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What is a good external hard drive for storing photos?

What is a good external hard drive for storing photos?

Say, you have a older laptop or PC with (or even newer, with low built in storage space), you are going to want a storage solution that will allow you to store a significant amount of large files with great compatibility and functionality. External storage drives are great for their portability and to give you the peace of mind to use an external hard drive to give you backup options from your PC, so as not lose files. For Example Western Digital, an industry leader in external drives, with their WD My Book and WD My Passport provide unbelievably fast transfer speeds, improving your workflow by increasing efficiency, and providing high capacity storage devices. They also offer a cloud storage backup service which can be accessed from the Western Digital app. There are other amazing external hard drives available on the market today from Sandisk like their Sandisk Professional lineup and Seagate which offers the Seagate Expansion external drive, G-Drive hard disks by Google and of course Samsung, an industry leader. You can also look at the Lacie Rugged lineup of external hard drives.

The best external hard drives will offer these specs as well as a plethora of others. Because of advancements in technology and the newer slimmer designed form factor of many external hard drives, you can get a great portable SSD (or Solid State Drive) with great data transfer speeds, many being able to transfer data from one device to your external hard drive in over a gigabyte per second, making file transfers fast and precise. A portable hard drive does not mean that you have to sacrifice on specs, as a matter of fact the best portable hard disk drives like rugged SSD drives will also have compatibility with your Android or Apple iPhone. You may need an adapter to have the phone be able to read what is on the external hard drive. Now that Apple has moved away from it’s Lightning Connector cables to USB-C with the iPhone 15 models, there should be more uniformity in connecting Android and Apple products to your external storage drive.

Regardless of whether you are using a Windows PC, or a MAC running MACOS, having a great external hard drive with the right backup software for your operating system will give you additional peace of mind. You don’t want to be in a situation where something happens to your main PC or laptop and you lose all of your locally saved data. Having the added storage capacity of an external hard drive whether that be an HDD or Hard Disk Drive or an SSD (Solid State Drive) or the newer even faster nvme hard drive which has transfer rates and read/write speeds 3-4 times faster than a SATA SSD drive. These make for great built in desktop hard drives. If you are wanting to add to your desktop hard drives you may not need to go for a slimmer smaller form factor as if your are not looking for portability for your new hard drive, a larger external hard drive that can potentially hold up to 8 GB of storage is definitely something to explore.

Connectivity from your new external hard drive should also plentiful with both USB-A USB 3.0 type C or above for fast charging and transferring data. This gives you the option of using the faster USB-C port for charging and transferring data. With additional connectivity ports on some external hard drives like thunderbolt 3 connector which can operate at up to 40 GB/s, you are future proofing your external SSD.

External hard drives come in many form factors and with storage space that could equal 4 terabytes or more. With all of that possible storage, videographers will love the peace of mind that they can handle those long Vlog sessions without having to look for additional storage.

We do highly recommend that you set up password protection on your external hard drive if so equipped as you don’t want your personal information, files, documents, photos and videos to be able to be accessed without your consent. You may want to look into a two factor authorization for access to your hard drive (if offered) for additional security. Please also note that your new hard drive may require a reformat depending on usage. The needs for which you are using the hard drive will tell you if there is a specific format option to use. Speaking of safety and security, you will want to ensure that your new external hard drive has 256-bit AES hardware encryption. With hackers and scammers being more and more prevalent in todays highly technological world, you want the utmost in protection.

HDD or SSD Drives

Some FAQs to consider when looking for the best external hard disk drives are choices between an HDD and SSD. HDDs are an older form factor for desktop hard drives, these have a metal platter with a magnetic coating that stores your data. The usually contain a number of moving parts which can lead to degradation or decay of the platter over time. An SSD or faster Solid State Drive keeps it’s data stored on interconnected flash-memory chips. These keep the data stored even when there is no power flowing through them. This is in the same vein as HDDs as they don’t lose their data when power is shut off to the computer or the external hard drive. Let’s also not forget NAS drives or NAS servers which are which are network attached storage devices. Meaning you can read or write media to the NAS external hard drive from any PC, laptop or media device on your network.

With compatible apps, you can make post processing and editing changes to your exposures. Using software like Adobe Lightroom or other photoshop software, edit, crop and make any editing changes you desire to get the most out of your high quality photos and videos. Let’s say you want to blur the background during photo editing to create a beautiful Bokeh effect, or change things like zoom, crop, color balance, making these and other final changes to your exposure, especially if it was shot in RAW format gives you great freedom to do so.

Because of the difference if read/write speeds, data transfer rates and longevity, we recommend a faster SSD drive versus an older HDD that might only have a platter spin rate of 7200 RPM. We have personally had HDD platters decay on us over time. This would have been catastrophic if we didn’t have a great external hard drive which we set to backup our files several times a week. Usually the schedule for backups can be set by the user.

So to break down some of the speeds that you can expect SSDs get an average of read/write speeds of approximately 550 and 520 MB/s respectively (depending on the model), while HDD usually only read/write speeds of approximately 125 MB/s. If you use an NvME drive in the PCI interface in your PC you can achieve up to three times faster speeds than a traditionally attached SSD drive via SATA cable.

Recommended External Hard Drives

Based off the specs and features that an external hard drive should have, we have compiled several recommendations for some of the best external hard drives offering a good amount of storage with tremendous read/write speeds.

The first external disk drive we want to explore is the Samsung T9 2TB Portable SSD. This is a large 2 Terabyte external hard disk drive that Samsung has said delivers up to 2,000 MB/s read and write speeds thanks to it’s USB 3.2 Gen 2 x 2, meaning you will feel an improvement in the efficiency and speed of your workflow. There are some other amazing specs and features of this external hard disk drive.

With the Dynamic Thermal Guard included, overheating of your external hard drive is a thing of the past. We all know when electronics get too hot, you experience a reduction in performance and a quicker deterioration of your device.

The Samsung Magician Software, which is can be downloaded to your PC or MAC provides firmware updates, extra encryption, and overall disk health monitoring.

Contains the previously mentioned 256-bit AES hardware encryption for secure data protection. You don’t want your personal information falling into the wrong hands. In addition, if you are connected to Wi-Fi when using this external hard drive we recommend having WPA 3 security on your router. If you are using this as a portable external hard drive and plan to use it in a coffee shop for example, we highly recommend using a VPN (or Virtual Private Network) which will help protect your data.

This is a durable and rugged SSD with resistance to damage on drops of up to 9.8 feet. More added peace of mind that you can get great longevity from this external disk.

The next SSD drive we feel would make a great addition to your electronics stable is the Samsung T9 4TB Portable SSD. This amazing hard drive has many of the specs and features of the previously mentioned 2 Terabyte option.

Besides for comparable specs to the 2 terabyte option which you get 2,000 MB/s read and write speeds thanks to it’s USB 3.2 Gen 2 x 2 (upgraded over the Gen 1 x 1, this SSD drive offers a ridiculous amount of 4 terabytes of storage. While having a portable SSD is great, you want one with all of the features and specs that give you those fantastic transfer rates, read/write speeds and peace of mind that you will not have degradation of an HDD platter.

The other specs and features mentioned on the 2 TB model apply to the 4 TB model as well. In addition, Samsung includes an amazing 5 year warranty for added contingencies if something happens to your original drive.


Now that we have established the differences between an HDD, a SSD Drive and NvME drive, you can make an informed decision as to which type of drive suits your needs. Keep in mind as HDDs are an older technology, if you are operating on a budget, this may be the way to go. If you are looking for the best external hard disk drives from a USB flash drive, or an external hard drive for desktops or one that are made for portability, we feel that an SSD drive or NvME will suit your needs perfectly.

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