What is worth the most to you? Don’t ask yourself this question anymore because we tell you if you need an external hard drive or a NAS inside.
For many this comparison may seem silly, but for others it is very useful. Why? Well, we are talking about external storage, so it is easy for this question to arise first. Each system has its strengths and weaknesses, but the budget here may be the key. So let’s see if the external hard drive or the NAS wins the battle.
External hard drive
It is a portable hard drive that can come in two formats or sizes: 2.5 inches and 3.5 inches. Its connection is USB and it is easy to acquire one of 1 TB or 2 TB for very little money. This portability allows us to carry data with us, which is why many drives incorporate encryption systems in case of loss or theft.
The problem is when we go to high capacity external hard drives (more than 4 GB), which are 3.5 inches: they must be externally powered. This is a barrier to portability because we will not have a plug wherever we go.
We could define what a NAS is in a colloquial way: it is a network-connected storage station that can be accessed locally / wirelessly or remotely. In this “station”, we find several internal hard drives that store data that we can access from the mobile, tablet, PC or remotely.
The idea of the NAS as a storage station is that it houses a specific number of hard drives. This means that we are going to have ample storage, but we must be clear about what RAID configuration we want before having all the HDDs running.
What is this remote access? The NAS are fixed, so that null portability causes us to need a file and we are away from home. In that case, some NAS allow remote access, as in a cloud, being able to upload or download whatever we want.
How to choose the ideal nas system? Finally, the NAS is much more than a warehouse: it has a processor, RAM and an operating system. Therefore, it is not a large external hard drive or a group of hard drives.
External hard drive vs NAS
Once the opponents of this battle have been defined, we are going to analyze all the points that interest us to know which the best option is. Who do you think will win?
- Use of data
The first thing to look at is how many times do I use data in external HDD, pendrive, etc? If you use portable storage very few times, a NAS is not going to be worth it. This system is designed for those who need to access their information frequently, as well as for those who need a lot of capacity.
In my opinion, the NAS is a complex system for the average user who does not have enough computer skills. Not only is it installing some hard drives in bays and connecting it to the network, you also have to configure the RAID.
Therefore, I would recommend an external hard drive for specific things. If you need a lot of capacity, there are different capacities, don’t worry about it.
- Easy to use
Here the external hard drive wins by a landslide for the newest, since it has a simple operation: we connect by USB and we already have access to our information. However, NAS are storage stations that imply some difficulty when installing, as well as when using them.
Many aspects must be taken into account: what we are looking for from the NAS, what RAID configuration we want, what type of NAS is worth it (operating system, etc.) or what budget we have. Afterwards, you will have to use third-party applications to access it remotely, it is not an ftp “and to run”.
So, the ease of use of the external hard drive compared to the NAS, makes the first one win in this section.
We refer to the size of the NAS and the size of the external hard drive, not its capacity. Be careful with NAS because they take up some space, which may be too large for some, or light for others. The external hard drive is a small device that fits in any backpack.
Here, the external hard drive wins. On the other hand, I have to warn you that there are many NAS: small, medium and large. Depending on which one you choose, it will be bigger or smaller.
We could say that the winner is the external hard drive because it is a very compact, portable size. This makes it easy for us to take it with us wherever we want.
Verdict Nas or External hard drive?
With all the above, we are going to give ourselves the verdict of this battle. In the end, it is still a more or less well-founded opinion, so do not take it strictly.
- NAS. Winner for those who need a lot of storage capacity and continuously access that data.
- External hard drive. Winner for the rest of the mortals who do not need much capacity, nor have advanced computer skills. Just plug and play.
As you can see, they are two solutions indicated for different audiences. In my personal opinion, a NAS requires certain knowledge, budget and infrastructure (a good internet connection at home). Unless you work with a lot of information, I recommend an external hard drive that you can take wherever you want.