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

Can An Old-World Storage Vendor Compete In The SSD Space?

Slowly but surely, the enterprise-oriented SSD industry is changing. Gone are the days of SLC-based drives serving as the workhorses of the data center. Even high-endurance MLC is beginning to give way to more vanilla compute-quality MLC flash. Much of this is a direct consequence of what enterprise-class customers want. Over the past few years, they've eschewed pricier models, favoring desktop drives that can be swapped out quickly. These "disposable" SSDs are a known commodity. They're cheap and still perform admirably. Everyone knows they'll wear out faster, but that doesn't matter. All SSDs wear out and eventually need to be replaced; it's a fact of life. What folks have figured out, though, is that it's more cost-effective to replace ordinary desktop drives at a higher rate than spending big bucks on robust SSDs.

This is why, over the course of 2013, you will start seeing more SSD vendors segment their enterprise families into swim lanes, each addressing a specific use case. In the case of the 600 Pro, you're looking at a product built specifically for read-intensive workloads. You just have to be careful with it. Writes chip away at its rated lifespan quickly. We plan to review a number of SSDs that fit the same description over the next few months, though. No doubt, vendors will take slightly different approaches to this, and it will be exciting to see where the industry goes (at least as exciting as enterprise storage gets).

Seagate's 600 Pro doesn't offer the best raw performance out there. But it is quite capable, and we do see it lead the pack in several categories. It just can't do what an Intel SSD DC S3700 can do. Then again, the 600 Pro only really struggles in the workloads it's not meant for anyway. Keep this thing out of write-intensive environments and it'll treat you well.

When we talked to Seagate about the 600 Pro, we knew that pricing would make or break it. If the company planned to sell above $2/GB, there'd be no way we'd want it. Surely, thousands would have still sold. But it would have played second fiddle to some of the more impressive enterprise SSDs already on the market. However, at ~$1.50/GB, Seagate has a winner on its hands.

Let's put that into perspective. Seagate's Savvio 146 GB 15K.3 SAS drive sells for almost $1.70/GB. Of course, the Savvio has a lower failure rate and nearly unlimited write endurance. But it's still astounding how far the prices on solid-state storage are falling.

The 600 Pro (and the rest of Seagate's new solid-state drives) show the storage world that this company is serious about augmenting its conventional storage line-up. It isn't going to let its enterprise drive business dwindle as SSDs become more prevalent. Seagate is still at a disadvantage, though. This is the company's first complete solid-state product portfolio. It has strategic business relationships with a number of key players, but it doesn't have its own controllers and it doesn't manufacture NAND. We can only hope that Seagate uses its clout in storage to continue developing compelling SSDs and create a more competitive landscape, to all of our benefits. 

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  • mayankleoboy1
    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 ? :)
  • blackmagnum
    Who's joining the party next... WD?
  • Lrxst
    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®?
  • drewriley
    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
  • drewriley
    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.
  • mayankleoboy1
    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.
  • thecynicalmonk
    "For The Enterprise" Bout time the USS Enterprise got an upgrade! No more waiting for the holo-deck to buffer!! lolz
  • danwat1234
    "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.
  • rgeiken
    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.
  • bards1888
    The DRAM on the SSD is typically only used to store the indirection table, it does not cache user data.