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Is it better to have a secondary drive as an Internal or External?

Regular Poster
Posts: 32
Comments: 106

I was initially planning to go with C and two externals; one to jetteson all secondary info onto; and one to receive all my  backups. 

Or, would it be better to have two internals and one external where I could put all of my backups.

What do you guys think? Are there benefits to having 2 internals? or downsides?

Thanks guys!


Forum Hero
Posts: 42
Comments: 6398

Shouldn't be an issue in either situation.  Really boils down to ports, availability, speed and/or preference.

TYpically, you'll get faster transfer using the internal SATA connectors.  You're capped at SATA 2, but if you get that add-on PCIE to sata3 card and put an SSD on it, you'll get full speed (nearly full if that gets capped at SATA 2 which is still 500Mbs).  Internal SATA is not accessible if you want to take your drives on the go and/or use them as externals.

USB is nice for portability, but not ideal for drives that are connected all the time.  Also, if your system is older and only has usb 2.0 it will be pretty slow.  If you have USB 3.0, should be pretty quick, but you also share USB bus speed like you do SATA bus speed so depends on if you're reading/writing from 2 USB drives at once or not.

If it were me, I'd go internal SATA.  1 for your OS, 1 for your secondary data to keep it separate for your OS to make backing up and restoring the OS faster and easier and break up teh data from teh OS so you also don't have to worry about restoring the OS if you just need to restore data.  I'd then use a larger drive for backing up both - makes no difference if usb or SATA really for that one.  I'd go USB though so if there is a power spike or a board issue, hopefully the USB drive isnt' impacted if the two internals are.  Depending on space you could even backup the main OS to the other internal as a secondary location and have the best of both worlds for OS backup redundancy.

Also, you can always grab a $10 SATA to USB 3.0 (backwards compatible with usb 2.0 and 1.0) adapter and turn your internal drive into a portable one with it (note, you cannot boot Windows from UsB so this would be in reference to the data only drive).  These adapters work great with SSD's since they have low power draw to begin with.  They also work well iwth 2.5" spinners if your USB ports provide enough power (back ports on a PC are usually strong enought but front ports can vary and laptops are hit or miss). If you get a bigboy 3.5" spinner then it won't power that, but there are some nice USB 3.0 dual docks that also work as external cloning devices.