External hard drive or portable hard drive

  wildhouse 19:31 19 Nov 2008

I want to go an external hard drive to back up my desktop and store photos - I want to get a Seagate FreeAgent GO hard drive - but should I buy a desktop hard drive or a portable hard drive? What is the difference (in layman's terms!). Thanks.

  FreeCell 19:40 19 Nov 2008

Desktop units will have a separate power brick to provide the power required.

Portable units use power from the USB cable connection.

If you intend carrying it around a lot with a laptop then portable is the one to go for. If you intend using it with a desktop as you suggest then you won't mind having a permanent power supply block (?)

Hope that helps.

  csqwared 19:42 19 Nov 2008

My understanding is that 'desktop' hard drives are the ones fitted inside the tower of a PC, portable hard drives are exactly that. The Seagate you mention will do what you want.

  wildhouse 19:46 19 Nov 2008

I want to use it as a separate drive from my PC which I could also occasionally use to back up my daughter's laptop. I was thinking of one that uses just 1 x USB 2 to power up the drive as I don't have a spare power socket! (also only have one spare USB on the front of the desktop)

  tullie 20:28 19 Nov 2008

I have an external desktop hard drive,it is as Freecell describes.

  FreeCell 10:11 20 Nov 2008


Both types of external hard drive will need the USB port and as you have no available spare power socket then a portable would be the one to choose.

Suggest you connect it direct to a USB port on the desktop, not using a USB hub, as this will ensure that you get the full available power from the USB port.

The other one to consider is the Western Digital My Passport. Good price at Amazon. click here .

  wildhouse 19:07 20 Nov 2008

Many thanks for all help and advice. I will probably get a USB hub for things like my webcam and speakers and then use the freed up USB for the hard drive.

  wildhouse 22:23 09 Jan 2009

I ended up getting a Freecom 160GB 2.5" external drive. It is very compact and has already served it's purpose. I gave one to my daughter for Christmas which she found very boring, however, she is now very glad to have got one as her laptop drive (see thread "Dell laptop - message saying no drive detected")does not seem to be working and thankfully all her assignments have been saved to the external drive, too.

  woodchip 22:27 09 Jan 2009

Size I think, one may use a Laptop Drive and other a Desktop drive both do exact same thing but Laptop does not need external power supply it will work ok just from USB. But will be smaller in Gb size

  wildhouse 22:39 09 Jan 2009

I actually bought 2 of the drives (Freecom Mobile Drive XXS 160GB USB) - I am using one on my desktop as I don't have any more sockets for an adaptor and it plugs very neatly in to one of the spare USB sockets on the front my 6 year old Dell Dimension - my daughter is thankfully using the other on her Dell Inspiron laptop (less pleased with that - only 17 months old, already had a replacement battery and now the drive may have gone). The Freecom is compact enough to put in a jacket pocket - it is about the same size as my pocket diary!

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