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Seagate 600 Pro-Series 200 GB SSD Review: For The Enterprise

Seagate 600 Pro-Series 200 GB SSD Review: For The Enterprise
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After years of halfhearted attempts to join the solid-state storage market, Seagate is finally ready to reinvent itself with a new family of SSDs. The first one we're looking at is the enterprise-class 600 Pro. Does this 200 GB drive impress our team?

As a result of extreme consolidation, there are basically two major players left in the magnetic hard disk industry: Western Digital and Seagate. Combined, they control 90% of the market, and shipped over 100 million drives in the last quarter alone. They dominate all aspects of conventional storage. But when it comes to SSDs, both companies are almost an afterthought. Compared to the competition, their solid-state offerings have been slow, expensive, and were quickly outdated.

Seagate, specifically, has released exactly two pure SSDs in the last three or so years. In late 2009, the company launched its Pulsar family. The refreshed Pulsar.2 surfaced in early 2011. And that was it. Both products were enterprise-class drives that commanded exorbitant premiums (~$9/GB for MLC NAND). Although the Pulsar.2's performance was acceptable when it debuted, by 2013 standards, its numbers are almost comical.

Fortunately, Seagate seems to recognize where it is and where it needs to go. Like most of solid-state-oriented companies we talk to, the company agrees that SSDs are the future of storage. Volumes are primed to explode over the next decade. Seagate also realizes that the SSD market is too varied for just a single product family. This isn't a revelation to Seagate. Remember, it sells no less than six different enterprise-focused line-ups based on magnetic storage, spanning a range of form factors and performance levels.

Today, Seagate is pulling the covers back from its next-gen SSDs. Each product targets a very different use case. First, the Seagate 600 SSD is a consumer-oriented offering that comes in capacities up to 480 GB, and we'll have a complete review of that going live tomorrow. It's unique in that it ships in both 7 and 5 mm z-height form factors, an industry first. Seagate's 1200 SSD is a dual-port 12 Gb/s SAS drive that offers excellent write endurance and up to 800 GB of storage. The X8 Accelerator is a PCI Express-based drive powered by Virident, which Seagate invested $40 million in earlier this year. Finally, we have the Seagate 600 Pro SSD, the drive on our test bench today.

The 600 Pro ships in six capacities: 100, 120, 200, 240, 400, and 480 GB. This is a fairly interesting set of configurations, since the 100, 200, and 400 GB models are simply factory-over-provisioned versions of the 120, 240, and 480 GB offerings. And as you can see in the table below, the over-provisioning changes two key specs. Random 4 KB writes nearly triple, while write endurance increases between 3-9x. You could conceivably achieve the same thing by over-provisioning the larger drives manually, but Seagate believes there is value in doing this at the factory. Pricing should be the same, regardless of whether Seagate over-provisions the drive for you or not.

Speaking of pricing, expect to pay between ~$1.20-1.35/GB, depending on quantities, for the non-over-provisioned drives (120, 240, and 480 GB). For the over-provisioned models (100, 200, and 400 GB), pricing should fall around ~$1.40-1.60/GB.

Seagate 600 Pro SSD
User Capacity
100 (120) GB
200 (240) GB
400 (480) GB
Interface
2.5"  6 Gb/s SATA
Sequential Read
520 MB/s
Sequential Write
300 MB/s450 MB/s
4K Random Read
80,000 IOPS85,000 IOPS
4K Random Write
20,000 (8 000) IOPS30,000 (11,000) IOPS
Power Consumption(Active)2.8 W
Power Consumption (Idle)
1.05 W1.25 W
Write Endurance
220 (24) TB520 (134) TB
1,080 (350) TB


Based on specifications alone, it's hard to tell how these drives are going to perform. Sequential performance and 4 KB random reads appear outstanding. Four-kilobyte random writes and write endurance look great on the over-provisioned versions. In that regard, the 600 Pro is much like other drives in the same space. If you want better write endurance and random write performance, expect to pay dearly for them.

We're looking at Seagate's 200 GB 600 Pro, specifically. What makes this drive enterprise-oriented, and how do its read-focused specifications stack up against the competition?

Display 10 Comments.
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  • -1 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , May 7, 2013 7:20 AM
    1. Would it have made sense to add more DRAM to increase performance ? On a SSD this expensive, 1GB RAM would hardly add 20$ or so.

    2. On the first page, the fourth paragraph :"Today, Seagate ........... bench today."
    You completely went over my head. It appears you are just throwing names around. Maybe reword that para again ? or explain here ? :) 
  • 5 Hide
    blackmagnum , May 7, 2013 9:46 AM
    Who's joining the party next... WD?
  • 2 Hide
    Lrxst , May 7, 2013 10:57 AM
    WD bought SiliconSystems in 2009 and has been making WD branded SiliconDrives. I put one in my i5 build shortly after they came out, and I feel like I am the only one who bought one for home use. They still make them, but are focusing on embedded systems at this point. Maybe Seagate will have more luck, but there are a lot of well established players already. I'm pretty luke-warm on Seagate. How do you know your Seagate SSD is on the verge of failure without the telltale Seagate Click of Death®?
  • 2 Hide
    drewriley , May 7, 2013 11:27 AM
    mayankleoboy11. Would it have made sense to add more DRAM to increase performance ? On a SSD this expensive, 1GB RAM would hardly add 20$ or so.2. On the first page, the fourth paragraph :"Today, Seagate ........... bench today." You completely went over my head. It appears you are just throwing names around. Maybe reword that para again ? or explain here ?


    1) With the DRAM-to-NAND ratio already being 1MB->1GB it is already fairly aggressive, it may have helped with performance consistency, but I don't think you would see much improvement.
    2) Basically, Seagate announced 4 products today
    a) Seagate 600 Pro - Entry level, read-focused, enterprise SSD
    b) Seagate 600 - Consumer SSD, which we will have reviewed tomorrow
    c) Seagate 1200 - High-end, dual-port, 12Gbps SAS SSD
    d) X8 Accelerator - High-end plug-in PCIe SSD

    Hope this helps.

    Drew
  • 0 Hide
    drewriley , May 7, 2013 11:33 AM
    LrxstWD bought SiliconSystems in 2009 and has been making WD branded SiliconDrives. I put one in my i5 build shortly after they came out, and I feel like I am the only one who bought one for home use. They still make them, but are focusing on embedded systems at this point. Maybe Seagate will have more luck, but there are a lot of well established players already. I'm pretty luke-warm on Seagate. How do you know your Seagate SSD is on the verge of failure without the telltale Seagate Click of Death®?


    You're the one that bought that drive :-) You are right on point with WD/Silicon Systems. They were primarily an embedded flash vendor prior to acquisition. If you look at their webpage, you will see that they only offer SLC-based drives.
  • 0 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , May 7, 2013 11:45 AM
    drewriley1) With the DRAM-to-NAND ratio already being 1MB->1GB it is already fairly aggressive, it may have helped with performance consistency, but I don't think you would see much improvement.2) Basically, Seagate announced 4 products today a) Seagate 600 Pro - Entry level, read-focused, enterprise SSD b) Seagate 600 - Consumer SSD, which we will have reviewed tomorrow c) Seagate 1200 - High-end, dual-port, 12Gbps SAS SSD d) X8 Accelerator - High-end plug-in PCIe SSDHope this helps.Drew


    Thanks, Drew. This made the paragraph clearer.
  • 2 Hide
    thecynicalmonk , May 7, 2013 5:50 PM
    "For The Enterprise" Bout time the USS Enterprise got an upgrade! No more waiting for the holo-deck to buffer!! lolz
  • 0 Hide
    danwat1234 , May 8, 2013 3:22 PM
    "For The Enterprise", lol they use isolinear rods and chips. I doubt these SSDs can compete against those at any angle. Maybe from a reliability perspective.
  • 0 Hide
    rgeiken , May 8, 2013 4:15 PM
    I have had several Seagate drives in the past and they both had reliability issues after their first year. Right now, Seagate is on my Do Not Buy List!!!! For any magnetic hard drive, I would select WD. Have had pretty good luck with that company. When any company produces parts that fail prematurely and then don't supply a replacement promptly, then they are on my DNB List. I will probably buy a Samsung SSD shortly, since with Samsung I have always had good performance and reliability.
  • 0 Hide
    bards1888 , May 9, 2013 4:03 AM
    The DRAM on the SSD is typically only used to store the indirection table, it does not cache user data.