The rise in popularity of USB 3.0 has enabled a large number of high-speed bus-powered storage devices. Flash drives and external SSDs can take advantage of the high-speed nature of the interface. They have slowly been increasing in capacity too, and we even had a 1TB portable SSD from Samsung earlier this year. Unfortunately, the cost per GB is still too high for the average consumer. From the perspective of that market, bus-powered external hard drives (2.5") are hard to beat. 2TB USB 3.0 drives have been around for some time now, but the 4TB mark in the portable 2.5" form factor had only been achieved with dual drives and external power. Seagate recently launched the Backup Plus Portable 4TB USB 3.0 drive based on one of the first 4TB 2.5" drives in the market.

The Backup Plus Portable 4TB USB 3.0 drive internally carries a Seagate/Samsung Momentus ST4000LM016 drive. Information about this drive is currently sparse on Seagate's website. Suffice to say that this drive will not fit most notebooks (it is not thin enough). User reports based on the raw drive indicate that the thickness comes in around 15mm, which should be OK for NAS units and other applications. In any case, CrystalDiskInfo provides a lot of information about the internal drive.

Important aspects of the drive include:

  • 16 MB buffer
  • 5400 RPM spindle speed
  • SATA III 6 Gbps interface

It appears that the ST4000LM0016 uses five platters with a 800GB/platter design to achieve the capacity point. The USB 3.0 bridge chip also supports UASP and S.M.A.R.T passthrough. The unit has dimensions of 114.5 mm x 78 mm x 20.5 mm and weighs 541 grams. It comes with a USB 3.0 Type-A male to USB 3.0 micro-B male cable.

As portable hard drives become more and more of a commodity, vendors are attempting to put in value-adding features to the product. The Backup Plus Portables comes with 200GB of OneDrive storage valid for two years. In addition, we also have the ability to connect the unit to the Lyve app that provides photo / video management in the cloud. It also comes with a basic backup configuration software in the form of the Seagate Dashboard. We will be taking a brief look at these value added features after discussing the benchmark numbers.

DAS Benchmarks
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  • Jurgen_modeling - Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - link

    Does anyone know the power consumption of this drive?
    I have a Seagate portable 2.5inch 3TB USB3 drive which did not like my Surface Pro 3. When directly hooked up to the Surface Pro 3, the harddisk made scratching noises and could not boot properly. When I hooked up the Seagate 3TB drive to an external USB-based docking station, everything was fine. Other than power draw, I have no idea what else could have caused this issue. I suppose power draw on the 4TB to be similar or worse than on the 3TB drive.
  • hlmcompany - Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - link

    Jurgen, I do not know the power availability specific to a Surface Pro 3 for USB. However, portable hosts, like the SP3, do vary the power state for various devices, including USB ports. The max specified by the USB 3.0 standard is 900 mA, while the minimum is 150 mA.
  • aoshiryaev - Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - link

    The speeds reported are low! I have a 1tb USB 3 Transcend drive that reports 200MB seq read/write. Is it possible speed is diminished by capacity somehow?
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - link

    To reach 200 MB/s with an HDD it must be a 3.5" 7.2k rpm model with 1 TB platters, being measured at the beginning of the drive (fastest section). This is a 2.5" drive (slower) at 5.4k rpm (slower).
  • fokka - Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - link

    this. a portable 2.5" 1tb drive won't reach anywhere near 200MB/s. half of that if you're lucky. higher values might be due to the cache or some measuring artefacts like you often see in windows.
  • Notmyusualid - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - link

    No, its possible you got your numbers wrong my friend.
  • stevenrix - Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - link

    I own this drive, it is very fast if you want to write big files, a big of 1 gb can be transferred in 4 or 5 seconds which isn't bad for a 2.5 inch drive. With tiny files it's a nightmare.
    For the warranty, I had to send an email to Seagate because it was written "2 years of warranty" in french and "3 years of warranty" in english on the box. It turned out that this drive would be under warranty for 3.5 years.
    So far I am satisfied with this drive, I hope this unit won't fail in the next couple of years.
  • Samus - Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - link

    Ganesh, can you disassemble the drive case and take a photo for us?

    Also, can you take another CDI screen shot after a few hours of use. I'm curious where the load/unload cycle count (APM) value sits with this drive. My guess is its at 64, but I can do some math from the SMART values to determine how aggressive the power saving is set...helping determine the drives lifespan.
  • ummduh - Monday, August 10, 2015 - link

    Have to second this. Does the internal drive use a standard SATA connector?

    Sort of shocked no one took the case off for a look-see.
  • Per Hansson - Friday, August 21, 2015 - link

    Me to, I would really like to know if it's using a SATA connector or if it's USB direct.

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