Basic Computing

What is an external hard drive? All the details

Do you want to know what an External Hard Drive is ? In this article we will explain in detail its interesting structure and important function, get to know it! An excellent device that is used to store data very practical, and functional. This can be transported everywhere.

External hard drive

what is an external hard drive used for
what is an external hard drive used for

What is an external hard drive? As we all know the hard disk is one of the basic components of the normal work of the computer. Without this device we will not be able to run operating systems or programs or save our user data. This type of drive is usually internal, that is, it is inside the computer case. However as the needs of users change over time, and they become more and more portable.

Large storage units have been put on the market and it is not necessary to be glued to the computer so that we can use their capacity. These are called external hard drives. These also allow it to be transported and shared on another computer.


  • Size and external power: The size of the external hard drive can be 2.5 or 3.5 inches. This is important since the former receives power directly from the devices (computers, tablets, etc.) connected to it. While 3.5 needs connection to other power sources.
  • Some hard drives can use a Y-shaped cable. These are connected to the computer by 2 USB cables so that it captures the correct power to function properly.
  • Other 3.5 inch hard drives need to be connected to a power source through an external power cable all the time as they require more power to run, therefore their use is limited to desktop computers. They are much heavier than the 2.5-inch ones, these cannot be carried comfortably. However they are also cheaper.


Currently on the market there are two models of hard disk, those that are magnetic and those that are solid state:

Magnetic hard drives:

what is an external hard drive used for
what is an external hard drive used for

These devices store information in high-speed rotating magnetic areas on magnetic disks to store data. There is a header responsible for reading and recording information as if it were a record player. Currently this storage method is the most used today, these are:

  • The faster the disk rotation speed (RPM), the faster you can retrieve or store information.
  • They should be defragmented regularly (organize the information on the disk to make the most of the space).
  • The discs and heads are sensitive to impact, so if you hit these types of discs with force, they can be damaged.
  • They are much cheaper than solid state drives, so they can also provide more storage capacity.

Solid state disks:

They are still a minority, but as prices decline, they become increasingly popular. They use flash memory to store data in semiconductor transistors. This type of memory is non-volatile, so you can continue to use it even if you stop turning it on.

  • There are no moving parts inside the solid state disk, and its speed is much higher than that of the magnetic disk.
  • They are also more resistant to shocks because they do not store magnetic discs or heads inside.
  • They do not require as much energy to operate, so they do not need additional energy related to the energy received by the connected equipment.
  • They are much less noisy and do not require regular defragmentation.
  • However, they are much more expensive than magnetic hard drives and provide a low-capacity storage capacity, so they are not suitable devices for storing a lot of multimedia content information.


For magnetic hard drives, the speed at which data is written or read is highly dependent on the rotational speed of the disk, which is generally 5400 to 10,000 revolutions per minute (RPM).

Interface and connection:

These generally connect to the device via a USB or external SATA (eSATA) connection. They usually have a USB connection because today it is the most commonly accepted standard for most computers, tablets, and mobile phones.


The storage space of external hard drives currently reaches several terabytes of memory. Ideally you should determine the usage requirements to achieve the required capacity and get more, as this is conducive to proper hard drive operation and information organization.


There are brands of hard drives that undoubtedly have a better relationship in terms of price and quality which are: Western Digital, Seagate and Toshiba.

You want to know more about our articles visit the following link: Memory Rom

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