I'm looking for an external hard drive, at least 160GB, probably more, to store music, pictures, documents and backups. Some portability would be nice, but only needed four or five times a year. Seagate external 200GB(or even 400) or freecom 250GB seem likely. Any opinions...
Do a search for a 160GB External HD USB(2). Ideally you need one with it's own On/Off switch, especiall as you will only need to use it occasionally.
I use a Maxtor One Touch, this is a well made product in a sturdy case - ON/Off switch at rear, power supply and function indicator light.
Maxtor also give excellent after-sales service, with email assistance.
Also recommend using Acronis True Image for creating backups and cloning your existing HD to the external HD.
To get the best performance with an external drive, you need to have USB(2)connections on your MOB. If you only have USB(1), then you will need to purchase a USB(2) PCI Card. These are quite cheap, and plug into a spare PCI socket on your MOB.
As I recall, I think Maxtor and Lacie had the best warranties (european) at 2 years. Western Digital, Seagate and Freecom, Samsung and IBM (though unconfirmed) only offered 1 year. This is in contrast to the 3 - 5 year warranties provided for internal hard disk drives (by same manufacturers).
If you want to back up pictures taken with digital cameras, then WD had external drives with memory card readers built in. Seems nice and convenient.
Other external hard disk drives are more versatile still, and can play back a host of Divx type video files, MP3s and photos to your home entertainment system (telly). They're not as significantly more expensive as standard 'back up only' drives as you might think. Pixmania had some in. The WD memory card reader models can be purchased from the likes of Overclockers.co.uk.