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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]
Users are always damanding more and more storage space, not only inside their computers, but also as portable external hard disk drives. Nowadays, 2 TB portable external drives are becoming popular, and we will test two models: the Seagate 2 TB Backup Plus Slim and the Western Digital 2 TB My Passport Ultra. They are both compact drives and make use of the USB 3.0 interface. Let’s check for the results!


Portable external hard drives make use of 2.5” hard disk drives internally, which is the same kind of hard drives used in portable computers (desktop hard drives are usually available in the 3.5”, which is obviously bigger). The power for those drives come from the USB port itself.
The following table shows the main characteristics of the devices we are testing.

Manufacturer Model Model # Nominal Capacity Price
Seagate Backup Plus Slim STDR2000102 2 TB USD 100
Western Digital My Passport Ultra WDBMWV0020BBK 2 TB USD 100

Now let’s take a closer look at the tested drives.
[nextpage title=”The Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2 TB”]
The Seagate Backup Plus Slim comes only with a manual and a USB 3.0 cable.

2 TB Portable External HDD duelFigure 1: accessories

Figure 2 shows the Backup Plus Slim 2 TB. It is really slim, measuring 4.5 x 3.0 x 0.5 inches (114 x 76 x 13 mm) and weighing 5.7 oz. (161 g). The top cover is made of aluminum.

2 TB Portable External HDD duelFigure 2: the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2 TB

At the rear of the unit is the USB 3.0 port, as shown in Figure 3. The activity LED is on the top part of the device.

2 TB Portable External HDD duelFigure 3: rear

Figure 4 shows the bottom of the drive.

2 TB Portable External HDD duelFigure 4: bottom

[nextpage title=”Inside the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2 TB”]
Removing the cover of the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2 TB, we found a 2.5” Seagate/Samsung hard disk drive, model ST2000LM003. It features a SATA-600 interface, 32 MiB cache, and spins at 5,400 rpm. The drive is connected to a removable USB 3.0 interface.

2 TB Portable External HDD duelFigure 5: top cover removed

Figure 6 shows the bottom of the hard disk drive.

2 TB Portable External HDD duelFigure 6: bottom

As seen in Figure 7, the interface that converts the SATA-600 drive to USB 3.0 is very small and can be removed from the drive.

2 TB Portable External HDD duelFigure 7: USB 3.0/SATA interface

[nextpage title=”The Western Digital My Passport Ultra 2 TB”]
The Western Digital My Passport Ultra 2 TB also comes only with a manual and a USB 3.0 cable.

2 TB Portable External HDD duelFigure 8: accessories

The drive has a plastic case with the USB 3.0 and the activity LED on the same side. The My Passport Ultra measures 4.3 x 3.2 x 0.8 inches (110 x 82 x 20 mm) and weighs 8.2 oz. (233 g).

2 TB Portable External HDD duelFigure 9: USB 3.0 port

Figure 10 shows the bottom of the device.

2 TB Portable External HDD duelFigure 10: bottom

[nextpage title=”Inside the Western Digital My Passport Ultra 2 TB”]
Opening the WD My Passport Ultra 2 TB, we found a 2.5” hard disk drive, model WD20NMVW, with the USB 3.0 interface embedded on its printed circuit board. It has 8 MiB of cache and spins at 5,200 rpm. An interesting detail is that this drive is 15 mm thick, while common 2.5” drives are 9.5 mm or 7 mm thick. This is because this little drive has four platers inside.

2 TB Portable External HDD duelFigure 11: the hard disk drive

Figure 12 shows the detail of the drive. Notice that it has rubber pads at the sides; they help absorb vibrations and even small impacts, which is an excellent feature to have on a portable hard disk drive.

2 TB Portable External HDD duelFigure 12: circuit board

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]
We tested both the drives using DiskSpeed32 and CrystalDiskMark programs. They were connected to a USB 3.0 port. The only variable component between each benchmarking session was the HDD being tested.
Hardware Configuration

Operating System Configuration

  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit SP1

Software Used

Error Margin
We adopted a 3% error margin in our tests, meaning performance differences of less than 3% can’t be considered meaningful. Therefore, when the performance difference between two products is less than 3%, we consider them to have similar performance.
[nextpage title=”DiskSpeed32″]
DiskSpeed32 is a disk drive benchmarking program that makes a read test of the entire drive, thus taking a long time.
The graph below shows the burst read speed for each tested hard disk drive, in kiB/s.

2 TB Portable External HDD duel

THe WD My Passport Ultra was 14% faster in the burst speed test.
The next graph shows the maximum sequential read speed for each tested drive, in kiB/s.

2 TB Portable External HDD duel

Both the drives reached the same performarmance in this test.
The following graph shows the average transfer speed in kiB/s. This is the test that really matters in this software.

2 TB Portable External HDD duel

In this test, the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2 TB was 16% faster than the WD My Passport Plus 2 TB.
[nextpage title=”CrystalDiskMark”]
CrystalDiskMark is a disk drive benchmarking program that measures the write and read speed in different block sizes. We compared the results in sequential read and write, and in 512 kiB and 4 kiB block sizes read and write. We configured it for five repetitions of each test of 1 GB of random data.
The graph below shows the sequential read speed for each drive, in MiB/s.

2 TB Portable External HDD duel

In the sequential read test, the Backup Plus Slim was 21% faster than the My Passport Ultra.
The next graph shows the write speed of sequential data, in MiB/s.

2 TB Portable External HDD duel

Also in the sequential write test, the Seagate Backup Plus SLim performed 22% faster than the My Passport Ultra.
The following graph presents the read speed in 512 kB blocks, in MiB/s.

2 TB Portable External HDD duel

Both drives performed equally in the 512 kiB random read test.
The following graph presents the write speed in 512 kB blocks, in MiB/s.

2 TB Portable External HDD duel

An in the 512 kiB random write test, the two units also performed the same way.
The read speed in 4 kB blocks, in MiB/s, is shown in the next graph.

 2 TB Portable External HDD duel

In the random read test with 4 kiB blocks, the My Passport Ultra was 15% faster than the Backup Plus Slim.
The following graph presents the write speed in 4 kB blocks, in MiB/s.

 2 TB Portable External HDD duel

In the random write test with 4 kiB blocks, the WD My Passport Ultra 2 TB was 29% faster than the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2 TB.
[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]
In our tests, the Seagate drive was a little faster in sequential tests, but the WD model was a little faster while accessing small blocks of data. Thus we can consider it a technical tie.
The Backup Plus Slim takes advantage of being, as its name says, slim. This can be important if you have to carry it with your laptop in a briefcase. It is also lighter than the WD My Passport Ultra. On the other hand, the WD My Passport Ultra fits inside its casing using four rubber pads, which makes it, at least theoretically, more resistant to small impacts.
Costing exactly the same, we can only conclude that both the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2 TB and the WD My Passport Ultra 2 TB are excellent portable external hard disk drives.

Last update on 2021-06-16 at 17:27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API