Seagate 600: Mediocre Power Numbers, But Solid All-Around
When you ship tens of exabytes of hard drive capacity every year, the solid-state storage game might seem like small potatoes. Sure, the industry is maturing, and flagging PC sales might give big companies reason to reconsider jumping in with both feet. But Seagate waited for its time to strike, and now that the time is here, the 600 isn't found wanting for much. Sure, you might not get a fancy install kit or a class-leading warranty, but you do get a SSD that vacillates between merely quick and vying for the top spots in our testing.
By some estimates, Seagate will supply 20% of the SSDs used in laptops by 2017. That's a ton of ground to make up in four years, and it's difficult to know whether not owning the fabs or controller IP are going to render those estimates overly optimistic. Strategic partnerships are one thing; vertical integration is another entirely. And those power figures we reported on the previous page certainly aren't going to help in the mobile space.
Otherwise, for its first venture into the consumer SSD jungle, the 600 comes prepared. Considering where SSD technology was just a few short years ago, there have to be a handful of companies envious of the position Seagate is starting from. And the few rough spots we did identify may very well be smoothed out over time.
The fact of the matter is that most 600s won't be sold on the virtual shelves of e-tailers. Instead, they'll be packaged up in bulk and shipped to OEMs and VARs and other alphabet soup organizations. Seagate is less interested in selling you one drive when it can sell thousands to its partners. This is true of most big players, some of which sell their OEM products, unchanged, to consumers. Others have special bills of material and unique product names to differentiate. We like keeping this stuff in mind when it comes time to figure out what force was at work when a vendor made a design decision.
Bottom line: aside from its power consumption, which is among the worst we've seen from a modern SSD, and a goofy limited warranty, there isn't much we can hold against Seagate's standard 600 SSD. Given the right pricing, it could be a go-to in the not-too-distant future. Then again, Seagate isn't talking about how much the 600 is going to cost. We've already see the 240 GB 600 Pro posted at $325 on Newegg, and that probably includes the ubiquitous "new product tax." That's a pretty fair price for a read-oriented enterprise-class SSD. But the garden variety 600 isn't meant for big businesses. The vanilla 600 is for you. Specifically, Seagate says it's for your laptop, though our power measurements lead us to believe better options exist in that space.
It's not immediately obvious that the 600 is worth any kind of premium over the high-end SSDs already available. If nothing else, the 600's chassis is second to none, though that's not a reason to shell out extra ducats for a solid-state drive. Pricing info will help us put things into context the next time we publish a Best SSDs For The Money column. Fortunately, with the state of the industry like it is, there are plenty of other fish in the sea should Seagate want too much for the privilege of owning its first consumer SSD.