CNET's top external hard drives of 2010 (so far)

CNET's list of top external hard drives reviewed so far in 2010.

Seagate's FreeAgent GoFlex has by far the best design that gives you the freedom of choosing the type of connection.
Seagate's FreeAgent GoFlex has by far the best design of any external hard drive, because it gives you the freedom to choose connection type. Dong Ngo/CNET

Your computer's internal hard drive is getting full and you need to expand the storage? It's time to get yourself an external hard drive. They are getting increasingly larger in capacity, cheaper in price, and much faster (those that support USB 3.0, anyway).

If your computer doesn't support USB 3.0, it's fairly easy to upgrade via an add-in card. Some external hard drives actually come with the add-in card themselves: the Western Digital My Book 3.0 (for desktops) and the Seagate BlackArmor PS 110 USB 3.0 (for laptops).

One of the big factors when it comes to getting an external hard drive is the type of connections it has, be it USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FireWire, or eSATA. Most external hard drives offer just one or two types of connections, with USB 2.0 being the most popular. Fortunately, if you buy one of those in Seagate's new FreeAgent GoFlex family, such as the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Pro (500GB), this is no longer an issue. These hard drives come with a revolutionary design that allows you to use any type of existing connection by swapping out an adapter. The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk (3TB), by the way, is also the largest on the market in terms of storage capacity for a single-volume external hard drive.

Most of the external hard drives come bundled with free software that help ease the job of backing things up. And if you are one of those people who is totally helpless when it comes to backing up, the ClickFree C2N is designed to automatically back up important data on a computer with minimum user input the first time it's plugged in.

And finally, if you have a large amount of media stored on your computer and often have a hard time finding what you need, consider the Hitachi LifeStudio Mobile Plus . This simple external hard drive comes with a sophisticated software application that gathers and organizes your "digital mess."

If you want to see how all these types of external hard drives stack up, check out our list of top external hard drives that CNET has reviewed so far in 2010.

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