Friday, March 17, 2017

Review: 5TB Disk Seagate Backup Plus

This is an article to encourage readers to consider the excellent Seagate Backup Plus 5TB Portable Hard Disk drive

Also known as Seagate STDR5000201

To set the scene this is a 5TB 2.5" disk,  in itself something quite amazing as I write this in 2017.  It's placed in a small shiny box with a USB 3.0 external interface.

The cost is modest, less than 200 CHF i.e. about 160 GBP.

Apparently some territories get extras like a Onedrive Cloud Storage subscription, but not for us in Switzerland. Ho hum.

Use as External Storage

As delivered in Windows format NTFS partition

SMART status on first power on


You can use this external drive as a 5TB external disk.  But it also comes with backup software.  Unfortunately I use a Server OS so I found it is incompatible.  Really Seagate?

Still it behaves just fine as an external storage.  5TB is really large and I like the way the drive is bus powered i.e. down the USB 3.0 cable.

Performance Down the Wire

So, we are talking between 70-140 MB/second read/write performance and IO operations per second (IOPS) as shown above for the different workloads.

Not bad!

The Hack
Actually my purchase was risky, but readers can profit from my bravery.  Sometimes it's possible to extract the bare drive and use it in a regular computer with a SATA III interface.

Not always though.   Maxtor USB portable disk drives for example are really optimised.  They replace the SATA electronics card usually with a dedicated one ending in a USB socket.

So when I bought my drive.  I was wondering:  How do they make the USB bridge?

The disk inside is Seagate ST5000LM000   The spec sheet says upto 140MB/sec transfer with 5400 RPM and 128MB cache. With an idle power of 1.1Watts, startup current of 1.2A and average power utilisation of 2.1 Watts.

Wahoo!   As you can see the SATA to USB bridge is via a plug in and therefore detachable electronics card.

I pulled it off and there is then a 5 TB bare drive which I began to test in my USB 3.1 Orico USB Dock

External Performance
With the disk out and plugged into my now quite mature Orico dock I was disappointed to find the speeds about the same.  Of course this is also a USB connection,  I am quite sure direct SATA III connection would improve performance

Ready for [small] NASThe availability of these high density 5TB drives in such a compact 2.5" form factor at last makes useful the compact Network Attached Storage Device  (NAS) that was previously an expensive oddity.

Example: QNAP  TVS-882ST2

Alternatively since the SATA connector on a 2.5" drive is of course position compatible with a 3.5" drive you can also stepwise replace your existing 3.5" drives and have a lighter and more power efficient NAS, running on 2.5" drive technology.

Overall then

- Considering the size, in Switzerland the 200CHF for this drive is very reasonable
- You can use it as an external 5TB USB 3.x connected drive
- Works under Windows and MAC, and of course Linux
- You can strip out the internals and use it as a 5TB internal disk.  (Wahoo!)  Why? Because you can't buy a bare 5TB, 2.5" internal disk at this price.
- Performance is what I'd expect from a 5500 RPM spinning disk
- Power requirements of this 2.5" drive are significantly lower than for any similarly sized 3.5"

With all these features and the keen price point I really recommend this drive