The Great Portable Storage Dilemma For PC

By: Rich Fuller

In ancient times, a few megabytes were considered to be a considerable amount of storage. Transferring data between computers meant carrying around big, goofy floppy disks that weren't very reliable compared to today's storage standards. Next the 1.44 megabyte diskettes became the norm for portable storage, their hard plastic casing mocking the bendable floppy's soft and dainty exterior.

Time marches on. Programs and files begin to demand more storage real estate. Burning CD's get you a nice 650-700 megabytes of space, but CDR burning is cumbersome; it's not like saving or manipulating files on a hard drive, as the flexibility just isn't there, and it's certainly not as fast.

Today we have USB hard drives and flash memory-based thumb drives. These portable drives pack gigs upon gigs of space and can fit comfortably in your pocket or on a key chain. IT department types have even been spotted wearing their USB storage devices around their necks as an elite badge of some sort; portable storage has never looked this good. Visit http://www.waterwheel.com to learn more about PC hardware.

USB Thumb Drives

USB thumb drives are an amazing piece of hardware. Shuttling large files to and fro has never been easier. USB ports are like Starbucks; they're everywhere, and as long as your computer has one, you can interface it with a USB thumb drive.

One of the cool things about a thumb drive is its durability. They're like a little army tank for your data. Your computer's internal hard drive is one of the last components that has actual moving parts-the read/write head; giving your hard drive a good clout when the read/write head is in operation isn't recommended if you care about your data's integrity. Thumb drives don't have this problem, as they use solid-state technology to store your precious data-no moving parts. This amounts to a durable little storage device that can take a trashing and still keep your treasured mp3s safe from demise.

For a large amount of storage on an itty bitty thumb drive, Kanguru offers a 16 GB flash drive for around $800.

USB Hard Drives

USB Hard Drives are a popular choice when you need portable storage. Like thumb drives, USB hard drives can be easily plugged into a USB port. USB hard drives differ from their thumb rivals in a few ways: they don't employ the same sold-state technology as flash drives-which means you can treat them with utter disrespect like you would a flash drive-and they are a little too large to fit comfortably on a keychain.

A major plus with USB hard drives is that they provide a significant capacity advantage over thumb drives, and for less money; this is a compelling reason to opt for a USB hard drive if your storage capacity needs are massive.

Thumb drives appear to be faster than USB hard drives up to a certain capacity. When a thumb drive's capacity grows over the 2 GB mark, USB hard drives pull ahead in sheer file transfer speed.

When drive capacity is paramount, USB hard drives may be the perfect solution, but when you want to transfer data on the ring of your keychain, a flash memory-based thumb drive is a great choice.

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