Seagate Seven Becomes This Thinnest 500GB Portable Drive

Seagate announced a handful of new products at CES 2015 and let it be known that this year will be the company's 35th year in the storage business. Among the new products being announced was the Seagate Seven, which true to its name is a 7mm thick portable external drive. That makes it thinner than an iPhone 6 Plus and give it the title of being the World's thinnest 500GB portable hard drive! Seagate set out to make an ultra-thin premium 500GB portable drive that was made entirely of steel that had the overall appearance of a bare hard drive. If you hate plastic portable drive enclosures and are looking for something as thin as possible, the Seagate Seven was designed for you. The only downside to the Seagate Seven (model STDZ500400) is the premium price tag that it carries, which is currently $96.24 shipped from Amazon. Seagate Seven mm 500GB Drive From what we gather the Seagate Seven uses the Seagate Laptop Ultrathin 500GB HDD (single-platter, 5400 RPM drive with 16MB of cache/buffer) that is just 5mm thick and then the steel enclosure adds a total of 2mm of thickness to the Seagate Seven to give it the stiffness and durability that is needed for a portable drive housing. The Seagate Laptop Ultrathin HDD 500GB drive part number that is in our enclosure is ST500LT032, which runs $83.34 shipped on Amazon this very second. That makes us feel better about the $96.24 price tag as for an additional $13 you are getting the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 steel housing and the USB 3.0 data cable! If that is too much you can always cut the price in half by going with the thicker and less sexy Seagate Expansion 500GB Portable External Hard Drive that uses USB 3.0 and is only $48.99 shipped! Seagate Seven Drive Bundle Inside the Seagate Seven retail packaging you'll find the portable external drive in a plastic sleeve to keep it from getting scratched during shipping, a very nice fabric braided USB 3.0 cable that is 12-inches in length and a basic setup pamphlet that will help you get up and running should you need any assistance. Seagate Seven 500GB External Drive The Seagate Seven was clearly designed to be thin with minimalist features. On the front of the stainless steel enclosure you'll find nothing of interest besides the a branding logo with some basic information that was laser etched onto the surface of the drive and a blue LED activity light. It should be noted that you can enable and disable this light in the Seagate Dashboard software utility.  The overall shape of the external portable drive is that of a traditional notebook hard drive that has been smoothed out a bit, so the shape should be familiar to anyone that has ever held a traditional hard drive. Seagate Seven Drive Housing 7mm On the back of the drive you'll find some of the markings required in various parts of the world for legal reasons and then things like the serial number and part number. The Seagate Seven 500GB drive that we are looking at today weighs in at 6.3 ounces and measures in at 122.5mm x 82mm x 7.0mm (L x W x H). This measurements make this the thinnest 500GB portable hard drive ever made. The matte finish on the stainless steel keeps finger prints and smudges from being seen as badly as those on high-gloss finish drives. Seagate Seven USB 3.0 Port Along the bottom edge of the drive you'll find the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 connector that is used for both powering the drive and data throughput. Since all the power is drawn through the USB 3.0 cable there is no need to carry around a wall power adapter or two USB cables. The Seagate Seven is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 ports in the event that you need to use the Seven on an older system. Let's take a quick look at the Seagate Dashboard utility and then run a couple quick benchmarks!

Seagate Dashboard Utility Features

Seagate Seven 500GB External Drive The Seagate Seven comes with the Seagate Dashboard installer pre-loaded onto the drive, so when you use the drive the very first time you can install this handy app from day one. Once Seagate Dashboard is installed though you'll want to check for updates with the built-in update check to ensure you have the most recent build. seagate-seven-capacity All of the Seagate Seven drives come formatted in exFAT to ensure the drive is compatible with both Windows and Mac systems. Seagate says that the Seven will work on systems running Mac OS X 10.6 or higher and Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP3 (32-bit and 64-bit) as the operating systems. [gallery ids="159099,159100,159101,159102"] The Seagate Dashboard utility has a very easy to follow user interface and will allow you to backup your data locally and to cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive if you desire to do so. You also can share your data with social media sites like Facebook and Flickr. You can also download the Seagate Mobile Backup app if you have a smartphone or tablet running iOS 6 or Android 2.3 and higher. In addition to doing file sharing and data backups, the Seagate Dashboard also allows you to check the firmware version, free space of the drive, the files on the drive and register the drive under the info tab. More advanced users can check out the manage tab where you'll be able to control the LED light, run a test to ensure the drive is functioning normal and you can enable when the drive will be put into a power saving mode! Let's take a look at the test system and then check out the benchmark results.

The USB 3.0 Benchmark Test System

Before we look at the numbers, let’s take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. Windows has the power option set to high performance. Intel Z97 Test System
The Intel Z97 platform that we used to test the Inateck FD1006C was based around the ASUS Z97-A motherboard with BIOS 1008 that came out on 5/29/2014. The Corsair Dominator Platinum 8GB 2133MHz memory kit was set to XMP 1.3 memory profile settings, which is 1.65v with 9-11-11-31 2T memory timings. The Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD was used as the primary drive (uses 19nm NAND and M310 firmware).

Intel Z97 Test Bench

Intel LGA 1150 Test Platform
Component Brand/Model Live Pricing

Processor

Core i7 4790k

Motherboard

ASUS Z97-A

Memory

Corsair Platinum 2133MHz 8GB

OS Drive

Corsair Neutron 240GB

Power Supply

Corsair AX860i

Operating System

Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit
 

ASUS USB 3.0 Boost:

We wanted to make sure ASUS USB 3.0 Boost was enabled and opened up AI Suite 3 and sure enough the drive showed up as having UASP support. The Seagate Seven correctly showed up as a SCSI Disk Device in Windows 8.1. seagate seven uasp Seagate Seven CrystalDiskInfo:  seagate-seven-info Let's have a look at the performance!

ATTO Disk Benchmark and CrystalDiskMark

ATTO v2.47

ATTO is one of the oldest drive benchmarks still being used today and is still very relevant in the SSD world. ATTO measures transfers across a specific volume length. It measures raw transfer rates for both reads and writes and places the data into graphs that can be very easily interpreted. The test was run with the default runs of 0.5KB through 8192KB transfer sizes with the total length being 256MB.

seagate-seven-atto

Benchmark Results: ATTO showed the Seagate Seven 500GB Portable External Drive maxing out at 112 MB/s read and 112 MB/s write in the standard overlapped I/O benchmarkon the 64KB block size when connected to the ASUS Z97-A motherboard with the USB 3.0 interface. 

CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3 x64

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) for the last listed benchmark score. This can skew some results in favor of controllers that also do not support NCQ. seagate-seven-cdm Benchmark Results: The Seagate Seven 500GB drive topped out at 111.8 MB/s read and 109.4 MB/s write on the CrystalDiskMark sequential file transfer test with default settings. 

Final Thoughts & Conclusions

At the end of the day the Seagate Seven was found to be a solid premium portable hard drive that is aimed at consumers looking for an all steel enclosure that is as thin as possible. This drive makes a statement when it is pulled out of a laptop bag as it looks unique and the fabric braided USB 3.0 data cable adds to the high quality premium appearance. With regards to performance we found the Seagate Seven was capable of 112MB/s read and 112MB/s write speeds on our sequential file transfer tests and the drive never got hotter than 40C when moving around 20GB test files. These transfer speeds are as solid for a traditional hard drive, but fail to impress the performance numbers seen on Solid-State Drives as we've tested models that can approach up to 475MB/s sequential read/write on the USB 3.0 interface. Luckily, hard drives are less costly than SSD's and there is still a need for rotational storage in the market. Seagate Seven Size Comparison   When it comes to pricing the Seagate Seven is backed by a 3-year limited warranty and runs $96.24 shipped from Amazon. If that is too pricey for you there is always the Seagate Expansion 500GB Portable USB 3.0 Drive that is backed by a 1-year warranty and is currently $48.99 shipped! Keep in mind that the Seagate Expansion 500GB portable drive is 15.5mm thick, so you loose the the sleekness of the all steel Seagate Seven portable drive. Seagate only offers the Seven in a 500GB version, so you don't have to worry about choosing a capacity! Seagate clearly made this drive for those that hate the bulky plastic external drive housings and we easily give it the thumbs up if the 500GB capacity is enough for your needs and you are okay with a rotational storage drive. LR Recommended Award Legit Bottom Line: The Seagate Seven is the thinnest 500GB portable USB 3.0 hard drive and it features a sleek high-end design that should appeal to many tech-savvy consumers!