How to choose a reliable removable external hard drive

Choosing a highly reliable and long operational life removable or external hard drive requires an understanding of which parameters & features are of highest impact. Here are the most important parameters & features to look for in a portable high capacity hard drive:

  1. Shock and/or Vibration: This is a leading cause for hard drive failure, especially with high capacity 3.5” form factor drives (the kind typically used in external and removable drives that are over 1 TB in capacity).  Putting this in perspective: a 3.5” form factor bare hard drive is similar to “fragile egg” – just a ¼” drop can create damage.

Most high capacity external and removable hard drives have very poor shock & vibration tolerance, and thus put your data at risk! Furthermore, careful handling during assembly of external and removable drives by manufacturers is absolutely critical to avoid shock damage to the internal bare 3.5” drive; many manufacturers are not careful enough in handling and inadvertently negatively affect the life of the drive.

  1. Temperature: Without proper cooling and ventilation, it is very easy to overheat a hard drive beyond its max operating specification (typically in the range of 50° to 60°C). Most high capacity external and removable drives, which dissipate many Watts of power as a result of requiring 12V, have inadequate cooling and ventilation, and EASILY fail to stay below their maximum temperature. This has been demonstrated as a problem with many external drives in laboratory testing. 
  2. Internal hard drive quality: Not all internal bare drives are of the same quality. Many, if not most, external and removable drives use low quality internal bare hard drives to save on cost.  Poor quality drives have higher rates of pre-mature failures.

Olixir has addressed all the above issues through deliberate design and careful internal hard drive qualification, as follows:

  • Durability via a proven, patented shock and vibration protection. Olixir offers 3 levels of shock/vibration protection for transportable external hard drives, depending on type of internal drive, ranging from 1,200 Gs to over 10,000 Gs. This level of protection makes it possible to safely transport and handle these drives. Of note, Olixir’s F33 & F43 line offer up to 6TB of “transportable” capacity, and are “best in class” in the industry for shock protection, while maintaining a small footprint. Government Computer News remarked: “…easily the most rugged drive we have ever tested” about one of Olixir’s models.
  • Effective cooling and ventilation. Olixir’s cooling and ventilation design is highly effective, as determined by a prominent U.S. Military lab, proving their superior ability to keep the internal bare drive within the operating specifications.
  • Use of high quality internal bare drives. Olixir carefully qualifies bare drives used, and is only willing to utilize the best in class manufacturers, rather than compromising quality for a low cost. That is why Olixir’s reliability (measured via warranty rate) is far superior to other external and removable drive manufacturers.


Olixir’s external and removable drives use a  ruggedized mechanical and cooling housing design that is over 12 years old, and thus, well proven with usage by a large global business and government customer base. Olixir has continued to innovate in areas like fast performance, encryption, and networked racks/towers, without compromising on the proven high reliability of the mechanical external and removable drive design. The proof: Olixir’s customer base includes military organizations worldwide that are repeat customers, thanks to the excellent operational life of Olixir drives.  Moreover, Tom’s Hardware Guide, an in-depth hardware product review publication, after reviewing Olixir’s drive thoroughly has stated:   “Olixir really does come close to fulfilling its goal of building the best external drive in the world”.

In addition to addressing the critical factors above, Olixir’s drives also feature:

  • A FIPS 140-2 encryption module (NIST certified) option.
  • High capacity of up to 6TB
  • Dust protection & splash resistance via an optional filter
  • Fast performance via USB 3.0 or eSATA cable connectivity: Olixir’s drives have been shown in official lab testing and through publications to have faster data transfers compared to other external drives. This is due to Olixir’s excellence in high speed electronic design.
  • Compatibility: Plug-and-play ease of use with most operating systems.
  • Versatility:  Olixir’s innovative interface on its external drives allows for interchangeable use with USB 3.0/2.0 or eSATA cables, or as a removable drive via a 5.25” docking bay, or inside a NAS Tower or 19” Rack..
  • Portable, handheld package: About the size of a VHS tape and smaller than other high-capacity external and removable hard drives (or bulky bare drive carriers).
  • Excellent Warranty: Backed by a two- to five-year warranty, Olixir also offers optional replacement coverage for organizations with classified data and provides helpful technical support to assist you with set up or questions for your technical environment.

An external or removable drive is a critical data storage component in business, government, and consumer applications, and long term reliability is critical when considering the cost and time of downtime. Olixir’s high capacity external and removable hard drives have been carefully engineered to be safe to transport, to protect data for the long term, to provide high performance data transfers, to keep data secure, and to be useful in virtually any environment.