How much data storage do I need at uni?

Essays, presentations, notes. And of course music and films. You need a lot of data storage at uni.


Why do I need external data storage?

Like your rucksack or bag, your laptop’s internal hard drive can only hold so much. And overloading can cause problems – such as making things sluggish and unresponsive. That’s not to mention the risk of losing everything should your laptop be stolen or even break.Storage 

What sizes do they come in?

Storage space is measured in megabytes (MB), gigabytes (GB) and terabytes (TB). You can get your hands on hard drives offering anything from 500GB to 6TB of storage.


How much space do I need?

This depends on the type of files you’ll be saving, and how often. If you’re studying a subject that’s largely about writing essays, then you’ll need less space than a design student regularly working on big visual projects in Adobe Illustrator and Premiere.

This is because basic text files don’t take up that much space; photos are a bit larger, then music and finally video needs the most storage. The below is a good rule of thumb…

  • 500GB can hold: 8,330 hours of digital music/160,000 digital photos/500 hours of digital video/ 125 DVD-quality movies 
  • 1TB can hold: 16,660 hours of digital music/320,000 digital photos/1,000 hours of digital video/250 DVD-quality movies

Source: Seagate Harddrive 

Desktop or portable hard drive?

Do you prefer to knuckle down at home or in halls? Or are you more likely found in the library or working over a latte in town?


Desktop external drives

These need to be plugged in to an external power source, but they tend to have more capacity than their portable counterparts and typically have a more budget-friendly price tag.


Why not try…

The Seagate Backup Plus external hard drive gives you super-fast transfers from your laptop thanks to USB 3.0.Seagate Backup plus

It’s got 4TB capacity and you can schedule automatic backups for smart and secure file storing.

Get the Seagate Backup Plus


Portable hard drives

Designed for life on the go. Light and slender, they’re perfect for throwing in your bag or even your pocket before you head out.

They’re powered by your laptop, so you can access your files wherever, whenever. Perfect for making last-minute changes to that essay in the library.

They can be pricier than non-portable hard drives, but you should still be able to get a device offering 1TB for under £55 – like this Toshiba CanvioToshiba Canvio

Why not try…

The WD My Passport offers 1TB of space and can move files at up to 5 GB per second. Plus, there’s hardware encryption, security software and password protection – in case it falls into the wrong hands.

Get the WD My Passport


Lots of photos and creative projects? Make speed a priority

If you’re a design student, or just have loads of Instagrammable photos, you’ll want to prioritise something that transfers bigger files fast. 

Two options to consider are hard drives with USB 3.0 connectivity and also a new type of hard drive called SSD.

USB 3.0 can transfer data at 5 gigabits per second – more than 10 times faster than USB 2.0. Along with USB C and Apple Time Machine, it can now be found on Mac-compatible hard drives too.

SSD on the other hand is a new type of portable hard drive that can transfer video in seconds. Known as solid state drive, they’re up to 4x faster than traditional external hard drives for effortlessly backing up photos and videos. They’re also extremely tough to crack because there are no moving parts.


Why not try…

Transfer a 3 GB video in just 20 seconds, from your PC to the Samsung T3 external SSD. Sassing T3

The 51g featherweight is about the size of a business card but packs in advanced Samsung V-NAND technology and is compatible with multiple OS.

Get the Samsung T3

Think you’re at risk of running out of space? Check out our range of external hard drives