files, encrypting them as it goes, and turns itself into idle mode after 15 minutes of inactivity, so good for anyone who just wants to plug it in and forget about it -- until of course, they hit a crisis and need to access their files. Finally - a small point - but it can be laid flat, or stood upright with the bundled stand, so worth noting for anyone short on desk space. Buy it


Iomega Professional Desktop Hard Drive - £179.99

Max Storage
2TB

Auto Backup
Not revealed

Weight
1kg

Interface
eSATA 3 Gbits/USB 2.0


It may not be USB 3.0 compatible but the eSATA option on the Iomega Professional certainly offers a transfer speed edge. This device has 6x the rate of straight USB 2.0 and comes bundled with more online and on unit autoback software than you could brush your teeth with. The professional moniker also means that those paranoid about their “personal” files can be sure that there’s as much protection and encryption here as money can buy. It’s compatible with both PC and Mac and comes with a rather tasteful brushed aluminium finish. Buy it



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