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External Hard Drives, Your Help in Making The Right Selection


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#1
Big-Vern

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Hello guys.

I am looking to buy an external hard drive for my PC. Primarily it is to be used to store my back up files. My criteria is: Cost approx £50. USB driven ie I don't want to plug another unit into the electricity supply. Must be pre-formatted. Must be Vista compatible. 160gb seems to be adequate? (I am running one PC and haven't got a huge media library). You can tell I have been doing some browsing no? Well I am still a wee bit confused. Firewire usb recommended confuses me. Difference between hard drive 'enclosures' and external hard drives confuses me. Where do combo units come in to the equation?

Any advice, suggestions or user testimonys are welcome. Thank you.
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#2
dsenette

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USB driven ie I don't want to plug another unit into the electricity supply.

BAD idea...USB power doesn't have the voltage to power a hard drive during heavy usage...it's always best to get an external drive that has it's own power source

Must be pre-formatted.

why?

Must be Vista compatible.

almost all of them will be....VERY few basic external drives require their own drivers...they just run with the standard USB drivers in windows and then the OS will detect the hard drive

160gb seems to be adequate?

as long as you're not wanting to store more than 160gb on the drive

Firewire usb recommended confuses me.

Firewire (for the moment) is capable of MUCH faster transfer speeds when compared to USB...however all PC's have USB ports (all modern ones anyway) not all PCs have firewire ports...so if you don't have firewire or you plan on moving this drive around (like taking pictures to a friends house) i'd suggest using USB

Difference between hard drive 'enclosures' and external hard drives confuses me

an external hard drive is a device that contains a hard drive and can be connected to your computer....an "enclosure" is a device that allows you to put your own hard drive into the case and connect it to your computer....basically something listed as an external hard drive...has the drive inside it already...anything listed as an enclosure requires you to puchase a hard drive and stick it in the box (which is why enclosures are always cheaper)

Where do combo units come in to the equation?

you'll need to be more descriptive as to what you mean by a combo unit
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#3
Big-Vern

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Hello dsenette.

Thank you for your swift and useful reply. I feel I am a little bit more enlightened now. Please forgive my apparent ignorance , I am somewhat a beginner at this computer malarky.

I think you have made my mind up re: power up by usb alone. I will purchase a unit that hooks up to the National grid.

Your query pre-format: I am of the 'plug in and work' mind set and I have read in the item reviews that sometimes these units are not formatted and cause all kinds of woe to noobs like me when it comes to connecting and using them.

Your Vista query: most of the units I am considering only state XP in system requirement blarbs. ergo I am concerned about compatibility issues.

Your more info on 'combo' units query: having reviewed the various units under consideration, it would appear that 'combo' units are referring to the fact that they will operate on both/either usb or firewire technology...and since I am respectful of your suggestion to go with a powered up usb connection really don't need to concern myself with that issue any longer...right?

Again please accept my gratitude for your kind attention and welcome your further comments.
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#4
dsenette

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Your more info on 'combo' units query: having reviewed the various units under consideration, it would appear that 'combo' units are referring to the fact that they will operate on both/either usb or firewire technology...and since I am respectful of your suggestion to go with a powered up usb connection really don't need to concern myself with that issue any longer...right?

AH! then yeah...that means about nothing...just means taht the drive has BOTH USB and Firewire connections
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#5
Big-Vern

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....guess so. Any thoughts on my other concerns? Thanks. Thank you. Cheers.
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