POWER UP- Huge Seagate Expansion 8TB External HDD

POWER UP- Huge Seagate Expansion 8TB External HDD

One of the best deals per terabyte on the market, the Seagate Expansion Desktop 8TB External Hard Drive retails for $162 USD, roughly 150 pounds, about 230 Canadian, and 5299nt in Taiwan. If you pull the trigger and grab one through our affiliate links below, it does help us out a bit here, so thanks for your support.

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Key features of the Seagate Expansion 8TB are the huge portable space it provides, connection through USB 3.0, and the included 18 watt power adapter. There’s a one year warranty in the Americas, two year in Europe and Africa, and three years in Asia/Australia/Oceania depending on where you purchased this external drive.

The front panel is left blank, with the/blue access LED light located at the back of the top panel, it’s side-lit for even lighting that’s visible but not bright. The Seagate Expansion 8TB sides have this square with triangle pattern, which provided a little texture for grip, good because the slightly shiny surface would be a little slippy otherwise.


The drive connects and is easy to use right away

The bottom has 8 rows of holes cut out for convection air intake, and 4 tiny rubber feet, which raise the drive up by about a millimeter. On the rear panel there’s lots of vents and connectors for both the power and USB 3.0 cable. Included in the box is the 45 centimeter or 18 inch USB 3.0 cable, and the 172 centimeter or 5 and a half foot long AC adapter, which does 12v out at 1.5 amps.

Build quality of the Seagate Expansion 8TB is just okay. It doesn’t feel like it’ll come apart, but it does make a bit of noise. Then again, we’re doing a keyboard type test on something that’ll never likely see this kind of stress.


Plugging the Seagate Expansion 8TB in, it’s pre-formatted for windows, the drive connects and is easy to use right away. On the drive, it comes with a Warranty PDF, as well as a Start Here EXE for windows which launches an online registration as well as links to pages showing you how to drag and drop or automated backup in Windows 7 through 10.

CrystalDiskInfo saves us from opening the case, the drive inside is a Seagate DM004, 8 terabyte 5400 rpm SMR-type drive with 256 megs of cache. We tested read and write speeds, with CrystalDiskMark 6.0.1 it came out to 149 read, 152 write, in HDTune 2.55 we saw a minimum of 160, max of 193 averaging 180 megs a second. Access time was 12.1 milliseconds, CPU usage at 3.3 percent.


In windows with the drive over 60% full, we were able to get 130 megs a second average, some peaks around 145 and dips down to 98 megs a second depending on file sizes. This is a very good speed, considering this Seagate Expansion 8TB external drive is connected through USB 3.0 and spinning at 5400 rpm.

For power consumption, when you connect the Seagate Expansion 8TB with USB at first it goes up to 18 watts then down to about 7 watts, dropping down to just under 6 watts on idle at first. During file transfer, it goes up to 8 watts at start, then averages about 7.2 watts for the remainder. After a bit of idling, the power drops down to about 5.1 watts.

If you close all windows for the drive, the drive light blinks 3 times in a pattern for about 30 seconds, I’m thinking that may be either Windows or the Shingled Magnetic Recording or SMR performing whatever cleanup it needs to do? Let us know if it’s something else in the comments.

Safely Ejecting the Seagate Expansion 8TB, the notification in Windows pops up immediately and the blue LED goes out after about 2 and a half seconds. For power, it drops to 1 watt for about 10 seconds then drops to 0 watts, and we were impressed with that, really good.


This Seagate 8TB external is an SMR drive

Before I mentioned this is an SMR drive, what does that mean? Previously there was just PMR, or Perpendicular Magnetic Recording, the exact same thing as CMR or Conventional Magnetic Recording. This tech worked the same as a record, where data is in its own grooves, being able to be read and written, although obviously multiple times, not like this vinyl record.

This Seagate Expansion 8TB uses SMR or Shingled Magnetic Recording technology, which is a way to more closely pack data into the same amount of space, increasing data capacity. This lowers prices for the consumer, the trade-off being these drives are better suited for medium usage or archive drives, as the drive needs non-busy periods to clean up writing operations.

For most users you won’t notice this extra work. For higher usage needs like heavy read/writes or in a RAID setup, you should grab a CMR type drive. And of course if you have a NAS, you should get a NAS type drive, which is designed to handle 24/7 operation and the vibration of multiple drives all together.

Also coming in 3, 4, 5, 6 Terabyte options, as well as a 10 terabyte we spotted on Amazon Canada, this Seagate delivers a huge backup option with great transfer speeds for not much cash out of your pocket.


It’s really amazing that you can get 8TB of storage

First off, it’s really amazing that you can get 8 terabytes of storage without having to donate an arm for it. Getting 8 terabytes used to be super expensive, and even the bare internal drive is selling at a higher margin than a portable enclosure which is easy to move from location to location AND even comes with its own AC adapter.

At just $132 USD at time of publication, the Seagate Expansion 8TB is a real steal of a price for extra storage space for media especially, and if you’re working on making your own media, it’s really a no-brainer. With really decent transfer speeds of 130 megs a second average even over 60% full, we’re definitely recommending this drive for daily use and as backup. The SMR technology doesn’t hinder the drive either, writing quickly and providing lots of space.

We were happy to see the massive amount of vents on the bottom and rear of the Seagate Expansion 8TB, and the front and top closed off which prevents accidental spray from easily entering the drive. The blue light at the back is subtle, not too glaring, and along with the triangular patterned sides, it lends a nice design touch to your desk. The unit has some weight, which helps it not tip over, but you should definitely put it in a more protected area so you don’t knock it off your desk. It still has desktop drive drop tolerances, not like hardier notebook drives, so putting it somewhere safe like hiding behind a curved monitor is recommended.


I’d like to see the inclusion of a stand

One thing I’d like to see included would be the inclusion of a stand, like wide rubber pads on the bottom which would hug the sides up a bit, like a Playstation 3 or 4 stand. This would increase stability from being knocked over, and considering the tiny rubber feet on the Seagate Expansion 8TB only provide barely over a millimeter of clearance, raising up the unit just a few millimeters would increase airflow and therefore cooling of the unit.

The Seagate Expansion 8TB drive certainly offers a lot for a great price, delivering decent quality with huge storage at a budget price. If you’re looking for extra storage and decide to grab one for yourself, buying through our affiliate links down below does help support us here with no extra cost to you.

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Rick Novlesky

Rick balances his work for Techspin writing, shooting and production with equal parts of sleep deprivation and coffee intake.