Need Some Advice on 4TB Hard Drive Selection, Internal or External?

Hi guys,
Saw 2 deals today with similar price tags $99vs107:
Seagate 4TB Expansion Portable Hard Drive $107.10 C&C / + Delivery @ JB Hi-Fi
[eBay Plus] Seagate Barracuda 3.5" 4TB Hard Drive $98.90 Delivered @ Harris Technology eBay

My setup:
Mid-level gaming PC with 5600CPU, 32GB, 1TB Sumsung EVO PLUS, 3070TI.

Mostly cold storage including photos, FHD video file playing, other storage like phone backup (not planning to subscribe to cloud storage yet).
But would be nice to play some games from the HDD directly, but will certainly keep games like MSFS2020 or Euro Truck2 on SSD.
Portability is nice to have but not show stopper.

1. Purely speed wise, internal is faster than external 3.0 USB?
2. Would external drive with USB 3.0 drive satisfy my need?
3. What's difference between Seagate Desktop 4TB and Seagate Portable 4TB, cause the latter is even cheaper…
$89 using code from the deal at top:
Seagate Expansion Desktop Hard Drive 4TB
4. Any other considerations?

Thanks very much!


  • I've just bought an internal drive to replace my external media drive (WD) because the power plug has become unreliable. This isn't the first time this has happened and it's a shame because the drive itself functions perfectly if I have the plug in just the right position.

    • yeah right, actually just reminded me that I need to provide extra power point for the external lol thanks.

    • +1

      power plug has become unreliable

      You weren't able to just replace or fix the power plug?

      • It's at the jack going into the drive. I'm not willing to persevere with an unreliable drive so I'll just transfer the contents and bin the old one at officeworks.

  • Are you vigilant enough to keep plugging the drive in to back up photos?

    If not go the internal drive route. It is possible to open up (aka shucking) an external desktop back up drive to install inside the computer. You will need a sata and power cable.

  • From what I can tell, that external Seagate doesn't come with a power adapter, so you'll see slower transfer speeds over USB than other drives with one (because the drive draws power over USB, taking some bandwidth). Not very noticeable on USB-C connections, but very noticeable on USB3. If you're using it for storage/backups that's fine, and video playback shouldn't be an issue as long as you're not trying to watch anything uncompressed, but if you intend to play games off of it I'd recommend getting the internal one and installing it.

    • +1

      Not very noticeable on USB-C connections, but very noticeable on USB3

      USB-C is a plug shape not a speed. Simplistically C can be either USB 2 or 3 speeds. I think all USB HDD will be 3.

      • +1

        I admit I oversimplified a bit, but it's not as simple as "a plug shape". With USB-C you have different cable speeds, and the type of drive (ie HDD vs SSD) will affect your overall transfer speed. But a USB 3.1 or 3.2 type C cable has a much higher potential transfer rate than USB 3.0. I don't think they make 3.1 or 3.2 cables with that wavy interface you see on most USB 3.0 drives (but I could be wrong, I've never checked. It was a shitty flimsy design).

    1. What's difference between Seagate Desktop 4TB and Seagate Portable 4TB, cause the latter is even cheaper…

    Desktop is a 3.5" drive inside, has a seperate power cable to USB cable and is physically larger.
    Portable is a 2.5" drive inside, delivers power and data over the USB cable and is smaller.

    Usually portable ones are more expensive, just the timing of the sale price I guess. 4TB desktop ones were $99 even when harddrive prices went through the roof. No real reason not to get the 2.5" one unless they report very different speeds. That said, if there's room in your case might as well get the internal, especially if you're planning on playing games off it. I moved all my games to internal SSDs from an external HDD and the difference is really noticeable.

    • thanks for the advice! yeah with the price dropping below 100 i'm indeed considering internal 4TB + desktop 4TB

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