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.

External HDD 3.5" - 2TB - 8TB

These larger drives use desktop-style 3.5in hard disks, which means they're better suited to sitting on a desk than being carried around in a bag, but their larger profile does mean big capacities: some of these products serve up a whopping 4TB of space. Their 7,200rpm spindle speeds mean file transfer are quicker than 2.5in drives, too.

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Direct Attached Storage / Enclosures

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.
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Tekspek An in-depth guide into tech: Firewire DAS & NAS RAID

Enclosure (2.5" - 5.25") - ThunderBolt

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.

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NAS - 5+ HDD Bays (Ex HDD)

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.

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