In today's digital age, all file data is becoming increasingly large, such as photos, videos, and even a single game that can require several tens of gigabytes. Due to backup habits or the desire to avoid burdening and being limited by internal storage, external storage is often necessary.

Of course, for data that needs immediate or frequent access, we think of cloud storage, which indeed has its advantages. However, many people prefer to keep the most important things stored on physical storage, which in a way, provides 'a greater sense of security.'

When talking about physical storage, we consider external solid-state drives, external hard drives, and USB flash drives. So, what are the differences between them?


  • External SSD: Leverages solid-state flash memory (NAND), devoid of moving parts.
  • External HDD: Relies on spinning magnetic disks (platters) and a read/write head.
  • USB flash drives: Utilizes NAND flash memory, similar to SSDs but often in a more compact form.

Speed and Performance
  • External SSD: The speed of portable SSDs is significantly faster than external HDDs and USB drives, reaching speeds of up to 960MB/s. Transferring a 10GB movie takes only about 10 seconds, ideal for tasks requiring quick data access.
  • External HDD: Due to mechanical components, external hard drives are slower than external external solid state drives but still faster than USB drives, with speeds reaching 462MB/s, suitable for everyday use.
  • USB Drives (Flash Drives): The read and write speeds of typical USB flash drives vary in practice, ranging approximately between 20MB/s to 300MB/s. However, due to their relatively limited storage capacity, they are not very suitable for storing large amounts of data.

  • External SSD: More durable due to the lack of moving parts, resistant to physical shocks and vibrations, ideal for on-the-go usage.
  • External HDD: Less durable due to mechanical parts, making them more prone to damage from physical shocks.
  • USB Drives (Flash Drives): Solid-state design with no moving parts, offering durability for everyday use.

  • External SSD: Advanced wear-leveling algorithms distribute data writes evenly across cells, prolonging the SSD's lifespan.
  • External HDD: Lifespan can be affected by mechanical wear and tear due to moving parts, such as spinning platters and read/write heads.
  • USB Drives (Flash Drives): For USB flash drives, there is typically a range of 3,000 to 5,000 write cycles, and due to cost considerations, they often use cheaper storage modules, thereby affecting their lifespan.

To be honest, these storage technologies are quite similar. Making a wise decision depends on your storage needs, budget constraints, and performance expectations.

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