Hm. That can be tricky because all hardware can develop problems after a long time, and it's really hard to know when that is. I've had hard drives (and removable media that works like hard drives) that seemed to work well for years until one day it stopped working. :( I like external drives a lot, for example eSATA drives. They sit outside your computer but are portable.
My advice is twofold:
- External HDDs are relatively cheap now. I know it's a lot of money maybe but ever year they get so much cheaper and faster and better. I would say to find a drive that is UNDER your budget. Like if you have $100 to spend, I'd look for something in the $75 range. The reason is that after a while you probably want to get a SECOND HDD. Then you essentially "freeze" the first drive by not using it anymore, and you copy all your data to the second drive. That way if the first ever fails you have a second one.
- Use the "cloud" as much as possible. These days it is probably cheaper and better to upload the data to Dropbox or Google Drive. Accounts can be expensive, but the Cloud has a lot of benefits. a) It's pretty secure. b) You can change computers and still access your files. c) It's fast.
If you absolutely need a HDD that sits inside your computer, I would say just get whatever is cheap!
Amy recommends the following next steps:
- Research Amazon or NewEgg
- Look for sales, especially Black Friday
- Always buy cheap, and leave budget to buy a second drive after a while