Hard Drives - External
External hard disks are ideal for backup or portable file storage, and these drives come in a large range of categories: some use desktop-sized 3.5in hard disks, other use smaller 2.5in drives, and faster products use SSDs. Most drives use USB 3, Thunderbolt or eSATA connections, and these drives can come in different types of case – some are designed to be tiny, and others are ruggedized to stand up to dust, water and even fire.
Direct Attached Storage or DAS is an external storage device that is connected directly to a server or workstation without a network device in between (ie there is no hub, switch or router required) using USB, Firewire or eSATA for example. This direct connection ensures fast access to data. A DAS will work as though the hard drives are internally connected, meaning drives can be partitioned, formatted and set up like any other internal hard drive or raid array. These DAS devices are available for standalone desk or rack mounting.
These hard drive enclosures enable a 1.8" to 2.5" SATA internal hard drive to be converted into an external USB hard drive unit. Externally, these enclosures feature a USB 2 connection with some also fitted with an eSATA port, allowing a direct plug and play link up to a computer. Note that some of these enclosures are powered via their USB connection, with others using an external power adaptor, check specifications of the individual product to confirm.
- Dynatron AZEN AZ-2503 2.5" 64bit Password encrypted partition SATA to USB Ext. Enclousure inc Bag£42.49£5.48 NEXT DAY DELIVERY
Combining Super Speed USB 3.0 with a SATA hard drive interface results in an external hard drive with high data transfer rates. A 3.5" internal SATA hard drive fits into these enclosures. Power to these enclosures are either via the USB 3.0 connection or a separate power lead, check specifications of the individual product to confirm.
- Heisei HHU-335AS Aluminium Enclosure, Fits 3.5" SATA II - 3Gb/s HDD, 1 x USB 3.0£32.48£5.48 NEXT DAY DELIVERY
These external drives use mobile 2.5in hard disks, which mean they're a lot more portable than desktop drives. They've got capacities that range from 250GB to 4TB, most use super-fast USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connections, and many include backup applications and cloud storage deals for added security.
- 500GB Seagate 7 Portable HDD, Slim 7mm, 2.5" External HDD, Bus Powered, USB 3.0/2.0, PC/MAC£59.94£5.48 NEXT DAY DELIVERY
These high-end external hard disks have Wi-Fi connections, so they can be used to transfer and access files without a wired connection is being used at all - perfect if you're on the road or elsewhere in the house. They've got added versatility thanks to rapid USB 3.0 wired connections, and some come without hard disks if you'd like to save money by using existing drives.
- 500GB Seagate Wireless Portable WiFi HDD, Connect Upto 3 Devices, Upto 6 Hours Battery or Mains Power, USB 2.0, Black£59.99£5.48 NEXT DAY DELIVERY
- 1TB Seagate STCK1000200 Wireless Plus WiFi USB 3.0/2.0 External HDD upto 10Hr Battery£101.99£5.48 NEXT DAY DELIVERY
- 2TB Seagate STCK2000200 Wireless Plus WiFi USB 3.0/2.0 External HDD upto 10 Hour Battery£134.99£5.48 NEXT DAY DELIVERY
These small-scale NAS units hold one or two HDDs. While this does limit their storage capacity a little, it also keeps their size and cost down. There are options for personal and family home use with user-friendly set-ups as well as for business users in a small or home office environment with more advanced features and greater processing power. These units are not sold with hard disks so you'll need to add your own – it's best to get matching models and capacities, especially if you plan on using RAID.
- 2 Bay Asustor AS-202TE Intel 1.2GHz Dual Core,1GB DDR3, Gbit LAN, USD 3.0 & SATA III, Wol, System Sleep Mode HDMI£143.99FREE DELIVERY ON YOUR ENTIRE BASKET
These medium-size NAS units hold three or four HDDs. Entry-level units are great for home users and prosumers with lots of HD media and other data that needs centralising, while more advanced units come with faster processors and more advanced security and RAID features for business and surveillance users. These units are not sold with hard disks so you'll need to add your own – it's best to get matching models and capacities, especially if you plan on using RAID.
These NAS units are the largest around, offering five HDD bays at a minimum and ten or more in many cases. They are typically geared towards advanced users who need plenty of storage space, and many are supplied in rackmount cases for use in industry and large-scale businesses. These units are not sold with hard disks so you'll need to add your own – it's best to get matching models and capacities, especially if you plan on using RAID.
NAS (network attached storage) device accessories, including drive bay adaptors, rack and rail mounting kits, power supplies and warranty extension programs. They tend to be suitable only for specific NAS units, so check yours is compatible.
- Thecus N7700SAS / N8800SAS Replacement (Spare) Disk on Module (DOM)£24.98£5.48 NEXT DAY DELIVERY
These NAS units are sold with hard disks bundled, saving you the trouble of buying them yourself. They come in a range of sizes and capacities, from single bay 2TB units suitable for modest personal users all the way to large, multi-bay units with 16TB, 24TB or even 32TB of storage on tap. These units do not come pre-configured, giving you the chance to set them up as you see fit, including what RAID level you want to use, if any.