I've installed CrashPlan for a lot of my family, and given some of them USB flash drives for local backup, which works pretty well, but I also want to setup a long-term off-site backup, for which I figured the easiest thing would be to setup a 24/7 backup server in my own house with a 4TB drive.

I bought an Intel Compute Stick CS125, and a Seagate Backup Plus Portable 4TB drive, but when I plug it into the USB 3 port, it doesn't work, seemingly due to the power requirement... it connects and disconnects unltiple times and then crashes the little computer. I'm wondering if anybody can recommend another cheap, low power computer that has enough power for 4TB drive, and enough processing power to run crashplan, or perhaps recommend another 4TB drive that might use less power?

If all else fails, it does seem to work fine on the USB 2.0 port, but I would prefer to have a device that can actually power USB 3.0 devices properly. Seems like a failing of the CS125 to me... I don't want a poorly designed device...

  • 1
    It might be better to build/buy a small PC (vs a compute stick style PC) that's dedicated to this. For a couple reasons: SATA is going to work better than USB and it will allow you to setup RAID for some amount of backup.
    – 0-60FPS
    Jan 10, 2017 at 16:01
  • Yeah, the only reason I chose the compute stick was that it was the simplest, cheapest low power device I could find ($120 and 10W). Do you have any recommendation for something in a similar price & power range?
    – mltsy
    Jan 10, 2017 at 18:56
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    If you're going cheap, I say keep the compute stick, and get either (A) a hard drive with its own power supply (not USB-powered) or (B) a powered USB hub to provide power to the portable drive.
    – browly
    Jan 10, 2017 at 21:00
  • Have you considered posting the tech support question to SuperUser to see if there might be a solution to the current USB 3.0 issue?
    – Jeff
    Jan 10, 2017 at 21:03
  • Like @browly said, you could try a hdd with a "non usb power supply" like a hdd "docking station" like this
    – 0-60FPS
    Jan 10, 2017 at 21:35

1 Answer 1


I ended up keeping the Intel CS125, and just returned the 4TB drive, as I technically didn't need that much space yet. For now 2TB will be fine. But after talking with Intel support, they suggested that it's likely a 4TB drive is just too much for it to handle, and would be incompatible via USB 3. (I am still curious whether another 4TB drive might work, but I'm not going to spend more time trying to figure it out until I need 4TB)

The CS125 has been a bit on the slow side, but it does the job of backing up data fast enough, and really does use under 10W of power, even during startup (usually idles around 5W, which is less than my laptop uses when it's in sleep mode!) So it's a pretty decent option overall with that specific caveat of the USB 3 not supporting a 4TB drive (other USB 3 devices work fine). I didn't find any better options for the same price.

  • LOL. Who was the fool at MS that said USB 3.0 cannot handle a 4TB drive? It may not be able to handle the power requirement via a single cable, but that is easily rectified with an enclosure that has a separate power and data cable. Feb 2, 2017 at 3:20
  • Right. Technically Intel (not MS) said it was just probably not compatible with that unpowered 4TB drive (i.e. replacing the compute stick with another one is not likely to fix the problem). Incidentally, I have encountered issues with the audio driver failing and requiring a restart since this post, so I'm hoping I didn't make the wrong choice! Time will tell.
    – mltsy
    Feb 15, 2017 at 16:56
  • I am thinking I will likely go with a Parallella board if I end up making a tiny system. Something about the 5 watt power consumption and 16 cores @ a hundred bucks just seems about right..... Feb 15, 2017 at 17:25
  • That thing looks awesome for Open Source development. I needed something I could install CrashPlan on, and that processor is definitely not on the list of available compiled executables ;) (That's what I get for using proprietary software)
    – mltsy
    Feb 15, 2017 at 17:50

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