Looking For An External Hard Disk Drive?

Here Are 8 Must-Have Features To Look For Before Buying

The external hard disk drive market has exploded in the last few years, replacing CDs, floppy disks, Zip and Orb drives in a variety of applications where large volumes of data must be safely stored and even physically transported from place to place. External hard disk drives offer large capacities, sustained transfer rates up to 40 MB/s, and are easy to use, primarily due to the emergence and popularity of plug-and-play interfaces. However, while these external hard disk drives are popular, there are only a select few on the market that are reliable and rugged enough to be moved around. The fact is, very few external hard disk drives can be safely moved around without running the risk of having all of the drive’s data wiped out with one single drop or a slight knock.

Key Factors To Consider

When shopping through the hundreds of external hard disk drives on the market, consumers must consider a multitude of options, such as capacity, interface type, versatility/compatibility, backup software, warranty and the shock protection (durability) provided. While many manufacturers of external hard disk drives claim that their products are “portable”, most fall short of the durability (or shock protection) needed in order for the drive to be truly transported safely.

Here’s Your Checklist When Shopping for the Ideal External Hard Disk Drive

To help you choose the optimal external hard disk drive, here are the eight features to look for, these are based on customer surveys that reveal the most important features in the eyes of knowledgeable end users:

  1. Adequate shock and vibration protection for surviving bumps, knocks, or drops that the drive may encounter when it is moved around preferably with rubber corner bumpers. Look specifically for an external hard disk drive with a shock rating of over 1,000 Gs.
  2. Cable connection between hard drive and internal electrical interface board to ensure the connection is not compromised by shock or vibration. Call the manufacturer and ask if they use a cable or just hard connect the drive to the interface board. You will want a cable connection if your drive is ever going to be moved around.
  3. Use of through-hole components on the electrical board to avoid components falling off due to vibration or a drop. Again, call the manufacturer and ask if they use surface mount or through-hole components. If they use surface mount primarily, the drive can easily become unusable if it is subjected to shock or vibration.
  4. Use of highly reliable internal hard drive with long operational life and warranty of at least three to five years (including protection against accidental drops). Look at the warranty statement; all warranties are not the same.
  5. Large capacity, especially for video, photo and other large pieces of data. Currently, external hard disk drives have up to 500 GB of capacity per drive.
  6. Compact, handheld form factor that preferably has the ability to stand vertically.
  7. Good performance. Look for a sustained transfer rate of over 15 MB/s.

Versatility and compatibility with different interfaces such as USB 2.0, Firewire, SATA or 5.25 docking bay option (that allows the drive to be routinely and reliably ejected). Having multiple interface capability is an easy way to ensure compatibility with various different operating systems (PC, Mac, Linux).

How Many External Hard Disk Drives Meet All The Above Criteria?

Unfortunately, very few external hard disk drives have a sufficient number of the above features. Typically, you will be lucky to find drives that meet just three to four of the features, but highly critical features such as shock protection will be missing in most popular external hard disk drives on the market. Shock protection should never be compromised upon because shock is the leading cause of hard drive failure. Simply stated, without this feature, your data is at major risk if the drive is ever bumped or if it is ever transported anywhere, whether it is being carried across the hall or being shipped across the world. Not to mention it can cost thousands of dollars to recover data from a damaged drive. So, look for drives that have a track record of customers that have successfully transported data using the external hard disk drive.

Olixir Technologies is the only known company that has developed a rugged and transportable external hard disk drive that meets all of the criteria contained in the above checklist. Olixir offers two models of external hard disk drives: 1) The Mobile DataVault 3DX with unsurpassed durability (1,200 Gs of shock protection) and up to a 500 GB capacity, and 2) The Mobile DataVault 2LX with military-grade (over 10,000 Gs) shock protection, which withstands up to 7 foot drops onto concrete. Both external hard disk drive models can be safely carried around or even shipped to different sites. These drives use proprietary shock and vibration protection technology along with internal cable connections and integrated through-hole components to maximally protect against shock and vibration.