Whoa doggy, do we have something fun to look at today! Well, technically we have been looking at it for a week now, but today is where we get to share with you our impression of a hard drive that carries a very generous amount of space. Today we are talking about Seagate’s Expansion 8TB (External) USB 3.0 Hard Drive (HDD).
The average consumer has been favoring 3-4TB drives for external backup scenarios for quite some time now, based on average sales around the globe. However, as internal drives begin to grow in capacity by default in newer desktops and laptops, the need for more capacity will eventually begin to climb. Especially, with the popularity of automation, more enhanced network capabilities and of course, internal media servers to serve to all of your devices with (the last two points kind of piggyback on each other).
More and more, you are finding users are starting to dump their physical CDs and movies into digital formats thanks to the fact that software has become so user friendly within this realm. Include the fact that digital downloads are stronger than ever, and you have some pretty big collections out there. All of these files need a place to store, and your PC might not always be the best option. If you want to be able to stream all of that content to various devices on the network at any time, that would mean that PC would always have to be powered on. However, a good number of routers offer USB connectivity so that you can hook an external drive to the network on its own, giving you isolated storage that can be accessed 24/7. From here, you can use applications and hardware like Plex, Xbox, smart TVs, mobile devices, Roku and similar attachments for your TVs, and so forth, to access this media and stream it to your display.
Of course, multiple high-capacity backups or large media collections, can require quite a bit of space. Large capacity isn’t always affordable, but in the case of Seagate’s 8TB drive, it’s not that much more than your average 3-4TB alternative, with a current price tag of only $179.99. Now don’t get me wrong, as that price isn’t perfect for all; but, if you plan on setting something like this up, this drive is less than most or all of the other externa options at this capacity.
So we got our hands on one of these to see how well it performs for these given tasks.As I mentioned, we have been playing with it on and off fort about a week now. It’s been filled to capacity and formatted and filled some more. What we found, was that it does indeed make for a great backup solution, or a perfect home for a media dump. Not as much for an external solution for gaming consoles like the Xbox One, as there are other drives that perform with a better read/write than this, which makes a difference for load times (we prefer the WD Black Passport Ultra for an HDD solution for gaming), but it did perform close to some of our favorites (so if capacity is more than important than saving 1-3 seconds in game load time, than this drive becomes perfect).
The initial boot resulted in the drive being read as 7.27TB. We expected to see around 7.45GB based on math, but the drop isn’t significant (and is common). It came with a meer 46MB worth of files on the drive from Seagate, including registration information (an .exe that takes you to their site and some serial number info in a hidden directory), and some warranty information. There is no actual software is included with this drive (ie, backup software). The latter was a bit odd, as usually we find most drives have some kind of software included, or a link where they can get it from their website. Maybe the lack of software is the reason the price is lower on this model since there is no licensing to account for. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for free or purchase out there if you search around.
To first get an idea of the average speed of this drive, I will break it down into 3 scenarios, covering write speed:
- The average write speed for a larger collection of small files: 70MB-135MB per second.
- The average write speed for a large collection of random sized files: 107MB-154MB per second.
- The average write speed for large individual files: 144MB-157MB per second.
As you can see, the drive performs quite well. This means it takes mere seconds to transfer each gigabyte of data, making it an excellent candidate for large backups. The average read speed is similar plus an increase of around 30-40MB per second on average, compared to a similar task being written to it. So for large single files, the average read speed was around 170MB-188MB per second (for example).
The drive is as small as most modern external solutions that carry a standard 3.5-inch drive inside. It isn’t bulky at all, and hides well amongst your setup. The casing features a diamond pattern/texture across all sides other than the front and top, which are smooth. The casing feels quite durable, but none of that matters since the drive inside is always going to be a delicate creature that should always be treated as such. Like most external drives, it comes only in black, and includes all of the required cables inside the box. This one comes with a USB and power cable (that plugs into the wall).
A fantastic external solution for large backups and media collections alike. It can indeed be used for video game consoles as well if you have an incredibly large collection of games to install, although for consoles there are drives that can save you an additional few seconds in load times (if that matters). 8TB is a lot of capacity to play with, which should cover a majority of users looking for the space. The price being under $200 also gives it a edge against the competition which is real nice, especially since it doesn’t feel like they cut any corners to pull it off.
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*Average price is based on the time this article was published
Specification Source: Seagate Website
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