Seagate Bar­racuda SSD

SEAGATE IS FI­NALLY GET­TING SE­RI­OUS

PC & Tech Authority - - REVIEWS INTRO -

Seagate is one of the big­gest names in the stor­age busi­ness. With a few ex­cep­tions, it has largely steered clear of the con­sumer SSD mar­ket, in­stead con­cen­trat­ing on en­ter­prise SSD so­lu­tions as well as its me­chan­i­cal hard drive busi­nesses. The trends are un­de­ni­able though. SATA SSDs are cheaper than ever and have well and truly be­come main­stream de­vices, even in en­try level sys­tems. Seagate can’t sit by and watch its share of the stor­age mar­ket erode, so it’s good to see it come back into play with the Bar­racuda line of SATA SSDs. While Seagate is a huge player, the SSD mar­ket is an ex­cep­tion­ally com­pet­i­tive one with the likes of Sam­sung, Intel, Cru­cial and its tra­di­tional com­peti­tor West­ern Dig­i­tal all be­ing well es­tab­lished. The Bar­racuda might be a fe­ro­cious preda­tor, but there are plenty of other big sh in the sea. Can Seagate’s SSDs shake things up?

The Seagate Bar­racuda is a stan­dard form fac­tor 2.5 In SATA 6GB/s SSD. We have the 1TB model on hand for our re­view. The com­pany is po­si­tion­ing the drive as a cost ef­fec­tive drop in up­grade for de­vices us­ing 2.5 in HDDs, though the same also ap­plies to any other SATA SSD. It’s avail­able in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB ca­pac­i­ties.

The speci cations are about what you’d ex­pect in the era where SATA it­self is the bot­tle­neck. Pretty much all drives per­form se­quen­tial reads and writes in the mid 500 MB/s range, though the Seagate is gen­er­ally a touch be­hind when it comes to max­i­mum IOPS. Its en­durance rat­ing of 485 Ter­abytes Writ­ten for the 1TB model is a good num­ber for a home user en­vi­ron­ment.

Nor­mally we like to go into a bit of de­tail on the con­troller and NAND used in the drive, but Seagate was un­able to re­spond to our queries be­fore we went to press. As Seagate has a part­ner­ship with Toshiba, we think it’s a pretty safe bet that the Bar­racuda SSD is us­ing Toshiba 64-Layer TLC NAND. The con­troller is more of a mys­tery. We’d guess it is us­ing a 3rd party con­troller with a cus­tom rmware. There is sup­port for TRIM, and smart mon­i­tor­ing, but that’s pretty stan­dard fare.

Seagate has up­dated its Sea Tools soft­ware pack­age with sup­port for the Bar­racuda SSD. It of­fers a fairly stan­dard set of tools in­clud­ing mon­i­tor­ing, di­ag­nos­tics and rmware up­dat­ing.

The Bar­racuda per­forms par­tic­u­larly well when it comes to se­quen­tial per­for­mance against the Cru­cial and Sam­sung com­peti­tors, but it does lag be­hind on ran­dom per­for­mance. In gen­eral day to day use, a user won’t no­tice any dif­fer­ence be­tween the top per­form­ing SATA drives, but still, it’s bet­ter to be lead­ing the pack rather than trail­ing. As the Bar­racuda car­ries a price pre­mium, it needs to be trad­ing blows at the top of the leader boards if it’s to be se­ri­ously com­pet­i­tive.

The Bar­racuda SSD marks Seagate’s wel­come re­turn to the SSD mar­ket­place. The prob­lem it faces is that its main com­peti­tors all have ver­ti­cally in­te­grated man­u­fac­tur­ing with their own con­trollers and NAND pro­duced in house. SATA SSD’s are ef­fec­tively com­mod­ity items. They are all lim­ited by the SATA in­ter­face it­self. Other than some dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing fea­tures like war­ranty and en­durance, it all pretty much comes down to price. With the 1TB Sam­sung 860 Evo and Cru­cial MX500 avail­able for un­der $300, the Seagate Bar­racuda is sim­ply over­priced. If Seagate can some­how lower the price the at least match the com­pe­ti­tion, then its name recog­ni­tion should see it sell rea­son­ably well. Name recog­ni­tion only goes so far though. It’s not like Intel or Sam­sung are un­knowns.

The Seagate Bar­racuda will make a won­der­ful up­grade to a lap­top or sys­tem stuck on a me­chan­i­cal hard drive, but its price pre­mium makes it a re­ally tough sell against stiff com­pe­ti­tion. If the pric­ing is able to come in line with other high per­for­mance SATA SSDs then the Seagate will be­come a more com­pelling pur­chase.

The Seagate Bar­racuda SSD is a solid but un­re­mark­able drive that needs to come down in price if it is to truly com­pete.

KEY SPECS

1TB ca­pac­ity • 2.5 In x 7 mm form fac­tor • SATA 6GB/s in­ter­face • 560 MB/s se­quen­tial read • 540 MB/s se­quen­tial write • 90K ran­dom read IOPS • 90K ran­dom write IOPS • 485 TBW en­durance rat­ing • 5 year war­ranty $339 • www.seagate.com

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