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The faster the hard drive, the greater the noise

Hanover (dpa) – It’s no secret that external hard drives with USB 3.0 transfer data significantly faster than USB 2.0 models. But there are a lot of differences between the various USB 3.0 models, according to a test of 14 devices by German computer magazine c’t.

Data transfer speeds depend a lot upon the drive’s rotation speed.

Velocities of 7,200 spins per minute mean transfer rates of 180 megabytes per second (MB/s). Models with velocities of 5,400 spins per minute achieved transfer rates of only 160 MB/s.

However, even the slowest model tested managed 69 MB/s, making it twice as fast as a USB 2.0 model.

But slow external drives aren’t necessarily a problem, said the testers. The faster devices can often prove problematic because they make so much noise and consume so much energy. Somewhat slower devices are significantly quieter and more energy conserving.

Additionally, external drives with large capacities – three or more terabytes, for example – can get warm very quickly when used for any length of time, especially if they’re made of plastic. Owners are advised to only turn on these devices when they are absolutely needed.