Seagate Barracuda SSD
SEAGATE IS FINALLY GETTING SERIOUS
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.
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