questionswhat is the largest portable hard drive without…

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OK so additional requirements. Big as I can get for 70$

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I have a Western Digital 640GB "Essentials" external USB 2.0 hard drive that I use primarily for extra storage on my work laptop. I have had no problems with any of the WD external drives I have owned.

It is powered entirely from the USB port, so no AC adapter. It is a little over your budget, but the 750 GB version of the same drive is on sale for only $80 with free shipping at Newegg.com:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136541

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I posted this deal this morning for you. It matches your budget and is the EXACT same drive I own, so it's clearly the best. Yes, I am a computer professional, and no, I won't fix your computer for you.

http://deals.woot.com/deals/details/9c1cb11a-d844-40b4-914d-e83e5dc7c014/western-digital-elements-640gb-2-5-usb-powered-external-hard-drive

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So I think I am going to go with this one:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4057208#

Iomega® Prestige™ 500GB Portable Hard Drive $69.99

While it is slightly smaller Radio Shack sent me a coupon in the mail so that if I buy it in store they will give me a 25 Gift Card. Since there are other gifts I want to buy there that nets out as costing only $44.99 which seems like a pretty good deal.

Can anyone beat that ?

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@djbowman: That's a great deal, and the drive has many good reviews on Amazon.

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@djbowman: Many of the suggestions given are pretty legit - I've got a WD that is decent. Iomega has done fairly well. Toshiba is usually good too. Lacie is one that I'd recommend that's usually higher-end.

Quick clarification that may be slightly esoteric: Typically when you say "portable hard drive," it implies a drive that is not only external, but powered by the USB port or otherwise. Those that require an external power brick are generally referred to as "external hard drives." So, that's the general rule, though keep in mind that some retailers don't always follow that rule in their labeling. Good luck in the search, and hopefully that helps you in distinguishing which drives meet your requirements.

Oh, and one other point is that though e-SATA is far superior in speeds for external drives, they will always be that - external drives, since they require another power source, and thus will not ever be "portable" drives.

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@djbowman: Sorry, it seems that you already knew that. I just figured that the chance to clarify was decent enough.

And I do approve of your tentative choice with the Iomega, especially for the price.

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@arosiriak: eSATAp (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESATAp) is becoming more common. At least I've seen ports on laptops, portable HDDs, not so much. Given that it's a physical combination of eSATA and USB, I'd guess you could get/build a y cable that combines them if your computer wasn't eSATAp-equipped. Speaking of y cables, does the funky dual USB cable I've seen allow for TB+ "portable" drives, anyone know?

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@mattschuette: The capacity of the drive doesn't correlate with the amount of power it draws. Those "funky dual USB cables" that have two USB plugs on the computer end do allow for a drive that draws more current.

What you'll find is that notebook drives tend to be lower current draw. Find a 2Tb notebook drive and buy an enclosure for it and you should be fine.
1 Tb notebook drives are available.

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@rhmurphy: Sure, "allow for" was perhaps the wrong wording. Just wasn't sure if there were any hard and fast numbers or general rule of thumb. The cables obviously have an extra plug that is power only (and usually pass-through), but can two USB ports power ANY 2.5" drive? Seems like a crap shoot to just give 'er a shot. Might not matter much, since most of the 1TB models are a tad taller than other 2.5" drives and the enclosure I have was a pretty tight fit already, not to mention PATA, but 1TB 2.5" PATA drives are still available.

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@mattschuette: OK, here's how to get more precise numbers. First, what your computer can supply. Assuming Windows - right click on "My Computer" and select "Manage", then open the Device Manager. Or, press Windows/Break to open it directly. Click on the "+" next to "Universal Serial Bus Controllers" then on a "Root Hub" right click and select "Properties". The "Power" tab will tell you what your port can supply, typically 500ma per port.

Then, look at the drive specs. If it draws over 500 ma at 5v, it can't operate on that with a single cable, and you need to use the "Y" cable.

(Some motherboards don't limit the USB current (violating the spec), so sometimes you can draw a bunch more than 500ma.)

For example, the Western Digital WD10TPVT draws 2.5 watts when reading/writing. Wattage is calculated as voltage times current. That USB port (5v * 500ma) therefore puts out 2.5 watts, so it's probably OK (if a bit marginal).

Sorry to be less precise earlier. Hope this is more helpful.

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@durkzilla: I went ahead and bought the one from Radio Shack.

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I don't know if they have the absolute lowest prices, but OWC always has fair prices and great customer service. I've been buying from them for many years, and they offer great value. They're also woot advertisers, sponsor deals, and used to advertise on the woot sidebar (I think it was called). They make their own enclosures and can put any size/speed drive in them. Mac focused, but hard drives are hard drives.

http://eshop.macsales.com/

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Seagate's GoFlex produce is the best cheap option I can find with very slim up to 2 T byte and 1T range, also avalable in 500 GB
You can use as ultra light portable drive and also can hook up to GoFlex TV, network etc, preety COOL, comes with USB3 or USB2 or Firewire 400 or 800, you decide the interface it is awasome.

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http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/external/external-hard-drive/portable-hard-drive

Seagate GoFlex hard drives are the best, it has an ecosystem GoFlexTV GoFlexNetwork HUB to create instant network drive etc and Lots of diffrent choice of interface and Capacity

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Rephrased question to a question.

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@gatzby: Thanks for the catch. Ok dumb question though is it really relevant a month after the fact ?

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Seagate GoFlex 2.5" external is now available up to 1.5TB.

It has optional interfaces for about $20 per adapter (e.g. USB 3.0, Firewire 800)