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Opt for USB 3.0 systems when shopping for external drives

Berlin (dpa) – If you’re shopping for a new external drive, it’s best to opt for one with the new USB 3.0 connections, instead of the old USB 2.0 standard.

The newer standard allows data to be copied faster, reports German computer magazine Computerbild, which tested eight of each kind of drive.

Plus, 3.0 drives can still connect to USB 2.0 devices. That means, even if your computer still doesn’t have a 3.0 connection, opt for a 3.0 drive so you can benefit from the enhanced speed when you upgrade computers.

Whichever model you choose, handle an external drive with care. A test showed than only seven of the 16 models survived a drop without damage or loss of functionality.

Damage rates were especially high for the smaller 2.5-inch versions, which are designed to be portable. Only two of the eight such models tested worked after the fall test.

The 2.5-inch models also work about 30 per cent slower than the 3.5-inch versions, which can weigh up to 1.5 kilograms. But, weighing in at 200 to 300 grams lighter, the 2.5-inch models are a lot easier to handle. They can also do without power cables, since they draw energy via the USB cord.

The best price-performance ratio for external 2.5-inch models are those with 1,000 gigabytes (GB) of storage space. These can cost as little as 80 euros (106.50 dollars). If you want a 3.5-inch version, the best deals are for those with 3,000 GB, which start at 110 euros.

That kind of storage would allow a person to save so many movies it would take 10 days to view them.

External drives are also valuable for data security or for additional storage for desktop PCs, laptops and consoles, for transporting music collections or to work as central storage devices for routers or network devices.

A lot of televisions also come with USB connections these days, so they can be used to replay stored films.