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4/22/2008
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External Hard Drives Buyer's Guide

We assess 25 of the hottest external hard disk drives from Cavalry, Iomega, LaCie, Maxtor, Seagate, Western Digital, and more.

Iomega

Perhaps best known for its Zip drive series, Iomega also has a wide range of external storage solutions on tap. It was just purchased by EMC and that should add additional credence to its product line.




Iomega eGo
(click for image gallery)

eGO
Capacity: 160, 250, 320 GB
Interface: USB, FireWire
Durability Rating: Tip-over
Transfer Rate: 480 Mbps, 400 Mbps
External Power Supply: No
Fan: No
Dimensions: 0.75" x 3.5" x 5.25"
Weight: 7.68 oz.
Price: $140 (250 GB)
Web Site

We singled out the eGO drive line-up because it's brightly colored and eye-catching. That's important when you're whipping an external hard drive out of your pocket in front of your friends. The eGo is available in both USB-only or USB/FireWire versions and in 160-, 250-, and 320-GB sizes. (The dual interface versions stop at 250 GB.) Iomega calls it "extremely durable," thanks to its DropGuard foam protector feature.

LaCie

LaCie is a prolific hard drive vendor with its fingers on the pulse of desktop, network, and mobile drive configurations. It doesn’t manufacture the drives themselves, but if you have an application for one, LaCie probably has a packaged solution for you.




LaCie Little Disk
(click for image gallery)

Little Disk
Capacity: 120, 160, 250, 320 GB
Interface: USB, FireWire
Durability Rating: Tip-over
Transfer Rate: 480 Mbps, 400 Mbps
External Power Supply: No
Fan: No
Dimensions: 3.19" x 5.08" x 0.71"
Weight: 6.88 oz.
Price: $81 (160 GB)
Web Site

The Little Disk is one of the most elegant designs we've seen. It's available in 120-, 160-, 250-, and 500-GB capacities and connects via USB or FireWire. Included "1-click" backup and LaCieSync software gives you push-button backup capability, as well as data synchronization with the source computer.




LaCie Rugged Disk
(click for image gallery)

Rugged Disk
Capacity: 120, 160, 200, 250, 320, 500 GB
Interface: USB
Durability Rating: Desk to floor
Transfer Rate: 480 Mbps
External Power Supply: No
Fan: No
Dimensions: 5.7" x 3.5" x 1"
Weight: 8.8 oz.
Price: $180 (250 GB)
Web Site

It may look like a giant orange chicklet, but LaCie's Rugged Disk keeps your hard drive sandwiched between a shock-resistant rubber sleeve and an aluminum shell. Called "Rugged," LaCie actually describes the drive as, "resistant to harsh elements for extra protection along the road of your adventures." It's rated at a 35-inch drop in nonoperating mode. The triple interface (USB, FireWire, FireWire 800) drive is available in 120-, 160-, 200-, 250-, 320-, and 500-GB capacities and, according to LaCie, it's compatible with the Mac's Time Machine backup software.

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