Need recommendations for new external hard drive on Windows PC

I need a new external drive for a Dell T5810 Precision Workstation running Windows 10 Pro. The external drive is used mostly for onsite data backups. I want a drive in the 2TB to 4TB range.

The T5810 only has USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports. I am willing to add an expansion card – for example, for USB 3.1 ports.

The computer presently has these expansion card slots open:

PCI Express 3.0 x8, 8 GB/s
PCI Express 2.0 x1, 0.5 GB/s
PCI Express 2.0 x4 2 GB/s
PCI 2.3 (32-bit, 33 MHz), 133 MB/s

I want a highly-reliable, reasonably fast external drive.

1. Do you recommend SSD or conventional drive? Why?

2. USB 3.0, USB 3.1 / USB C, or other interface? Why?

3. What brand and model do you recommend? Please include why you recommend it.
Peter ByeRetiredAsked:
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
USB3 is fast enough and faster than most Hard Drives
For backup you want a capacity drive therefor a Spinning Hard Drive.  5400 RPM is fast enough for backup/restore
We are down to 2 manufacturers Seagate and Western Digital.  Each manufacturer has had clunkers that had high failure rates.

A "backup drive" integrated drive is cheaper than a separate enclosure and hard drive. I would go with either a separate enclosure or a Hard Drive Dock. I do suggest 2 hard drives this way all of your eggs are not in one basket. One drive always offline in-case of ransomware
If you're going for onsite backup I'd go with USB 3 or 3.1.

For hard drive I'd use a tradition HDD made by Western Digital as they have a history of lasting the longest.
i recently bought an usb 3 drive dock; this lets me use different STANDARD drives, for different backups
the STANDARD drives are cheap 100$ :
here the dock :

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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
We use mostly Western Digital at clients as others have noted here, and they work fine. Always some lemons.

USB 3 is plenty fast for normal disk activities.

We specify 7200-rpm drives when we buy them.
I think that USB 3.0 is fast enough for the intended purpose.  Hitachi drives and WD Gold Enterprise caliber drives are the best.  I would get my own enclosure and use one of the brands I mentioned.  Further, I would ensure that I anchor the drive solidly.  Use industrial velcro or something similar to make sure that the drive is solidly attached to whatever surface so it can't be moved while working.

Another possibility are the RDX type removable cartridge drives.  More expensive but allows you to have two or more drives where you can take one offsite each night so that if the worst happens you have a copy elsewhere.

Look into cloud too. iDrive is very affordable
Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
Thanks for these very useful inputs.

jc4257 mentioned iDrive. I use that for offsite backup. The external drive is the onsite backup.

From your inputs I will stick with USB3.0 and not bother with USB3.1.

I really like the idea of a hard drive dock and an internal drive or two connected to the dock.

I've had my share of clunkers over the years from both Seagate and WD. The WD Gold and Hitachi drives look intriguing with their 2,000,000 hour MTBF for a 4TB drive.

Has anyone else had experience with these drives and have insight how they compare to regular Seagate or WD drives?
with a drive dock - i intend to have a separate drive (or2) for separate backups, like pictures, music, video
with the very low prices, for a 1 tb drive  - you can afford lots of them
Peter ByeRetiredAuthor Commented:
I wound up using the StarTech SDOCK2U33V dual drive docking station (newer model for SDOCK2U33) and a Western Digital Gold Enterprise 4TB 7200rpm drive (WD4002FYYZ). This is an amalgam of almost every one of your comments!

In particular, the inputs that most influenced me were the dock (never thought of it before) and the WD Gold drive (probably overkill but I really value and am willing to pay for reliability).

So I designated more inputs as solutions than seems typical, but you all did shape my direction.

Thanks, Pete
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Thanks for the update and I was happy to help
i use old laptop drives for my they don't cost me anything (leftovers from upgraded systems with SSD)
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