Consider buying portable external drive – asking for advice/experiences

Forum Forums General Hardware Consider buying portable external drive – asking for advice/experiences

  • This topic has 18 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated Nov 21-12:59 pm by fatmac.
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      I much prefer an external drive with a standard connection internally and would not have bought the WD one if I had known. If you already have an extra HDD or SSD, you can even just buy an empty enclosure that’s the right size and connector.
      EDIT: I forgot to mention that the WD Elements drive also has a proprietary connection externally, which is another problem since cables don’t last forever, either.

      My understanding is that the drive interface continues to be SATA in those external drives to go but they omit the standard SATA connectors inside and they solder them to the USB circuitry. This makes it impossible to swap the internal drives with such soldered circuitry to their USB interface.
      So if the USB interface goes bad it is not possible to recover data by removing the actual internal (otherwise good) SATA drive and connect to another SATA connector.
      This is bad design and to be avoided in my opinion. I do not know what other external drive manufacturers do that.
      The best design used to be Seagate external drive which had detachable SATA-To-USB connector. They called this USM. I got two of such Seagate drives when they were still available. You can detach that USM connector and connect to any other SATA laptop drive. Great design. I am using these Seagate USM connectors on a whole bunch of my laptop drives, just plugging in directly to the drive.

      • This reply was modified 6 months ago by olsztyn.

      Live antiX Boot Options (Previously posted by Xecure):

      Brian Masinick

        I just got four additional USB Flash Drives, each 64 GB capacity, so I can put together plenty of additional Frugal snapshots, backups, whatever suits my mood.

        Regarding the @BobC approach to use “3.5″ SATA-3 SSD’s which I then mounted in cases that came with USB 3.0 connectors. Since I’ve been doing that a while, they range from 32 mb to 500 mb. Maybe today it would make sense to buy setups 50% larger than your current need, and get 2 to have multiple copies (father/grandfather) in case one ever goes bad. All the ones I’ve bought have been quite fast (good brands, too), and none have had any troubles. I’ve replaced my laptop drives with SSD’s, too, and so I use the old HDD’s for backups as well.”

        This is an excellent idea! It takes advantage of inexpensive SSD devices, which are SO much faster than rotating HDD, but instead of tossing those rotating devices in the dumpster, you use them as backup devices. For those who are concerned about the SSD devices losing data, redundancy of SSD devices coupled with frequent backups – possibly to old HDD and if you want to be super certain, occasionally get some Flash Drives and perform additional backups; then you get fast disk reads and writes with inexpensive SSD technology, stable backups with old HDD AND removable backups that can be stored as safely or as removable as you wish.

        By the way, for those who may not know the acronyms, HDD is Hard Disk Drive, SSD is Solid State Drive. SATA (also referred to as Serial ATA) stands for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, an industry-standard bus interface for connecting a computer’s host bus adapter to storage devices such as hard disk drives (HDD), optical drives and solid-state drives (SSD).

        Brian Masinick

        Brian Masinick

          Regarding SATA, most serial interfaces do use SATA, at least based on my understanding. There may be exceptions but if any, not many exceptions.

          Brian Masinick


            Most of my external long term back up HDDs are in proper cases, all other external drives, HDD & SSD, I just connect using USB to SATA cables, works well for me, & saves buying extra external cases…

            I found that the larger (32GB) USB3 pendrives that I bought, are exceedingly slow to write to, but OK at reading…..this put me off buying any more… will stick with USB2 pendrives, which are perfectly adequate, for what I use them for, (mainly for installing or running ‘live’ distros).

            I have also now got 2x (240GB & 256GB) external M2 SATA drives in (USB3) hard cases, these seem to work well, I’ll be using them on my RPi4B/RPi400 & my thin clients.

            Linux (& BSD) since 1999
            Ultra Small Form Factor & thin client computers

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