Seagate enters consumer SSD market, adds new enterprise drives


— 10:54 AM on May 7, 2013

Traditional hard drive makers have been slow to get into the SSD business, especially with consumer-focused drives. However, Seagate has now thrown its hat into the ring with a fresh lineup that includes everything from 2.5" client drives to PCIe-based accelerators designed for servers. Let's start with the consumer-oriented Seagate 600 SSD, which uses the same Link_A_Media Devices controller as the Corsair Neutron SSDs we reviewed last year.

The simply named 600 SSD combines the LAMD controller with 19-nm MLC flash memory. Like most modern solid-state drives, it's available in a slim 7-mm form factor. Seagate is also making ultra-slim 5-mm versions of the drive for especially skinny notebooks. The 5-mm models have identical performance ratings, and I suspect the only difference is the thickness of the case. Speaking of performance ratings, here's how the various models stack up.

Capacity Sustained sequential (MB/s) Peak 4KB random (IOps)
Read Write Read Write
120GB 500 300 80,000 60,000
240GB 500 400 80,000 70,000
480GB 500 400 80,000 70,000

There's no word on pricing, but we can tell you the 600 is backed by a three-year warranty. The 480 and 240GB drives are covered for the length of the term or until 72 terabytes are written, whichever comes first. Oddly, though, the datasheet also says thoses drive are rated for a maximum of 40GB of writes per day. 40GB per day for three years works out to only about 44TB. The math is similarly confusing for the 120GB model, which is good for 20GB per day or 36.5GB of total writes.

For entry-level enterprise markets, the Seagate 600 Pro adds power loss protection and claims to offer the "industry's highest" highest IOps rate per watt. Seagate has a broader range of capacities in the 600 Pro family, and it looks like there are versions of the same hardware with different overprovisioning percentages. Here's how the lineup looks:

Capacity Peak sequential (MB/s) Peak 4KB random (IOps)
Read Write Read Write
100GB 520 300 80,000 20,000
120GB 520 300 80,000 8,000
200GB 520 450 85,000 30,000
240GB 520 450 85,000 11,000
400GB 520 450 85,000 30,000
480GB 520 450 85,000 11,000

All the 600 Pro drives are covered by a five-year warranty, and their endurance ratings vary quite a bit. Rather than expressing endurance in gigabytes written per day, Seagate goes straight for the totals. The 480 and 400GB models are rated for 350 and 1080TB, respectively. The 240 and 200GB variants are good for 134 and 520TB, while the 120 and 100GB models can handle 24 and 220TB. As the total capacity drops, the endurance benefit associated with the extra overprovisioned area increases. The additional spare area also improves random write performance.

Like the 600 SSD, the 600 Pro uses MLC NAND and features a 6Gbps Serial ATA interface. If you're looking for something a little more exotic, then the 1200 SSD might be up your alley. This drive is primed for servers and features a dual-port, 12Gbps SAS interface. It also has a five-year warranty and the ability to withstand up to 14 petabytes of writes in its top, 800GB configuration. I won't drown you in performance specifications for this one; the official datasheet (PDF) has the goods.

The final member of Seagate's new solid-state family is the X8 Accelerator, an eight-lane PCI Express 2.0 card designed for really high-end servers. If you have to ask how much this one costs, you probably can't afford it. The X8 is available in capacities up to 2.2TB, yet it still squeezes onto a low-profile expansion card. That top model is rated for over a million random read IOps, and its endurance is pegged at a substantial 33 petabytes. You can view the datasheet right here (PDF).

While the X8 Accelerator is a little outside the realm of what we cover, we're working on putting together a review of the Seagate 600 SSD. Stay tuned.

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