We use a diverse mix of products to compare to new USB portable SSDs. The LaCie Rugged RAID with both USB and Thunderbolt 2 connectivity is the farthest removed from the others. Rugged RAID uses two 2TB hard disk drives in RAID 0 and it likely the best portable HDD and the closest one to flash-based products.
The Adata SE730 was a popular portable SSD in late 2017. It's compact size and speedy USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface encapsulated what the market was like just prior to 3D flash taking over. The HP P600 and Silicon Bolt B80 are both newer designs and represent the market today. The Samsung T5 is the best-selling portable SSD series shipping today.
The 1TB Seagate Fast SSD delivers an amazing performance reading data at all block sizes. The drive has ample headroom above 128KB blocks so you will see excellent performance reading more than one file at the same time.
Our first write test with the Seagate Fast SSD didn't go very well. Right out of the box the drive was painfully slow. I'm not sure if Seagate ran a torture test on the drive before shipping or if it was some other issue. After formatting the drive, the performance moved to expected levels, what you see in the review today.
Full User Span Performance
Reading data across the full user space is remarkably smooth. The Fast SSD trails the Adata SE730 and Silicon Power Bolt B80 but the margins are so close users wouldn't notice in under normal use. If you are a Seagate fan and that carries over to the LaCie brand that Seagate owns, you will notice how much faster the Fast SSD is on the same chart with the Rugged RAID.
In the sequential write test, we again see smooth performance with the Fast SSD. The drive had a strong dip right around the 10% mark but it quickly recovered and resumed smooth write operations.
File Transfer Tests
The 1TB Seagate Fast SSD is even faster than we expect. In our real-world transfer tests, the Fast SSD whipped through our data, and it didn't matter if it was large block sizes, like the Blu-Ray ISO, or small block sizes, like the game directory using rFactor. The mixed data transfer with just over 15 terabytes of data took just over sixty seconds. That was eight seconds faster than the Samsung T5.
The Seagate Fast SSD lives up to its name for USB-enabled storage. It would have been great for Seagate to use this branding on a Thunderbolt 3 drive backed by an NVMe SSD. Maybe we will see a Seagate Faster SSD in the future. As for right now, the Fast SSD is above average for USB-connected devices and for this price, we are fine with that.
The series starts pricing at less than $90 for the 250GB drive. It's a strong price point that we find quite affordable. We like the 500GB model at $109.99 better and think it will be the most popular in the series. Pricing escalates quickly for the 1TB we tested today ($227.99 at the time of writing) and $419.99 for the 2TB.
If your needs don't go beyond the norm, the Fast SSD is a great option not just for yourself but also as a gift. As we move closer to the holiday shopping season, we may see pricing erode quickly. A portable SSD is a great gift idea for hard to shop for techy relatives.
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