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Seagate Backup Plus 8TB External HDD Review

Seagate recently announced capacity increases to several of its HDD products. Prior to that, the company released the latest iteration of its Backup Plus Desktop Drive. The new version is an 8TB model that supersedes the previous 6TB flagship.

Performance Testing

Comparison Products

Sequential Scaling Block Sizes

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We have a limited number of external storage devices to compare against Seagate's Backup Plus 8TB. This is the largest single-drive backup solution on the market, so a perfect apple-to-apples comparison isn't going to happen anyhow.

In the transfer rate tests organized by block size, we see the point at which each drives hits its peak performance. Some companies optimize for specific applications, and certain interfaces struggle in other areas. Fortunately, Seagate's Backup Plus performs well in the read tests, demonstrating consistent performance that peaks around the 64KB block size. The write tests are nearly identical, aside from a large dip with 16KB blocks. 

Full LBA Span Performance

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Hard disks slow down when they read and write at one end of the platter. Drive vendors tune their products to start writing data on the fastest part of the platters and then move closer to the middle as they fill up. The corresponding performance reduction is linear.

Solid-state drives have the same issue writing information, but for a different reason. The read, modify and write process is especially problematic over USB, which doesn't pass TRIM or SCSI UNMAP commands to SSDs. So, performance drops off quickly if there was previously data in the block where new information is headed.

Seagate's Backup Plus starts out strong, with reads and writes just under 200 MB/s. By the end of the test, performance is down to just under 100 MB/s. Moving larger blocks does benefit performance, but we stick with 128KB chunks to get a good average of what an external drive is typically subjected to.

File Transfers

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These are real-world file transfer tests using Disk Bench, during which we record time and throughput. The Blu-ray ISO we use is Avatar (2D + 3D Edition); the game is the directory of rFactor; and the directory copy is a 15.2GB mix that includes movies, music, PDFs, Word documents and other files.

Even though Seagate's Backup Plus appears toward the bottom of these charts, it still performs fairly well. Two of the competing products, LaCie's Rugged RAID and Adata's SE730, are high-performance units. All three of the comparison drives are also designed for portability instead of secure backup.

  • BalintLToth
    I want to, but I just don’t trust HDD anymore. 2 WD my passports broke down on me recently. One was working for 2.5 years the other for 3 months. I’m saving for SSD so there wouldn’t be mechanical failures.
    Reply
  • joex444
    "The Backup Plus 6TB offers the best value when you divide dollars by gigabytes" is a really weird way to phrase it. Often times in sciences we would say what the units represent -- cost divided by capacity. Sometimes we don't, like with cars we have miles per gallon when we really talk about fuel efficiency.
    Reply
  • Flying-Q
    I used to be a die-hard Seagate fan, but over the last few years in the shop I have seen too many of their products fail in data-destructive ways, causing disruption, delays and costs to customers. I have lost faith in their products. Recently, I have read some reviews from BackBlaze that echo my experience, so for me, it does not matter how fancy the software package with this drive is, I will not buy or recommend one.
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    17590226 said:
    "The Backup Plus 6TB offers the best value when you divide dollars by gigabytes" is a really weird way to phrase it. Often times in sciences we would say what the units represent -- cost divided by capacity. Sometimes we don't, like with cars we have miles per gallon when we really talk about fuel efficiency.

    Seems fine to me. x amount of money for z gigabytes instead of z gigabytes for x amount of money.
    Reply
  • DrakeFS
    Honestly when you pass 4TB you would probably be better served by a NAS than a USB attached drive. If you need 8TB for backup purposes, I would suggest a NAS with 3 4TB drives in Raid 5. Loosing 8TBs of data because of a single drive failure would really suck. Also, use at least a powerline filter between your HDDs and the wall socket. Dirty Power kills HDDs. I am disappointed that this unit does not have a network port but I understand why (Seagate does not want to cannibalize their NAS segment).

    Still though the best price per TB I have found is a Seagate 5TB @ $26\TB ($130) while this 8TB comes in @ $28.75\TB.
    Reply
  • sansari786
    May be I missed it. I don't see any mention of the actual Hard drive specs. Is it He or something else. I miss the time where the reviewers would actually pop open the enclosure and show screen shots of the drives etc.... now most of the pics seem to come straight from the product marketing materials.
    Reply
  • DrakeFS
    May be I missed it. I don't see any mention of the actual Hard drive specs. Is it He or something else. I miss the time where the reviewers would actually pop open the enclosure and show screen shots of the drives etc.... now most of the pics seem to come straight from the product marketing materials.

    I do not think it would matter, I know Seagate mixed 5400rpm and 7200rpm drives in their 4TB externals (same make, model and price).
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    17590172 said:
    I want to, but I just don’t trust HDD anymore. 2 WD my passports broke down on me recently. One was working for 2.5 years the other for 3 months. I’m saving for SSD so there wouldn’t be mechanical failures.

    SSDs have their own limitations and issues. Right now most modern SSDs have very low P/E cycles compared to older SSDs. This should change when Intel and Micron start shipping their new 3D stacked NAND and other companies do as well.

    The funny thing is that mechanically HDDs tend not to fail as much as they do due to the PCB burning up or the platters corrupting blocks.

    17590595 said:
    May be I missed it. I don't see any mention of the actual Hard drive specs. Is it He or something else. I miss the time where the reviewers would actually pop open the enclosure and show screen shots of the drives etc.... now most of the pics seem to come straight from the product marketing materials.

    It depends on if they bought it or if it was a review sample. A lot of sites get samples to do reviews in and sometimes limitations are given. Much like with new CPUs, sometimes Intel or AMD might give TH/Anand etc a CPU early on to do testing with but only to a certain point.
    Reply
  • texastim65
    If you build your own this type of product makes very little sense when you can set up a RAID 1 in about 1 minute for far less cost. I've done this for the past 10 years and it's saved me on several occasions when a drive failed as it was simple to install another one and tell the RAID to rebuild itself.

    It's really only for laptop users or people who buy pre-built systems from Dell.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    17592571 said:
    If you build your own this type of product makes very little sense when you can set up a RAID 1 in about 1 minute for far less cost. I've done this for the past 10 years and it's saved me on several occasions when a drive failed as it was simple to install another one and tell the RAID to rebuild itself.

    It's really only for laptop users or people who buy pre-built systems from Dell.

    Or if they want a central data hub that any system can access instead of having it in their PC. It is easier to create a NAS and share it than to share out from your PC.
    Reply