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PC Hardware in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition by Barbara Fritchman Thompson, Robert Bruce Thompson

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Uses for Removable and External Hard Disk Drives

Although most systems do not need a removable or external hard drive, such drives have the following uses:

Expanding storage on obsolescent laptop systems

Installing a larger hard drive in a desktop system is trivial, but on a proprietary laptop system it may be impossible or extremely expensive to upgrade the hard drive. If you’re faced with this situation, using a removable or external hard drive may extend the usable life of the laptop. If the laptop has an available PC Card slot, install a USB 2.0 PC Card adapter so that you can take advantage of the much higher throughput of USB 2.0 external drives.

Transporting large amounts of data

If you need to transport large amounts of data to remote sites, a removable hard drive may be the only practical option. Cartridge-based removable hard disk drives store up to 20 GB, and frame/carrier-based removable hard disk drives are limited only by the capacity of the largest standard hard drives available. For example, one of our readers works for a company that produces digital special effects for movies, always on very short deadlines. The time needed to back up 100 GB of image data to tape—as well as the cost and complexity of installing the required $35,000 tape drives at each end—makes tape impractical. Instead, they install a frame-based removable hard disk drive system at each end, copy the huge datafiles to high-performance SCSI hard drives, and FedEx the hard drives to the movie production ...

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