Is it worth buying 4TB external hard drive?

With the ever-increasing digital storage needs of today’s computer users, many are wondering if it is worth investing in a large capacity external hard drive like a 4TB model. External hard drives provide a convenient way to expand storage for backups, media files, photos, videos, and more. But is a 4TB drive necessary for most users? There are several factors to consider when determining if a 4TB external drive makes sense for your needs and budget. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the pros and cons of purchasing a 4TB external hard drive to help you decide if it is the right choice for you.

What is a 4TB external hard drive?

A 4TB external hard drive has a storage capacity of 4,000GB or 4 terabytes. To put this in perspective, it can hold:

– Up to 4,000 hours of digital music
– Around 1,000 HD movies
– Up to 1 million photos
– 3-4 years worth of continuous surveillance camera footage

So as you can see, 4TB provides a massive amount of storage space. External hard drives connect to a computer, laptop, or other device via USB, Firewire, eSATA, or wirelessly. This allows you to expand the storage capacity of your system beyond the internal hard drive. An external hard drive is a great solution for safely backing up important files, archiving media collections, expanding gaming storage, and more.

Benefits of a 4TB external hard drive

There are several advantages that make a 4TB external hard drive an appealing purchase:

Massive storage capacity – With 4TB of space, you can store a huge amount of data in one place. You don’t have to worry as much about running out of room. It’s an ideal size for backing up multiple devices or storing large media libraries.

Convenience – External drives plug right into your computer via USB, making them very easy to use. Just plug in and you’ve instantly added 4TB of storage.

Portability – Many external drives are compact and lightweight, allowing you to easily transport large files.

Compatibility – External drives work with Windows PCs, Macs, gaming consoles, Android devices, and more. The plug-and-play design makes them very versatile.

Security – Keep sensitive files stored safely on an external drive separate from your main computer. If something happens to your PC, your important data is protected.

Affordability – The cost per GB is low for external storage compared to internal SSDs. You get a lot of capacity for the price.

Backups – An external drive provides a great backup target for system images, file backups, and clones. Protect your data from system crashes or other disasters.

Reasons you may not need 4TB of external storage

While 4TB external hard drives provide abundant storage, there are some instances where this much capacity may be overkill:

Basic users – Those who only use their computer to browse the web, check email, and stream content have modest storage needs. A 4TB drive would be excessive.

Only use cloud storage – If you rely solely on cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox for all of your storage needs, an external drive may not be necessary.

Already have sufficient external storage – If you have multiple lower capacity external drives that currently meet your storage requirements, another 4TB unit could be redundant.

Only need temporary extra storage – Those who only need short-term expanded storage for things like a single large project may want a smaller or more cost-effective solution.

Have limited ports – Laptops and smaller devices may only have 1-2 USB ports available. A 4TB drive could monopolize extra ports needed for flash drives or other peripherals.

Require ultra-portability – If you need an external drive primarily for when traveling, a large desktop-sized 4TB drive may be impractical compared to a pocket-sized option.

Looking for backup, not extra storage – If your main goal is just to backup your computer and files, cloud backup or a lower capacity drive may be sufficient.

What will you use the storage for?

One major factor to help determine if 4TB is right for your needs is what you intend to use the external drive storage for. Here are some common uses for which a 4TB drive makes sense:

Storing a media library – If you have a large collection of movies, music, TV shows, photos, and other media, 4TB allows you to consolidate it in one place for convenient access. A media server also benefits from huge storage.

Backing up multiple computers – With sufficient room for complete system images and file backups, one 4TB drive can handle backing up several laptops and desktops.

Backing up a computer chronically – You can schedule regular file backups to capture changes over time rather than just a static system image. This provides added protection against file corruption or accidental deletion.

Archiving old projects – Freelancers, artists, photographers, and other creatives can archive old files and projects to clear space on internal drives while still having the files accessible if ever needed again.

Storage expansion for a gaming PC – With games taking up more and more space, 4TB provides ample room to install your gaming library.

Importing home movies and photos – When converting old home movies or digitizing photo collections, the large RAW image and video files need a roomy drive for storage.

Should you get an internal or external 4TB drive?

Once you’ve decided a 4TB drive is right for your storage needs, the next question is whether to get an internal or external model. Here are some things to consider:

Internal 4TB hard drive benefits:

– Installed inside desktop computer
– Faster speeds than external (up to 7200RPM)
– Direct SATA connection for best performance

External 4TB hard drive benefits:

– Portable and works across many devices
– Better for transporting files and expand multiple computers
– Doesn’t require installing inside a PC case

For most users, an external drive is recommended as they provide great versatility and the speeds are still very fast for backups, media, and general storage purposes. But gamers and those wanting to expand internal storage of a desktop PC may prefer an internal drive installed directly into their system.

4TB hard drive specs and options

There are a few key specifications to look at when selecting a 4TB external or internal hard drive:

Hard disk drive (HDD) vs solid state drive (SSD) – HDDs are mechanical drives consisting of spinning platters. SSDs are faster solid state drives with no moving parts. For everyday use, an HDD is fine and much more cost effective. SSDs have very fast data transfer speeds.

RPM – This indicates the revolutions per minute of an HDD. Higher RPM (up to 7200) means faster performance. For external storage, 5400RPM is common and adequate.

Cache – The cache improves read/write performance. Look for at least 64MB of cache on a 4TB drive.

Form factor – External drives come in portable 2.5-inch sizes or larger 3.5-inch desktop sizes. Internals need to match the bay size.

Interface – USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, Firewire 400/800, and eSATA are common. USB 3.0 works for most purposes and is universally compatible.

Brands – Look for trusted brands like WD, Seagate, Toshiba, Samsung when buying a 4TB drive. Check product reviews.

Warranty – At least a 2-year warranty should come with a 4TB drive from a reputable brand. 3 years is even better for peace of mind.

4TB HDD alternatives

If a 4TB external or internal hard drive is more capacity than you need, or you want to save some money, here are a few solid alternatives to consider:

2TB to 3TB HDD – Still provides ample storage for many while costing noticeably less than 4TB models. Great for casual backups and storage needs.

1TB Portable SSD – For ultra-fast transfer speeds in a compact form factor, a 1TB portable SSD is a great alternative. Enough room for frequent backups.

NAS device – Network attached storage can be expanded with multiple HDDs. Allows central storage access for many devices.

Cloud storage – Services like Google Drive, iCloud and Dropbox allow unlimited online storage for around $10 a month, but lack local backup capabilities.

External HDD enclosure – Converts old internal HDDs into external drives. A cost-effective way to reuse 2.5″/3.5″ hard drives.

SD cards or flash drives – Small USB flash drives and SD cards offer a very portable way to add a little extra storage affordably.

Top 4TB external hard drives

If you think a 4TB external HDD is right for your needs, these top-rated options provide excellent quality and value:

Product Details
WD My Passport 4TB Slim and compact design, USB 3.0, hardware encryption
Samsung T5 Portable SSD 4TB Rugged metal case, fast SSD, USB 3.1 Type C, 256-bit AES encryption
Seagate Backup Plus Hub 4TB 2 front USB ports, transfer speeds up to 160 MB/s, model with built-in data recovery services available
LaCie Rugged Mini 4TB Shock/drop resistant casing, USB 3.0, works with PC & Mac

Is it worth buying a 4TB external hard drive?

So is 4TB of external storage really necessary or worth buying for the average user?

Here are a few closing points to help you decide:

– How quickly do you fill up storage space now? Calculate your future needs.

– Do you have an urgent need like high-res media files or system backups? Or more general storage wants?

– Weigh cost vs storage needs. In some cases lower capacity may be sufficient.

– Consider alternatives like cloud storage, NAS device, SSD for speed.

– Remember storage needs can easily grow over time. So capacity headroom is nice to have.

The bottom line:

For those with robust storage needs – frequent backups, large media collections, archiving of work, expanding gaming PCs – a 4TB external HDD provides excellent capacity and value. For more casual users, alternative lower cost options may be sufficient for your needs. Determine your specific storage requirements and choose the right drive capacity accordingly. And as always, look to reputable brands like Western Digital, Seagate, Samsung and read product reviews for best reliability.