Help on External Hard Drive Purchase

I'm currently looking to buy an external hard drive for back up purposes of my work laptop.  I will also use it for storage of multi-media and mp3's but mostly for back-up.

What are the options that I need to look for.??

best place to buy the hard drive ( retail or internet ).??

Any thing else that I need to watch out for.??


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I get most of my stuff from newegg.  They're not always the cheapest (usually are though) but I trust the company and have a good history with them.  As for what to get, get however much space you need, in whatever form factor you like (2.5/3.5 in).  I have found that I get better txfer speeds with firewire than with usb 2.0, tho YMMV.

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I use CDW.  Spent $25k+ last year on various items.  No complaints.  They're usually reasonable.

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I find CDW to be quite expensive as compared to most online retailers.  They are a big company and if you have problems with something, your odds of having a favorable resolution are probably pretty good with them.

NewEgg has generally VERY low pricing on most things.  And last time I checked had a very good reputation for getting the order right.  Generally, once a you get a part, you have to rely on the manufacturer's warranty though.  They also usually have GREAT shipping rates.  I usually buy from them myself.

As to what to get, I would suggest not going the "standard" external hard drive route.  Spend a little extra now, save a lot in the long run.  For example, I'd suggest getting yourself a ComboDock at - this device will connect to ANY standard IDE (non SATA) hard drive and provide a Firewire 800 (backward compatible with 400) or USB2 connection.  This is great if your friend's computer dies and you want to help him get the data off the drive.  Or you have an old hard drive laying around you want to make use of.  And swapping drives is pretty simple.  So if you want, you can get yourself the cheaper (usually by $30-$70 cheaper) internal hard drives and use them as external drives.  Fill one up and for $60, go get yourself another 120GB.


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I'd get an external casing for a USB (or firewire) 2.5" drive. These small notebook drives don't draw as much power as the 3.5" drives do. this is good for your mobility as you don't need to lag along an extra powersupply for the external disk, and they are also smaller and lighter. Appart from that notebooks don't usually supply excessive power on the USB ports.
Since you are talking laptop I am also guessing you may want portability - for which I would highly recommend 2.5" drive units.  Far less heat,  weight, size and noise.  I carried around a 3.5" unit for about a year before getting a 2.5".  It's been about year or two since I bought the 2.5" drive enclosure and drive.  Since then all of my 3.5" units have been collecting dust.  I can slip the 2.5" unit in my pocket and go.

This is the one that I have been using,

It's about half the price of most others around.  I put a 40 GB Fujitsu drive in it.  You also do not need a 5400 rpm drive as 4200 will be more than enough to keep up with USB or firewire interfaces.

Here's Neweggs laptop drives,

Also a more expensive unit from wiebetech with a drive or empty,

Here's some recent discussion/advise on 3.5 " units,

If you need large capacity (over 100 GB) you will have to go to 3.5".  Also if portability is not a big deal the 3.5 would cost less - just be sure it provides good cooling.

As for where to buy I start online to get prices then check local stores.  I would sooner buy face to face if the prices are close but I am lucky to have a few stores close by that still provide real customer service - you dont have to pay extra for a warranty.  

Always read the return policies of any online vendor - or even stores - some have very short return policies - I have seen some as short as 7 days.

you could also use an iomega Rev drive : if your backup is limited to 90 Gb
awehmeAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all of your replies.

Thanks too.
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