Backing up data can be confusing business these days. Files are getting larger as we demand higher resolution from video, audio and images. Slow transfer speeds between storage devices are something that time-starved workers don’t look forward to.
Enter Seagate’s Backup Plus Fast, the first external hard disk drive that has two 2TB hard disks in a RAID 0 array set up to give a combined 4TB of storage space with the theoretical data transfer speed of 220MB/s.
For the newbies, RAID or Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks puts 2 or more disks into a system that spreads out data storage among hard disks.
In RAID 0, the two hard disks in the Seagate Backup Plus Fast are used together and perform what’s called “striping”. The RAID array divides the data between two hard disks and the result is faster transfers from the PC or Mac to the drive via a USB3.0 connection.
A quick test using CrystalDiskMark showed an average read/write speed of 34MB/s and 29MB/s, which is not bad considering that I have only hooked the drive up in a USB2.0 port.
The downside of having RAID 0, however, is that the two drives don’t make the data safer. If one of them fails, the entire setup stops working. You’ll then have to find ways to recover your data.
Two disk drives also use up more power and I have to plug in two USB ports to use the Seagate drive. One transmits data, while the other feeds power to the drives.
The other thing to note is that the device comes pre-formatted in NTFS (New Technology File System) so Mac users have to use an NTFS driver for OS X or reformat the whole hard disk to the MacOS file system.
The good news is, even though the Seagate drive has two hard disks, it isn’t that big. Measuring 22mm thick and weighing 315g, it’s about the size of a small but thick notebook so it can be carried around easily with the laptop.
Who will the Seagate Backup Plus Fast work well for? Those who are handling file sizes that are particularly large, such as video files or RAW photo files.
Transferring them into the Fast is zippy so it doesn’t slow down the work process while on the go. That’s a boon for users working with huge Full HD video files and 50MB RAW files from cameras with very high-resolution sensors.
Unfortunately using RAID 0 means you don’t get any more backup robustness than a single-drive setup. If any of the two drives acts up, the data can still be lost. The high price – S$449 – also means there’s a premium to pay for the speed.