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 Compared to the competition, their solid-state offerings have been slow, expensive, and were quickly outdated.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/s||450 MB/s|
|4K Random Read||80,000 IOPS||85,000 IOPS|
|4K Random Write||20,000 (8 000) IOPS||30,000 (11,000) IOPS|
|Power Consumption(Active)||2.8 W|
|Power Consumption (Idle)||1.05 W||1.25 W|
|Write Endurance||220 (24) TB||520 (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?
- Seagate's 600 Pro SSD: Enterprise On A Budget
- Inside Seagate's 600 Pro SSD
- Test Setup, Benchmarks, And Methodology
- Results: Write Endurance
- Results: 4 KB Random Performance And Latency
- Results: Performance Consistency
- Results: Enterprise Workload Performance
- Results: Sequential Performance
- Results: Enterprise Video Streaming Performance
- Can An Old-World Storage Vendor Compete In The SSD Space?