Upgrading your Mac's internal hard drive can be a tricky task. It's simple enough if you own a Mac Pro, and the drives in the current MacBook range are designed to be user-accessible.
But if you're running an iMac or a Mac mini, replacing the HDD is a task for the professionals.
Plugging in an external drive is far more convenient and gives you an extra drive rather than a replacement one. But with so many on offer, which do you choose?
For this group test, we're looking at mains-powered desktop devices, based on 3.5-inch form factor hard drives. To make sure we're comparing like with like, they're all 1TB, though most models are available in more than one capacity.
The advantage of these drives is that their price-per-GB ratio is better than that offered by portable drives, which are smaller, use 2.5-inch HDDs and are powered through their USB or FireWire data connection.
Of course, desktop drives are also less convenient to take from A to B. If your external drive seldom, if ever, leaves your computer, a desktop drive is for you.
Macs recognise Windows formatted drives, and reformatting is a simple task anyway, so we've not taken out-of-the-box formatting into account when awarding marks. All drives were formatted to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) for testing.
External hard drives on test
Buffalo DriveStation - £74
Freecom Hard Drive Quattro - £114
G-Technology G-Drive - £161
Hitachi LifeStudio Desk Plus - £88
Iomega Ego Desktop Hard Drive Mac Edition - £115
Lacie Starck - £99