Portable SSD Hard Drives
A reader asks: 'I am in the market for a portable hard drive, and considering a solid state drive (SSD). What are the benefits of an SSD over regular portable external drives, and are there any specific SSD models you can recommend?' Read on for my advice on buying a portable solid state drive...
Should You Buy a Portable SSD?
An external hard drive for backups or additional file storage is a good idea. A portable drive that fits in your purse or pocket, and doesn't require an AC power cable is ideal if you have multiple computers, or you need to tote hundreds of gigabytes from place to place.
The choice you have to make is whether to get a standard "spinning magnetic disk" external drive, or a solid state SSD drive. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of the latter choice.
The obvious advantages of a solid-state drive (SSD) are speed and durability. SSDs store data in nonvolatile flash memory, which provides nearly immediate access to files on the drive. And there are no shock-sensitive moving parts such as spinning magnetic disks or careening read-write heads. Therefore, SSDs are inherently more rugged than their magnetic counterparts. Many laptops use internal SSDs because of the small form factor.
But a new breed of portable solid state drives are arriving on the market, which have been engineered to extremes of ruggedness. So who wouldn't want a portable SSD? The answer is: many people who get a glimpse of the eye-watering price tags that portable SSDs carry.
With a non-SSD drive, you get a lot more storage for the money, and the drives come in larger capacities. You can find a portable magnetic 1 Terabyte (1000 GB) external drive for under $100. A portable SSD the same size would cost about ten times as much. But for some people, portable SSDs make good sense, especially if you don't need a huge amount of storage space.
Which Portable SSD is Right For Me?
Here are a few portable SSDs to consider, each with its own unique features.
Seagate’s Backup Plus Fast SSD Portable Drive holds 256 GB of data in a case 113 x 76 mm that fits in a shirt pocket with room to spare for a pen protector. Its USB 3.0 interface is three times faster than USB 2.0, achieving transfer speeds up to 480 MBps. It comes with Seagate Dashboard™ backup and restore software which works with the iOS or Android version of the Seagate Mobile Backup app. Right now, Seagate is discounting this SSD to $219.99 including free shipping.
The Lacie Rugged Thunderbolt SSD is a step up in capacity (500 GB) and ruggedness. Encased in a rubbery cushion, this tough little SSD can take a beating. The Rugged Thunderbolt also comes in a 1TB magnetic media version so be sure to look for the “SSD” in the name. This model sells for around $500 at B&H Photo online.
For a mere $1200, give or take a few bucks, you can have a 1-TB ioSafe Rugged Portable Solid State Drive. It can survive a 20-foot fall; 5,000 pounds of crushing pressure; and immersion in up to 30 feet of water for 72 hours. PC Magazine even froze one in ice for a while and it worked fine when thawed out. If you need a large capacity portable SSD drive that can tumble off a cliff and get run over by a truck, or you go swimming in Arctic waters with your hard drive in your pocket, this is the one you need.
What About Flash Drives?
Perhaps you're wondering "Isn't a USB Flash Drive the same as a Portable External SSD Drive?" The answer is YES. Flash drive = Solid State = SSD. I've focused on drives that are 256GB or larger in this article, but you can find lots of smaller flash drives at prices that are much easier on the wallet.
The SanDisk Extreme CZ80 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive is on sale for $36.99 at Amazon as I write this. And there's a PNY Turbo 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive for just $19.99. You can't complain about the price; just don't drop either of these in your iced tea.
Flash drives that are shock-resistant or have additional features such as encryption or backup software will cost more. Be sure to look for a drive that's USB 3.0 compatible, as it will offer much faster file transfer speeds than the older USB 2.0 standard.
Do you have a portable solid-state hard drive? Tell me all about it! Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 5 Dec 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Portable SSD Hard Drives (Posted: 5 Dec 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved