We had seen the Seagate Backup Plus 1TB Slim drive couple of months back. Seagate had also announced another drive along with the 2TB Slim drive, namely the Seagate Backup Plus Fast with a whopping 4TB of capacity. This is the first 4TB external drive which is USB powered. How Seagate managed that and how this massive capacity drive performs, let’s find out.
Build and Design
Unlike the Seagate Backup Plus Slim drive, the Fast drive will certainly not win any slimness awards as this is quite a chunky drive. It is around 22mm thick, but its length and width make it compact enough to be carried around in pockets. It also weighs a mere 300 gm, which isn’t as heavy as the over 600 gm internal Seagate 4TB drive. It comes in a sturdy black coloured plastic packing. Thanks to the matte finish, there is lesser possibility of it being a finger print magnet. The front face of the drive is clean with only the Seagate branding on one corner and the LED slit on the opposite corner. Apart from the USB 3.0 interface, there is nothing of note on the drive.
Seagate has managed to give a 4TB capacity drive by having two 2TB internal drives in RAID0 mode. This allows Seagate to ensure that the size of the drive is minimal and also bypasses the need to use an external power adapter. Seagate bundles in a regular USB 3.0 cable as well as a y-cable with USB 3.0 interface, just in case to provide more power juice, in case of older machines.
Now while RAID 0 may provide great speeds, it comes with a catch. While writing to the drive, data is broken down into chunks and each drive gets parts of it. So one single drive may not have the complete data. In this scenario, if either of the two drives stops functioning and you aren’t able to recover it, it is as good as lost. Seagate has put in a 3-year warranty with this drive. But if it is critical data that you may want to backup, ensure you have a copy of it elsewhere as well.
You cannot change the RAID 0 configuration to RAID 1 configuration (which replicates data on both drives) with the two drives.
Considering this is a backup plus external drive, you get the Seagate Dashboard utility bundled in. Under the social media backup feature, you can upload images to Facebook, Flickr and videos to YouTube via the Backup Plus drive. At the same time you can also backup your images from Facebook and Flickr. This can be achieved using the Share and Save buttons under Social menu.
Mobile backup allows you to backup your phone data, images and videos. For this you will need to download the Seagate Mobile app. It is surprising to not find any security-related utility on the Seagate dashboard. You will also notice a Cloud backup feature, but it comes with a 30-day free trial after which you are asked to pay a subscription fee.
Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K
Motherboard: ASRock Z87M Extreme4
RAM: 2 x 4GB GSkill RipjawsX
OS Drive: Intel SSD, 80GB
Source Drive: Corsair Neutron GTX, 240GB SSD
PSU: Cooler Master 800W Silent Pro Gold
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
We used the native USB 3.0 ports on the ASRock Z87M Extreme4 to test the hard drive. We start off with the synthetic testing using Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 and ATTO benchmark. ATTO gave 262.14 for sequential reads and 194.04 for sequential writes. Crystal Disk Mark scores are as below.
For the real world performance test, we transferred a 10GB single RAR file and a 10GB assorted file to get real life sequential and random file transfer speeds. To simulate a file write we transferred files from the Corsair source drive to the target Seagate Backup Plus drive and vice versa to simulate a file read. After each read and write operation we restarted the system to clear out any cache. Finally we performed the intra-drive test. The results are as follows.
Verdict and Price in India
Thanks to the RAID 0 configuration, the Seagate Fast drive blazes past the other external drives we have tested in the past. As seen in the charts above, it manages to cross the 200MB/s barrier for sequential transfers with ease. The write speeds are quicker than the read speeds thanks to the RAID 0 configuration. Even intra drive transfers were really good as compared to single drives. All in all a fast portable drive.
While the RAID 0 configuration is great for speedy transfers, this is not a drive where we would recommend backing up critical data. If you do back it here, make sure you have another copy elsewhere. For transferring and carrying around movies, music and so on, the drive is great. It ultimately boils down to what you are looking at - speed or security.
At Rs 25,000, the 4TB portable drive isn’t for everyone, but if you look at the cost per GB comes to around Rs 6.7 it is reasonable as you are not just getting a high capacity speedy external drive, but also one which is quite compact and offers social media backup as well.