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Nowadays, external hard disk drives are virtually indispensable as secondary storage space for computers with low disk space, as a data backup device, or as a simple way to carry around big amounts of data. Among the portable models (usually based on 3.5 inches drives and with no need for an external power supply), the Seagate Seven stands out because of its thickness of only 7 mm and the robust design. Let’s look a little closer at it.
The highlight of the portable external hard disk drive Seagate Seven is its main design feature: the 7 mm thickness with a steel case. It also uses an USB 3.0 interface, which promises a good performance. As a comparison, one of the thinnest models we tested previously was the Seagate Backup Plus Slim, which is 13 mm thick, almost twice the Seven’s.
The product is available only with 500 GB because it uses a Seagate Laptop Ultrathin (ST500LT032) 5 mm thick hard disk drive internally, which does not offers higher capacities. This hard disk drive works at 5400 rpm and has 16 MiB cache, with SATA-600 interface.
The Seven (which part name is STDZ500400) costs around $98 USD.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the Seagate Seven.
[nextpage title=”The Toshiba Canvio Connect 2 TB”]
Figure 1 unveils the Seagate Seven package, which is austere and elegant.
Figure 1: box
The product comes only with a small manual and a nylon-covered USB 3.0 cable, as shown in Figure 2. The hard disk drive itself comes within a slim steel case.
Figure 2: package contents
Figure 3 shows the detail of the drive thickness. The Seven measures 4.8 x 3.2 inches (122.5 x 82 mm) and, as we mentioned before, is 7 mm (0.28”) thick. It weighs 6.3 oz (178 g).
Figure 3: the profile of the Seagate Seven
On the top of the drive, there’s an activity LED and, on the edge, the USB 3.0 port. The brand and the model are discreetly engraved.
Figure 4: LED and the USB 3.0 port
Figure 5 shows the bottom of the Seven. The unit is perfectly sealed with no screws.
Figure 5: bottom of the drive
[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]
As we have no other 500 GB external hard disk drive on our laboratory to run a comparative benchmark, we tested the Seagate Seven with CrystalDiskMark 3 and ran the same test on a 2.5-inch Toshiba MQ01ABD050 hard disk drive, connected to an USB 3.0 port using the interface that comes with the Seagate Backup Plus 1 TB External HDD. So, we could have an idea of Seven’s performance compared to other drive with similar capacity and rotational speed, connected to the same interface, even not being a direct competitor product.
- Processor: Core i7-5960X @ 3.5 GHz
- Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer
- Memory: 16 GiB DDR4-2400/PC4-19200, four G.Skill F4-2400C15Q-16GRR 4 GiB modules
- Boot drive: Kingston HyperX Predator 480 GiB
- Video display: Samsung U28D590D
- Power Supply: Corsair CX750
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- Desktop resolution: 3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz
- Intel USB 3.0 driver: 188.8.131.52
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.
CrystalDiskMark 3 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.
On the sequential read benchmark, the Seagate Seven was 6.6% slower than the Toshiba drive connected to the USB 3.0 port.
Also on the sequential write test, the Seagate Seven was 6.6% slower than the Toshiba drive.
On the random read benchmark with 512 kiB blocks, both drives has similar performance.
On the other hand, on the random write test with 512 kiB blocks, the Seagate Seven was 30% faster than the Toshiba drive connected to a USB 3.0 port.
On the random read test with 4 kiB blocks, the Seagate Seven was 5.9% slower than the Toshiba drive.
On the random write test with 4 kiB blocks, the Seagate Seven was 30% slower than the Toshiba drive connected to the USB 3.0 port.
In most of our tests, the Seagate Seven was a little slower than a standard hard disk drive of the same capacity connected to an USB 3.0 port. In short, the Seven did not perform exceptionally, but it was not slow at all, for a portable external hard disk drive.
Its capacity of only 500 GB is not a great feature, since there are 1 TB and even 2 TB models that cost less than the Seven. Thus, its main problem is its cost per gigabyte.
Anyway, this is not the focus on this model, which has as main highlights design and portability. In those aspects, it pleased us a lot, because of its toughness and, obviously, its slimness, making it ideal to carry inside a small suitcase, bag, or even a pocket.
Therefore, if you are looking for a slim external hard disk drive to carry around in a small suitcase or even in your pocket, but you don’t need a huge disk space and you don’t care too much about price, the Seagate Seven is a great product.