Portable Hard Drive Suggestions??

Hi everyone,

I am looking at buying a portable usb2 external harddrive. I am getting flooded with reviews, and more reviews, etc. about which drives are the best. So I thought I would ask on the forums to see if anyone had suggestions as to what drive I should look at getting. It needs to be a reliable, quiet, and fast drive.

I’ve been mainly looking at drives with the following specs.

  • USB2.0 and USB1.1 compliant (nice if was Mac and PC compatible as I have iMacs here at school).
  • 9ms or < 9ms seek time
  • 7200rpm(preferred) or 5400rpm.
  • small and light and cool operating temps. It would be nice if it was shock resistant. Needs to be reasonably portable.
  • Relies soley on USB power…ie no external power source. Perfectly fine if it has 2USB adapters to get power.
  • 60-80+ Gb.
  • Must have at least 8MB cache.
  • under $120So far my research has pointed me to a 60Gb FireLite drive and a Maxtor 60Gb OneTouch III Mini.

I would be using the drive in place of a USB Flash drive.



PS. I am a poor college student now and my budget is under $120 (unless it is worth the money to $130).

I had a belking 250gb hardrive with external power Usb2 £70

Its rather expensive if you want it to use a battery. You could always buy an ipod 2nd hand or so on.

OR buy a normal internal hardisk and place it in an icybox…

LaCie’s got some nice mobile HDD’s in the 40gb-80gb region probably cost you $120-$150, depending on where you get it.

I’ve got a couple of 2 Gig PNY flash drives, on sale for 80 bucks each. Very convenient. Works with MAC and Windows, probably Linux, too, but I’ve never had the occaision to try.

i personaly have fenton drive hardrives, always have curently have a 80 and a 150, and the 80 gig runs at like 90 buks

Get yourself a good “ordinary” harddrive (I hear Samsung’s got some nice and quiet ones) and a little cabinet to put it in. It’s not more expensive (I think it may be cheaper in many cases), and if you want to upgrade you only have to buy a new harddrive, not the whole thing.

I’ve got one of that variety. A 40gig 2.5" one, no external power needed. Works fine on all the operation systems I’ve tried (windows, GNU/Linux). I’m pretty sure that all current OSs should support USB storage devices without trouble, unless there happens to be something done special.

Thank you for your replies.

I don’t know: I am considering the route you suggested…buying a 2.5" harddrive and putting in a case. It appears that I will be able to get a little better than what i looking at for about the same price.

I’m thinking looking at 40-60Gb harddrives.

Checking out Seagate and Samsung today…
If you have any more suggestions, please feel free to share them.


It depends a little on what you plan to do with it. If you plan to actuallly move it around a lot, the safest bet is just a 2gig flash memory stick - it’s more than enough for most files and you can store stuff you don’t always need at the computer home or at work (or on an external harddrive there) harddrives are much more sensitive to bumps and other movement.

I wouldn’t build one. I went that route and it turned out badly and as it happened, more expensive than buying a branded external drive, which I had to do eventually because the enclosure I bought for the drive broke twice.

I now have an 80GB Lacie firewire drive and it works very well. I highly recommend Lacie products - they have been very reliable for me.

When you do get a drive, consider the format limitations for being cross-platform. NTFS is read-only on the Mac side and ms-dos has a 4GB file size limit. HFS+ I think can be read on the PC using Macdrive.

i got a 60 gig Maxtor drive (OneTouch?? i don’t know). i was only around $70, maybe cheaper, i forget. but if you’re looking for portable, this is it. fit’s in a pocket, 2 usb plugs, one for data, one for power. say’s it’ll work on PC and Mac, but it needs at least Windows 2000 (which this computer i’m on doesn’t have) or Mac OSX (if you don’t have this on a mac, you’re a loser and need to upgrade). anyway, don’t do the “make your own” method, it certainly won’t be portable when you’re done. now, if you had about $400 more lying around, Seagate (the company that bought Maxtor) just made a 1.5 terabyte external drive, in case you’re interested…hehehe…

i got a Targa case, 60Gb Laptop drive. works great looks amazing (better design than the Ipod ever had) Mmmmm yummy.

only get a USB 2.0 LAPTOP HDD, don’t even bother with one that needs a power supply you will regret it heaps


theres a problem with most 3.5 hardrvies, they requare external power supply meaning u need an electrical autlet to power it, but if u get a 2.5 drive they usualy get powered from the USB


I have been looking at 2.5" laptop drives (I noticed that they were the only ones that didn’t need external power sources.)

I am gentle with my tech devices+alot of portable harddrives seem to have some sort of shock resistance.

I did look at the Maxtor III OneTouch, If all other routes fail, I’ll probably settle with this one. I’ll take a look at LaCie (i’ve never heard of them before).

The main argument for building my own is that none of the current drives support 7200rpm (i want to get 7200 rpm if I can).

Targa? I’ll look into them(if they’re cheap :slight_smile: ).

Obviously it will be USB 2.0 (Most of the places I’m using this drive will not have Firewire)…but I want it to be compatible with USB1.1 as well (for emergencies).

I was thinking of using the FAT32 filesystem as it can be write/read by Linux, Windows, and MacOSX(so I hear). I might just end up installing a linux distro on it.

gotta run right now…

hi, I, after several ‘dodgy’ external drives bought a Maxtor 100gig external USB 2.0. It has a power supply, but generaly I carry a Two/double power adapter with me and if power outputs are in short supply I unplug a monitor and go from there. The maxtor prooved the best as I had many problems with others. It has good speed but all are slow with USB 1.1.

Hmm. Ripped apart the enclosure too, now I interchange different hard drives using the innards. Still no trouble. Thats good 'cause I think I killed the warranty. hehe

Hmm…i have no doubt that would have killed Maxtor’s warranty :slight_smile:


that is the link.

the HDD in person is beautiful, it comes with a really good carry case (very functional) and i have had no problems for about a year.

60Gb Seagate drive in mine.


Thank you very much for all the posts.

My father sent me the link below…but I can’t find any reviews of the product.

So I’m wondering, does anyone have any experience with SimpleTech external drives?

SimpleTech SP-U25/60S

Link to same drive on newegg.com (in case above link doesn’t work).

Again, anyone have any experience with these drives?

BTW…thanks AllTaken for the case suggestion. I’ll look into it. If I go the route of building my own, I’ve decided on a Hitachi 7K100 80GB drive. Now I’m looking for the case :slight_smile: (with yours being the first).

I was in BestBuy a few months ago and bought a Western Digital Passport portable USB drive that was on sale for about $80. 60GB with 5400 rpm. The other specs aren’t listed on the box. I wanted it as a third back-up drive that I could stick in my gun safe when I leave the house. It doesn’t need external power unless the laptop requires it. I’m not using a laptop, so I can’t comment there.

I wasn’t desperately seeking a drive, but the offer was too good to pass.

The only qualm I have with it is that my back-up utility doesn’t work; the little portable therefore won’t swallow a whole nother drive; however, I can save by folder. Since Blender, Gimp, Inkscape and MyDocuments are where all my work is at, I just save those folders. Fairly fast. Good 'nough for me.

Go to westerndigital.com for more info.