Seagate FireCuda 2TB
SCORE ✪✪✪✪✪ PRICE £76 (£86 inc VAT) from pcpro.link/274fire
Seagate’s FireCuda is the last hurrah for hybrid desktop drives that combine a traditional hard disk with a small SSD. With so much space inside most PCs for a dedicated SSD, they’ve failed to take off.
2TB is the highest-capacity FireCuda you can buy, and it costs a reasonable £90 inc VAT. However, that price is reflected in the miserly 8GB portion of NAND flash memory for its SSD buffer.
The drive keeps tabs on which files are accessed most often and stores them on the SSD portion. While that sounds promising, in practice it leaves little room for Windows files and your favourite apps. What’s more, the NAND is only of the multi-level cell (MLC) variety, so it isn’t particularly speedy or long-lasting. At least Seagate provides a reassuring five-year warranty, which should last this disk’s active life.
In practice, despite the small helping of memory, the FireCuda performed quite well in our tests. Although this drive doesn’t get along with AS SSD, where it returned an appalling sequential read figure of 60.9MB/ sec and the slowest access time on test, it matched the other cheaper drives for sequential workloads in CrystalDiskMark – and topped the table for random writes.
In PCMark 8, it came top in nearly all the tests and had a huge lead in overall bandwidth. This reflects the fact that PCMark is the closest to a real-world test, as it focuses on app-loading times and repeats each test three times, giving the drive a chance to learn what data is being accessed frequently.
If you’re planning to build a tiny system in which performance isn’t the biggest concern, but want a decent amount of storage space, the FireCuda is worth considering.