Recently, one of our forum members, Jetlag, found popular Seagate 4TB drives for only $105 on NewEgg’s ebay account (with 2% ebay bucks available.) In April we found Seagate Backup Plus 4TB drives selling for only $124.99 each on Amazon. The cases they come in are very easy to open and inside we found a drive worth around $200. Here is a link to the original article that shows how to liberate the 4TB drives from the Seagate Backup Plus enclosure. Since then we have had several of them running in backup-tier Ceph cluster.
Why use these 4TB drives?
Inside the external USB 3.0 enclosure there are 4TB drives that normally sell for around $200 each. Opening the enclosure yields a usable SATA III hard drive.
What these drives allow one to do is add very inexpensive 2.5″ hard drives to enclosures. Typically one would have a 3.5″ chassis for hard drives used for backup and a 2.5″ chassis for SSDs. With these 2.5″ drives you can easily add 96TB to a standard 2U 24-bay 2.5″ chassis or add a few 4TB drives for backups in the same machine as SAS/ SATA SSDs. We would not suggest these drives for heavy enterprise use but they seem to work well in backup arrays we use.
These drives are slow. Performance of these drives is certainly well below what we would expect from 3.5″ drives or from 2.5″ higher speed drives. The spindle speed and small platter size do not help the drives much. We did a few quick ATTO runs using a number of the drives we purchased and the USB 3.0 interface is not slowing these drives down. Here are ATTO Benchmarks with the USB 3.0 enclosure:
And with a direct SATA III connection:
These are not scientific, but they do show you approximately how well the drives perform. There was a decent test run variation so assume that these drives are around 110MB/s maximum or the line rate for a 1GbE connection to your NAS.
Bonuses We Found
There are two nice bonuses we got with our drives. First, we received a 200GB OneDrive code for two years. Microsoft recently announced that free accounts will move from 15GB to 5GB which puts many accounts over the “free” tier limit starting summer 2016. Here are the changes from the Microsoft OneDrive blog:
- We’re no longer planning to offer unlimited storage to Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscribers. Starting now, those subscriptions will include 1 TB of OneDrive storage.
- 100 GB and 200 GB paid plans are going away as an option for new users and will be replaced with a 50 GB plan for $1.99 per month in early 2016.
- Free OneDrive storage will decrease from 15 GB to 5 GB for all users, current and new. The 15 GB camera roll storage bonus will also be discontinued. These changes will start rolling out in early 2016.
You can read more about the changes on the OneDrive FAQ. When you consider adding 50GB will be $1.99/ month, this can be worth $24/ year ($48 total) or more depending on your usage tier. While that is not a lot (and we have not been able to get these to stack), it is a nice bonus for anyone buying these drives.
The second bonus is the 2.5″ to USB 3.0 adapter that provides power through the adapter. It is possible to use this adapter outside of the standard Seagate enclosure which is very nice.
A nice USB 3.0 to SATA adapter will cost $10 but this is a small tool which may be useful to some.
Again here is a link to get the Seagate Backup Plus 4TB drives for only $105 on NewEgg’s ebay account (with 2% ebay bucks available.) We also have a popular forum thread on these drives that you can check out.