by Ty Arthur
Installing an internal hard drive is often a more complex procedure than most computer users are comfortable with. If you need extra storage space but don't want to crack open your computer's case, buy an external hard drive instead. External hard drives connect directly to one of your computer's ports and allow you to either backup old data or store entirely new files. There are many different specifications to consider when shopping for a new external hard drive.
Take into account the amount of space on your computer's internal hard drive. Check the amount of space you are currently using and find out the average size of the files you use. Consider the physical space available on your desk and decide if you want a flat or vertical-standing external hard drive.
Look for an external hard drive that is at least as large as your internal hard drive if you plan to continue adding new files at the same rate. Consider an external hard drive with an even larger capacity than your existing hard drive if you will be using large files, such as videos or computer games.
Consider the data transfer rate of the hard drive. An external hard drive with a data transfer rate of 480 megabytes per second will transfer data to and from your internal hard drive much more quickly than one with a transfer rate of 90 megabytes per second.
Check the spindle speed of the external hard drive. A drive with a spindle speed of 7,200 rotations per minute (RPM) will save and modify data more quickly than one that only has a speed of 5,400 RPM.
Examine the types of ports you have on your computer. Some external hard drives utilize a USB connection while others use a Firewire connection.
If you don't find a pre-built external hard drive that meets your needs, make your own by acquiring an internal hard drive, an external drive bay case and a USB cable.
When comparing the storage capacity of hard drives, keep in mind that 1,000 megabytes is equal to one gigabyte and 1,000 gigabytes is equal to one terabyte.