The latest trend in external storage is the external solid state drive (SSD). With no moving parts and super-sized storage, an external solid state drive is the perfect portable companion for your laptop or notebook computer.
Why are they becoming so popular? Three major features set an external solid state drive apart from its disk drive-based counterparts; data access speed, durability, and size.
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Just remember that if you’re already spending a good chunk of change on an external disk drive, the extra money spent on an SSD drive may net you a longer service life. On the other hand, you may not need all the capability of a solid state hard drive and an external disk drive may be the best choice based on price.
External disk drives, portable hard drives, and external DVD drives are the technology of the past. SSD is the future. To get the future you’re going to pay more so you have to pay attention to trends to get the best value.
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The landscape keeps changing, but at the time of this writing, the approximately 512GB external solid state drive appears to be the sweet spot for external SSDs with the 1TB external hard drive and the 2TB external hard drive not far behind. There are many to choose from so how do you pick the best one for your needs? Let’s take a look at the most popular features of an SSD hard drive.
Read/Write Data Access Speed
You’re already familiar with non-volatile memory digital memory if you use a thumb drive or flash drive. Non-volatile means that the data does not go away when you turn off the drive like RAM does. SSD drives are also non-volatile, but they are faster and more reliable than your thumb drive.
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A portable hard drive or hard disk drive is mechanical and requires time to get up to speed. They also work better when the files they are accessing are closest to the hub and are contiguous (all one piece) on the drive. When hard disks get fragmented with large files being stored in multiple segments on a disk, performance suffers.
External solid state drives are completely digital and require virtually no time to get up to speed. All the files on an SSD drive are also equally accessible and there is no need for defragging as is often the case with hard disk drives.
If you use an SSD as your boot drive, you can experience much faster boot times than with a typical hard disk drive.
Since an external solid state drive has no moving parts, it is inherently more durable than an external hard disk drive which is a complicated mechanical device.
SSD devices can be much smaller and lighter than external HDD devices making them more like a super-fast thumb drive than an external drive.
Even portable external hard disk drives which are theoretically designed to take more abuse than a standard hard disk drive are more susceptible to damage from dropping than an external SSD device.
Data Transfer Speed
Choose a drive with the latest USB 3.0 capability. They are backward compatible with USB 2.0, but really shine when connected to a USB 3.0 port. With data transfer speeds up to 10 times that of USB 2.0, it’s well worth the additional cost to get USB 3.0.
How to Install an SSD and Load Windows
SSD devices are currently more expensive than flash drives or hard disk drives in cost per megabyte. Over time as SSD goes more mainstream, the prices will come down. In the meantime, expect to pay more for this future technology.
We’ve assembled what we consider to be the top 5 external solid state drives generally available. Take a look and see if one of these 512GB external SSDs is the perfect solution for your storage needs!
External Solid State Drive: Top 5 External 512GB SSD Storage
#5 – MyDigitalSSD 512GB PocketVault SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Portable External Solid State Storage Drive SSD (512GB)
MyDigitalSSD claims that their MyDigitalSSD 512B PocketVault SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Portable External SSD is the least expensive, high-capacity external SSD on the market. With new models being released and the price coming down almost daily, by the time you read this article, somebody else may be able to make this claim. With an ultra-portable design, fast read/write data access speeds, and 512GB of storage space, this model definitely has it all. Here’s what you need to know.
- Ultra-portable, durable, and shock-resistant design
- Support super-fast USB 3.0 data transfer and backward compatible with USB 2.0
- Fast read/write speeds of 240/170MB/s
- Compact being only a hair wider than a business card
- Combined with TrueCrypt software, users can password protect files and keep them from prying eyes
- Faster and more reliable than thumb drives, it also stores many times more data
- PHISON PS2251-01 (BGA289) microflash controller with onboard 32-bit processor
- Built-in USB port supports in-system programming
- Compatible with PC, Mac, and Linux OS
- 1-Year limited warranty
- Very small, lightweight, and portable
- Fast and reliable
- Good security
- Needs separate USB cable
- Warranty not as long as some
The U32 Shadow 512GB USB 3.0 SSD incorporates a high-performance Solid State Drive (SSD) to provide fast, silent, and durable performance. With an ultra-compact size, it fits easily into your pocket for maximum portability. The U32 Shadow is capable of read speeds over 400 MB/s when connected to a USB 3.0 port — up to 10 times faster than USB 2.0. Powered by the USB bus, the Shadow requires no external power adapter or drivers, making it the perfect portable storage solution. This model is very durable able to withstand high impact operating shock forces of 1500Gs. It is deal for A/V professionals and users who require the greatest combination of durability, portability and speed. Here’s what you need to know.
- Stylish and durable aluminum body is engineered to dissipate heat effectively
- Ultra-fast data transfer rates of up to 400MB/s using SuperSpeed USB 3.0
- Much tougher than disk drives, this model is able to withstand high impact operating shock forces of 1500Gs
- Super-efficient Block Management and Wear Leveling increases longevity
- Compact, pocket-sized design is very portable
- Backward compatible with USB 2.0
- Powered by USB, it needs no external power adapter
- Lone 3-Year limited warranty
- USB 3.0 cable
- Backup Software
- User Guide
- 10GB Lifetime Cloud Backup account with pre-installed SpiderOak software
Dimensions are 4.9 x 2.9 x 0.48 inches and it weighs in at a mere 8 oz.
Compatible with Windows XP/Vista/7/8 and above, MAC OS 10.2 and above, and Linux 2.4.22 and above
- Reliable and fast storage
- Very compact and lightweight
- Sturdy protective carrying case
- Good value
- Not as stylish as some
- Some complaints that on USB 3.0 not as fast as desired
- Several USB cable complaints
- Aluminum case is poor quality
#3 – MyDigitalSSD OTG (On The Go) mSATA Based SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Portable External Solid State Storage Drive SSD (512GB)
The MyDigitalSSD OTG (On The Go) mSATA-Based SuperSpeed USB 3.0 512GB Portable External SSD is a marvel because of its diminutive size. Weighing-in at about 1 ounce, it is nearly 1/4th the size of most external SSD devices. If you’re looking for the ultimate in portability and pocketability, this model meets that requirement and comes with some great features, too. Fast, fast data transfer rates of 460MB/s combined with a durable design make this model a traveler’s dream. Here’s what you need to know.
- Amazingly small and ultra-portable lightweight design is only about ¼ the size of most 2.5 inch HDD or SSD devices and weighs only 1 oz.
- Fast USB 3.0 real data transfer rates up to 460MB/s
- Its power-saving design gives you lower CPU utilization, extended battery life, and faster and more efficient transfers by reducing wait time and maximizing bandwidth utilization
- UASP Compliance makes this SSD suitable for any task. You can run your OS, play games, stream media, and use installed programs directly from your drive
- This pocket-sized wonder reduces wait times and maximizes bandwidth utilization, enabling faster and more efficient transfers while helping lower CPU utilization for extended battery life for on-the-go users.
- Guaranteed compatibility with all USB devices including USB 3.0 and USB 2.0
- Durable and shock-resistant design combined with SSD technology and a tough outer case eliminates your concern about the safety of your files
- Long 3-Year limited warranty
- Small, fast, and reliable
- Easy configuration and use
- Good value
- Nice design and styling
- Only get 480GB usable out of 512GB
- Needs longer cable
- Feels a bit flimsy
The Transcend 512 GB USB 3.0 External Solid State Drive features a UASP-compliant SuperSpeed USB 3.0 connection interface, relatively compact size, and light weight of only about 2 oz. It’s not the smallest SSD in our list being more the size of a playing card than a business card, but it’s still easily pocket-sized and very portable. It also comes with a unique, convenient One Touch auto-backup button for instant data backup and synchronization using the included Transcend Elite software. Here’s what you need to know.
- UASP-compliant, next-generation SuperSpeed USB 3.0 connection interface with fast read and write speeds of up to 410MB/s and 380MB/s respectively
- Convenient One Touch auto-backup button using Transcend Elite software for instant data backup and synchronization
- Informative dual-color LED power/data transfer activity indicator
- Comes with exclusive Transcend Elite Data Management software tools that help you stay organized, protected, and up-to-date
- Dimensions are 3.6L x 2.44W x 0.41H inches and it weighs about 2 oz.
- Two-year limited warranty
- 1 – USB 3.0 cable
- 1 – Protective travel pouch
- Amazingly compact and thin
- Super fast data transfer
- Great value
- Sturdy construction
- Downloadable software poor design
Compact and portable, the Samsung T1 Portable 500GB USB 3.0 External SSD is also durable and fast. Embedded with the latest cutting edge security algorithm to secure your data you won’t have to worry about prying eyes. One of the most stylish drives in our list, it features a sleek premium design with laser patterning and black chrome metalized finishing. Here’s what you need to know about this Samsung SSD.
- Super fast read/write speeds of up to 450MB/s driven by Turbo Write Technology
- Sleek premium design features laser patterning and black chrome metalized finish
- Cutting-edge security using AES 256 bit encryption algorithm and Easy Password Protection
- Dynamic Thermal Guard protect your data in high-temperature situations
- Compact dimensions of 2.8L x 2.0W x 0.4H inches
- Amazingly compact and lightweight
- Super fast even on USB 2.0
- Sturdy construction and stylish design
- Elegant design
- Cable too short
- Cable unreliable (need to replace immediately)
- Some driver problems reported on Mac
External Solid State Drive Comparison Chart
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What do you think of these SSDs? Which external SSD are you planning to buy? Please take a moment to leave a comment below.
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