Is external hard drive faster than internal?

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When buying a hard drive for your computer, how do you decide between an internal and an external hard drive? What are the major differences between them, and how do these differences affect performance, speed, and comfort? Try to answer these questions by reviewing each hard drive’s critical factors to help you determine the best option.

Is external hard drive faster than internal
Is external hard drive faster than internal

Internal hard drives vs. External hard drives

Internal hard drives are found inside your computer. Unlike an external hard drive, these are not portable and can only be used by the computer on which they are installed. Internal hard drives come in two main forms: Hard Disk Drive or HDD (hard disk drive) and Solid State Drive or SSD (solid-state drive). HDDs are the most traditional type.

Benefits of having an Internal Hard Drive

  • Internal hard drives can offer large storage capacity.
  • Internal hard drives are always connected to the computer, so scheduling backups is easier.
  • Internal hard drives are very cost-effective compared to other data storage methods.

Benefits of having an External Hard Drive

  • External hard drives are portable. Perfect for those who travel regularly, external hard drives are easy to transport and are very light.
  • External hard drives can be connected to different computers. Thanks to its portability, you can take an external hard drive with you and connect it to any computer without requiring prior formatting.

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What is the difference between external vs. internal hard drive?

The internal and external hard drives are physically the same, except that the external hard drives are provided with a case that protects the actual purpose and provides the necessary interface for the computer ports. This small difference has several significant effects. Firstly, external hard drives tend to be more expensive than internal hard drives due to the case.

Also, external hard drives are much slower than internal hard drives. This is not a problem with the actual unit but can be with the interface. USB and Firewire are much slower than SATA, and the chain’s slowest factor always dictates connection speed. A newer interface, known as eSATA, enables external hard drives to connect at SATA speeds.

External hard drives use the form factor 2.5, which is also used by laptops, to minimize their size as well as improve portability. Hence, if you compare them side by side, even with the case added, the external hard drives are smaller than the 3.5-inch form factor of desktop hard drives.

It would help if you determined what hard drive you want to use. If you are going to use it on a PC, then an internal hard drive is not only better, also cheaper.


  • External hard drives are portable, whereas internal hard drives are not.
  • External hard drives cost more than internal hard drives.
  • External hard drives are much slower when compared to internal hard drives.
  • External hard drives are smaller than desktop internal hard drives.

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Why are external hard drives generally cheaper than internal?

Most external hard drives are made by the drive manufacturers themselves. In surgical operation, the middleman allows them to sell the external drives cheaper. On USB external drives, the USB interface itself is way slower than the slowest of hard drives; thus, manufactures can use the most cost-effective drives.

Composed of an internal hard disk and an external case equipped with at least one connection port (for example, USB or Thunderbolt) for connection to computers and notebooks, external hard drives can be classified as portable or desktop. These hard drives vary their prices according to capacity, speed, type of connection, and robustness.

High capacity with portability, why not buy?

As mentioned, we can divide external hard drives into two categories, desktop, and portable. Desktop discs are larger and heavier, usually with 3.5. Internal hard disks are cheaper and have greater capacity. Despite the lower portability due to their dimensions and the need for an external power supply, desktop hard disks are the main components of professional storage systems, which easily reach capacities such as 50TB or 100TB.

Portable HDs, on the other hand, are generally of smaller capacity and have a lower transfer speed. Still, they are transportable, powered by the USB connection, and “fit” in any pocket, in all directions. The problem: knowing that the vast majority of portable disks have only one plate and a single mechanism for reading/writing data, when any one of them fails, the disk dies. So the more information stored, the greater the data loss.

USB 3.0 vs SATA 3 Internal?

The SATA port consistently outperforms the USB port. This is due to the fact that it’s explicitly designed for hard disks, whereas USB is not designed in this way. Also, the USB bridge chips (to bridge USB to SATA) that you find in external drives aren’t always the fastest.

USB is getting better, but it still puts a more significant load on the CPU when transferring data due to its nature. If you’ve got one that’s compatible with UASP (USB attached SCSI), then speeds are going to be tolerable, but if you have got to depend upon USB Mass Storage, then that’s an entire world of pain. SATA will offer you maybe 200 MB/s with a decent 8TB drive. I’d be pleased with half those speeds with a USB 3.0 attached drive. It happens many a time. You have got a replacement internal drive lying idle. You would like to convert this internal drive into an external disc drive. Will that be possible? Well, yes – it’s substantially possible. It’s just that you just have to watch out enough in handling the fragile parts carefully. Allow us to take a look at some products which will be helpful sufficient during this venture.

How to Make SATA to USB Converter? 

Before you start converting your internal disc drive, you must have certain elements ready before you are able to proceed. If you have ever examined an internal hard drive, you will notice that it does not have any connections and protective cover. You may also need connectors.

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External Hard drive vs. Internal HDD in Enclosure for backups

There is some stuff you must make sure of if you are choosing an enclosure. The dimensions of the inner Winchester drive you wish to use with the section will have to be assessed before deciding on a square.

Orico 2.5 inches SSD SATA – Best External disk drive Portable Enclosure

The Orico 2.5 inch SSD SATA magnetic disc External Portable Case Cover is an attractive option that may best fit your 2.5 inch hard drives. The case is created using transparent ASB material for shielding your internal Winchester drive. It also comes with a blue LED indicator and can enable access to a USB 3.0 to SATA 3.0 speeds at 5.0 Gbps connectivity. The connectivity speeds can reach up to 10 times faster than the USB 2.0 standard.

Transcend 2.5″ Portable Internal HDD/SSD Enclosure Casing

Stylishly designed enclosure manufactured from Aluminium, the Transcend 2.5″ Portable internal HDD/SSD Enclosure Casing provides you with a beautiful USB 3.0 interface. The section should be an excellent choice for each one in all your data transfer needs. The better plug and play compatibility is what would make it an ideal choice.

Best suited to laptop hard drives, it should save your hard drives from accidental bumps and falls. The enclosure does include the Transcend Elite data management software. The drive also supports the USAP function. Excellent build quality is one of each of the strong points.

You can make use of the converter adapter to attach any of the two.5″ or 3.5″ SATA HDD mobile enclosure to your computer/laptop.

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Internal Vs. External HDD

The SSDs, which stands for Solid – State Drive, is an evolution of traditional hard drives. This type of storage does not work mechanically, as it does with hard drives, ensuring more incredible speed and durability. Despite the higher prices, this pattern is increasingly present in computers and can also be found in the external format.

But is it better to invest in an option integrated into the system, or to buy an external SSD, a portable alternative to store massive files? Check out more details about the two forms of storage below and determine which one is best for you.

Internal vs. external SSD

Like external hard drives, SSDs can also be transported as portable devices. Its advantages compared to ordinary hard drives are the same: faster, stronger, and lighter.

However, to take full advantage of the speed of the external SSD on your computer or notebook, you need to be aware of your connection. Old USB ports can be an obstacle to achieving good throughput. Therefore, models like the Fledging Shell require at least one USB 3.1 port, which has a transfer limit of 500 MB / s. The ideal, in turn, is to choose a USB-C connection or Thunderbolt 3 connection, which makes the SSD reach rates of almost 1 GB / s.


SSDs, whether internal or external, promise higher performance than HDs, in addition to consuming less energy. However, the disadvantage is due to the price, since they are always more expensive than HD.

Is an external hard drive faster than an internal ps4?

If you have a PS4 and like to take advantage of the offers often found in the console’s digital store, you certainly know the “suffering” resulting from having to download games, install as well, as uninstall them to make room in the console’s storage. There are two remedies to this situation: play with the PS Now service or purchase a USB Hard Drive. The question is, which one performs better? Which option is best for you? Let’s see it.

The storage space of consoles is quite limited, especially if we consider the disk space that most games currently occupy, exceeding 100 GB in some cases. In turn, PS Now allows you to play streaming without you having to download games, and with an external USB hard drive, you are able to expand the console’s storage to have a more significant number of games installed.

Cost analysis: PS Now vs. USB hard drive

Where costs are concerned, the problem becomes a little complex. The PS Now service costs 0.99 euros monthly, and comes with a 30-day free period of time, while we could subscribe for a year at a lower cost, 59.99 euros. For its part, a USB 1 hard drive of 3.0 TB has a price that varies from approximately 45 to 55 euros.

In the short term, it is clear that PS Now is cheaper, but if you sign up month by month and taking into account the 30 days free they offer, in 5 months, you will have equaled the cost of the USB hard drive.

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External hard drive vs. internal gaming

The gaming hard drive plays the same role as the most modern gaming SSDs: data storage. Its main advantage is a better storage/price ratio at the expense of low transfer rates. Although it is an obsolete type of product and unsuitable to serve as the sole and primary disk drive of your PC, it can still be a precious tool. The purchase of a gaming hard drive is recommended for those who want a cheap but large memory unit to put massive files or install programs where load times are not an issue. 

The technical specifications considered in the evaluation process of a hard drive for gaming are very few, but not, for this reason, should be underestimated. We go in order of importance.


Since the ultimate goal of purchasing a hard drive is to increase the installation space on your system, it is not advisable to buy low-capacity solutions. At the same time, however, it is also not advisable to invest large amounts of money in relatively old technology to earn many terabytes.

Therefore, during the selection process, we only considered challenging disk games with a minimum capacity of 1 TB, the minimum we would recommend.

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Internal vs. external hard drive reliability

External hard drives have already had their glory days. Photos, videos, and documents are produced every day in large quantities, but nobody wants to keep the information; most people want to share information. The external hard drives that we know are no longer convenient, efficient, or safe to store our essential information. And backing up to a single disk is at risk of data loss.

More and more users have been looking for robust solutions to solve the information storage needs in the search for more reliable equipment than just good hard disks. As this concern is not new, many solutions developed and adopted by companies to keep data safe are now part of our daily lives.

Before we get into the disc drive recommendations, you may be wondering how exactly we’re defining reliable. To seek out out which hard drives are least likely to fail, the most effective option is to appear at a report which covers an excessive number of drives. Then we checked out the Backblaze disc drive Stats 2019.

Servers use vast numbers of hard drives, so server companies are the experts when it involves reliability. That creates one of the most significant sources of data when you are looking for a reliable drive.

Internal Vs. External Backup Drive

Every computer user had already faced the situation of losing an important document, just when it was needed a lot.

Now imagine managing a company that works with important information and in large numbers, that daily. In many cases, the loss of any file can cause great losses, no matter how small. Exactly why it is essential, in addition to saving these files on the PC, to make a backup of this information.

Internal Backup vs. External Backup, which one to choose?

Whether internal or external, all backups are valid as a safe mode for the loss of files. However, what is the best solution to save these files?

It is necessary to know how to identify the two types of document backup:

  • Internal backup: copies of data on own servers, flash drives, CDs, or external hard drives.
  • External backup: Cloud backup.

Internal backup: Advantages and care

Just copying your files to a flash drive, CD, DVD, or even an external hard drive can be called an internal backup. This backup is indicated to be done with a specific frequency so that everything important is saved in an emergency.

External backup: Advantages and care

External backup is the safest way to protect your data. Since cloud backup is the most ideal, since it is becoming more popular every day, as it is the most reliable, in front of internal companies, also, its resources are unlimited.

External SSD Vs. Internal HDD

Today we are going to highlight the main differences between HDD and SSD hard drives. For that, firstly, we will start by describing in a simple and basic way what are the general features of both mechanical hard drives or HDD and solid-state hard drives or SSD, so that you can easily recognize them.

Hard disk or HDD (Hard Drive Disk)

Hard drives, also known as HDDs, are a computer component that is used to store data on a permanent basis. This effectively means that the data is not erased when the unit is turned off, as is the case with those held by RAM.

The thinner the discs, the better the recording, and the faster they rotate, the faster the data is transmitted, both when reading it and writing it. Generally, hard drives’ speed is usually 5400 or 7200 RPM (revolutions per minute), although some server-based drives can reach up to 15,000 RPM.

In terms of size, the enclosures for mechanical hard drives can be 2.5 “or 3.5”. Prices may vary depending on this size, but especially on its storage capacity. The great advantage of these hard drives over SSDs is that they are much cheap.

Internal Hard Drive Pros and Cons

This detailed article discusses the benefits and downsides of external hard drives connected via USB, eSATA, or Firewire. With the arrival of USB 3, all modern PCs, servers, and laptops now offer a straightforward interface for plugging in portable storage. As we summarize below, external hard drives are perfect for dozens of uses. 

However, the pros and cons of external hard drives vary, so you will need to contemplate all points below before making procurement. And, perhaps, this text may facilitate you’re come up with ideas of how you may use your existing USB drives in new ways. Many Backup Chain backup software customers use external hard drives for backup purposes and replaced transport with disks. They’re excellent thanks to economizing and time; however, every technology has its pros and cons.

If you’ve got additional ideas unlisted below, be happy to email them to us for inclusion. Thank you! If you’re related to a university, we provide huge discounts for educational institutions and non-profits who purchase Backup Chain backup software. 

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Best External Hard Drive

If you wonder which is the best external hard drive or SSD available, we recommend that you take a look at our guide with the best external hard drives and SSDs on the market to help you make the best purchase decision.

Cloud storage is useful but not nearly as practical or reliable when compared to physical storage. Having storage wherever you go is applicable, and for some, it might be essential.

There are plenty of portable hard drives (HDDs) and much faster solid-state drives (SSDs) to choose from. We have tested and rated some of the best.

Most portable USB drives are powered by a connected computer, which means that you can use them anywhere without having to plug them into the mains or using batteries. Some even connect your phone or tablet and allow you to expand storage that way or allow you to transfer or open files.

The SD600Q offers the right combination of design, affordable prices, and a variety of more than decent capacities (as long as you don’t require more than 1TB). It is also fast enough that it can copy files without you having to wait years, and you can also use Adata’s free software should you wish, an option to consider without a doubt. 

Internal Vs. External Hard Drive

Computer hard drives store operating system software, applications, and all kinds of different files and data. Both internal as well as external hard drives, can be used for this purpose. Internal and external hard drives’ operation is essentially the same (to store and obtain information necessary for the processes to be executed by the operating system or applications).

Internal and external hard drives

The internal hard drive is named as such since it is located inside the system cabinet—this stores all the programs and data. Most systems can support multiple internal hard drives. One can be used as a system backup, an alternative boot drive with a different operating system, or to store files. External drives are connected to the computer system through a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port, an eSATA (External Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) port, or a FireWire connection if the hardware and software system supports it.

Comparisons between internal and external hard drives

An internal hard drive uses the power provided by the system. The available power and interface connections within the computer limit the number of internal purposes installed. External hard drives connected to the network through a USB port do not always require a separate power supply, as they draw power through the USB cable. Some external hard drives (particularly those housed inside cabinets) need their dedicated power supplies.

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Luis Gillman
Luis Gillman

Hi, I Am Luis Gillman CA (SA), ACMA
I am a Chartered Accountant (SA) and CIMA (SA) and author of Due Diligence: A strategic and Financial Approach.

The book was published by Lexis Nexis on 2001. In 2010, I wrote the second edition. Much of this website is derived from these two books.

In addition I have published an article entitled the Link Between Due Diligence and Valautions.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.