Skip to main content

Seagate FireCuda 120 SATA SSD Review: Fast, Expensive, and Enduring

Blazing speed meets high endurance

Seagate FireCuda 120
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Our Verdict

Seagate’s FireCuda 120 is a costly but fast and reliable SATA 6 Gbps SSD that features high endurance, five years of warranty coverage, and three years of Rescue Data Recovery Services.

For

  • Reliable and responsive architecture
  • Appealing aesthetics
  • Capacities up to 4TB
  • Five-year warranty
  • Three years of Rescue Data Recovery Service
  • Software package

Against

  • High price per gigabyte
  • Small SLC cache
  • Lacks AES 256-bit drive encryption

Tom's Hardware Verdict

Seagate’s FireCuda 120 is a costly but fast and reliable SATA 6 Gbps SSD that features high endurance, five years of warranty coverage, and three years of Rescue Data Recovery Services.

Pros

  • +

    Reliable and responsive architecture

  • +

    Appealing aesthetics

  • +

    Capacities up to 4TB

  • +

    Five-year warranty

  • +

    Three years of Rescue Data Recovery Service

  • +

    Software package

Cons

  • -

    High price per gigabyte

  • -

    Small SLC cache

  • -

    Lacks AES 256-bit drive encryption

Are you looking to replace your slow HDD storage with high-capacity flash? Seagate’s FireCuda 120 might be a good fit. The FireCuda SATA SSD is spacious, has a high endurance rating, and is designed specifically for gamers. 

Seagate tapped Phison-designed hardware and BICS4 96-Layer TLC flash to create the 4TB FireCuda 120. Although Seagate built the SSD for gamers, it's very high endurance ratings appeal to creative content editors and prosumers, too. As expected for a 4TB SSD, the price tag is a bit steep, but Seagate also charges more per gigabyte of storage than competing drives, so you pay for the extra endurance and three-year data recovery service that comes with the drive.

Specifications

ProductFireCuda 120 500GBFireCuda 120 1TBFireCuda 120 2TBFireCuda 120 4TB
Pricing$99.99$189.99$299.99$619.99
Capacity (User / Raw)500GB / 512GB1000GB / 1024GB2000GB / 2048GB4000GB / 4096GB
Form Factor2.5" 7mm2.5" 7mm2.5" 7mm2.5" 7mm
Interface / ProtocolSATA 6 Gbps / AHCISATA 6 Gbps / AHCISATA 6 Gbps / AHCISATA 6 Gbps / AHCI
ControllerPS3112-S12PS3112-S12PS3112-S12PS3112-S12
DRAMDDR3LDDR3LDDR3LDDR3L
MemoryKioxia 96L TLCKioxia 96L TLCKioxia 96L TLCKioxia 96L TLC
Sequential Read560 MBps560 MBps560 MBps560 MBps
Sequential Write540 MBps540 MBps540 MBps540 MBps
Random Read100,000 IOPS100,000 IOPS100,000 IOPS100,000 IOPS
Random Write90,000 IOPS90,000 IOPS90,000 IOPS90,000 IOPS
SecurityN/AN/AN/AN/A
Endurance (TBW)700 TB1,400 TB2,800 TB5,600 TB
Part NumberZA500GM10001ZA1000GM10001ZA2000GM10001ZA4000GM10001
Warranty5-Years5-Years5-Years5-Years

Seagate’s FireCuda 120 is available in capacities of 500GB 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB. Seagate rates the SATA 6 Gbps SSD for sequential read/write throughput of up to 560/540 MBps, and it can sustain up to 100,000/90,000 random read/write IOPS. 

You'll pay a premium for the drive – high street prices of $0.15-$0.20 per gigabyte are up to twice the price you'll pay for competing SSDs. The high price partially stems from the FireCuda’s high endurance ratings, but the three years of Rescue Data Recovery Services probably plays a role, too. 

Along with its high capacities, Seagate’s FireCuda 120 comes with endurance ratings that stretch up to 5.6 petabytes, which translates to 0.7 Drive Writes per Day (DWPD) within its five-year warranty. This is partly due to Phison’s third-gen 340 bit/2KB LDPC ECC and other mechanisms, like static and dynamic wear-leveling, RAID ECC, and overprovisioning.

Software and Accessories

Seagate supports the SSD with SeaTools SSD, an SSD toolbox that allows users to monitor the SSD. The drive also comes with Seagate DiscWizard, a simple-to-use system cloning and backup software.

Image 1 of 3

Seagate FireCuda 120

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 2 of 3

Seagate FireCuda 120

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 3

Seagate FireCuda 120

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

A Closer Look

Image 1 of 4

Seagate FireCuda 120

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 2 of 4

Seagate FireCuda 120

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 4

Seagate FireCuda 120

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 4 of 4

Seagate FireCuda 120

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The FireCuda 120’s black metal casing gives it a quality feel, and the design is appealing if you plan on showing off the SSD in your computer case. The SSD comes in a slim 2.5” 7mm form factor, so it will also fit in most laptops that accept the form factor.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The Phison PS3112-S12 SATA 6 Gbps SSD controller, a robust 8-channel controller manufactured on TSMC’s 28nm process technology, powers the drive. It leverages a dual-CPU architecture with a built-in 32-bit microcontroller. The controller clocks in at 666 MHz and interfaces with two of Kingston’s 8Gb DDR3L 1,600 MHz DRAM ICs to cache metadata and ensure responsive performance. 

The controller supports secure erase, end-to-end data path protection, Trim, SMART data reporting, and thermal throttling that's managed via an internal thermal sensor. It also comes with Phison’s SmartFlush algorithm that prevents data loss by flushing the DRAM to the cache when the drive is idle. SmartRefresh also helps to ensure data integrity by scanning for NAND errors when an idle state is detected. 

The FireCuda also supports DevSleep for low power draw when idle. However, unlike competing drives like Crucial’s MX500 and Samsung’s 860 EVO, the SSD lacks AES 256-bit disk encryption to keep your data secure.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Our sample has a massive amount of Kioxia’s BiCS4 96L TLC flash that interfaces with the controller. Seagate uses eight packages in total, with each package containing eight 512GB dual-plane dies. The FireCuda 120’s BiCS4 flash operates at 533 MTps, which isn’t nearly as fast as some of the newest NAND. However, the controller has more than enough speed and interleaving to pump out SATA-bus-saturating performance at every capacity point.

MORE: Best SSDs

MORE: How We Test HDDs And SSDs

MORE: All SSD Content