Seagate has been making external, Hard Disk Drive based, storage solutions for many… many years. Over the years some of the models have been known for their funky innovation (GoFlex series springs to mind), some have been great work horses, but some have failed to live up to the high standards of their predecessors. Usually even their ‘also rans’ are decent, but for whatever reason they seem to fail to impress the average buyer.
Take the Seagate Expansion Desktop series. On paper, good price with good specs should be an easy win for Seagate. Sadly, the change from CMR/PMR based BarraCuda’s to Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) BarraCuda’s have left many with the impression of them having poor performance… with a few exceptions. We already looked at the most obvious one – the 8TB Expansion model and walked away fairly impressed with its ability to brute force past the whole SMR vs CMR issue via a ton of CMR tracks set aside as a ‘write buffer’. However, the most obvious exception is the older, but still available, 1TB variant of the Seagate Expansion series – the STBV1000100. This older model is not only the least expensive, but uses a rather elegant solution to sidestep any perceived issues. That solution is simple: it uses a CMR and not SMR hard drive. A CMR ‘Cuda that is actually a 7200RPM and not 5400RPM drive like its bigger siblings. Yes, sometimes smaller (and older) can indeed be ‘better’.
Today we are going to take a long hard look at this particular model and see if it to can live up to expectations. With a real-world asking price of $60 (and we have seen them go for in the $50 range) this should not require that big a leap of faith. After all, housed inside this ‘desktop’ external storage solution is a 3.5” BarraCuda 1TB ST1000DM010 drive. A decent, albeit older (circa 2016) drive that has been paired with a decent USB 3.1 gen 1 (aka USB 3.0) interface. So with price neatly taken care, and the performance side of the equation covered this model in particular may not only standout due to its unusual blend of features, but be the one thing we love seeing: a hidden gem. A hidden gem with outstanding value.
Somewhat cooling our hopes of finding another gem are a few mitigating factors. The fist is this model, like all Seagate Expansion, come with short 1 year warranty. The next is… it is still sixty bucks (USD) for a single 1TB of storage capacity. That is rather expensive these days. Lastly, this model is not only small by modern standards but it also small in the amount of onboard cache (64MB), platter count (one), and r/w heads (two pre-TDMR ‘old school’ heads). That does leave enough mystery that we felt it worth our time to investigate and give you our educated opinion on this model. So, let’s find out where the Seagate Expansion 1TB actually falls on our personal ‘value meter’.