Plugging in an external hard drive is the quickest and most cost-effective way to add massive storage space to your computer system. The sweet spot these days is the one terabyte (TB) external hard drive, which you can commonly buy for less than $200. That’s the equivalent of 1000 gigabytes (GB) or a million megabytes (MB), all in a box little more than the size of a couple of DVD cases.
This can give your PC a welcome capacity boost for storing your fast-growing libraries of digital music, photos and video files, as well as the essential task of backing up your PC.
We review 10 external 1TB hard drives to see how they compared for performance, ease of use and features.
- Buffalo DriveStation USB 2.0 HD-CE1.0TU2
- LaCie Hard Disk Hi-Speed USB 2.0 1TB
- Freecom Hard Drive XS 1TB
- Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme External Drive 1TB
- WD MyBook Studio Edition 1TB
- WD MyBook Essential Edition 1TB
- Iomega Prestige Desktop Hard Drive 1TB
- Seagate External Desktop 1TB Hard Drive
- Transcend 1TB StoreJet 35U
- Verbatim 3.5” External HD USB 2.0 1TB
How we test
Testing is done using PCs for USB, eSATA and FireWire 400. The FireWire 800 test is done using Apple Mac computers, on which this interface is commonly available. The tester measures and scores the average throughput rate for reading data and for writing data, in megabits per second (Mbps).
Performance Our tester times the transfer of 10GB of data (large and small files) between the computer and drives using USB 2.0, FireWire 400 & 800 and eSATA, noting both read and write speeds. The drive’s performance is measured using all available interfaces.
Ease of use He asseses their ease of use by judging how simple it is to set up and use the hardware and any related software. This includes the device itself, on-screen menus, and the remote control.