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

Blazing speed meets high endurance

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

Competing SSD makers, like Samsung, are backpedaling on endurance by swapping out 2-bit MLC flash for 3-bit TLC flash, resulting in lower endurance ratings for the company's newest Pro SSDs. Seagate takes the opposite approach with the FireCuda 120, and Samsung’s endurance ratings, including that of the 860 EVO, pale in comparison.

The FireCuda 120 embraces high reliability with hefty endurance ratings and a long five-year warranty, but it also comes with a free data recovery service for three years to hammer home the reliability message. If something goes wrong, your data recovery is covered (assuming the data can be recovered).

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Seagate’s FireCuda 120 performed very well in today’s testing bombardment. Although it is limited by the SATA 6Gbps bus, the FireCuda 120 led the pack in sequential performance. Also, while it features a small SLC cache, it delivered very consistent write speeds. The consistent write performance, along with the responsive random performance, boosted the FireCuda's scoring in our benchmark suite.

Seagate’s FireCuda 120 falls under the company’s gaming product line-up, and for most gamers, it's more than fine for storing your games library. However, we feel this product appeals most to content creators and prosumers with heavy write workloads, or those who want to outfit a NAS to host their work content. The spacious 4TB capacity also allows you to store a tremendous amount of data on one drive, or you can combine several of them for even more capacity. 

Plus, there is its high cost, which while all the 

Gamers always want the best, but the reality is that most don’t spend a lot of storage, instead focusing on buying the best CPU or GPU they can squeeze into their budget. 'Price is king' is the norm, especially for something as common as a SATA SSD. More often than not, most gamers search for the lowest-cost decent SSD they can find.

After monitoring the FireCuda 120’s prices over the past few months, we don't have high hopes of seeing a more competitive price point. At 4TB, Samsung’s 860 EVO, 870 QVO, and WD’s Blue 3D are roughly $200-$250 cheaper than the Seagate, offering up a similar performance in most daily workloads and making them a much better bang for your buck. Price aside, the FireCuda 120 is still a solid, well supported, and reliable SATA 6 Gbps SSD from Seagate.

 

MORE: Best SSDs

MORE: How We Test HDDs And SSDs

MORE: All SSD Content

Sean Webster
Sean Webster

Sean is a Contributing Editor at Tom’s Hardware US, covering storage hardware.

  • Flayed
    Talking about SSD endurance, I've had my 860 Evo for a year now and the total bytes written are 7140.4GB. I don't think I'm in the demographic for a high endurance drive :P
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    Flayed said:
    Talking about SSD endurance, I've had my 860 Evo for a year now and the total bytes written are 7140.4GB. I don't think I'm in the demographic for a high endurance drive :p
    Outside of a corporate database, almost no one is.

    Of my current 7 drives:
    C - 500GB 850 EVO: 54.733TBW, 38k POH
    E - 250GB 840 EVO: 4.750TBW, 73k POH
    K - 250GB 840 EVO: 5.3TBW, 72k POH
    G - 1TB 860 EVO: 3.5TBW, 17.5k POH
    I - 1TB SanDisk Ultra II: 1.6TBW, 17k POH
    F - 500GB 860 EVO: 1.1TBW, 20k POH
    H - 1TB Intel 660p: 4.2TBW, 13.1k POH


    Cumulative total:
    75.1 TBW, 235k POH, (AKA 9,700 days, 26.8 years).
    Reply
  • evdjj3j
    I don't think fast means what the author thinks it means.
    Reply
  • seanwebster
    evdjj3j said:
    I don't think fast means what the author thinks it means.
    Slow compared to NVMe for seq transfers sure. At least it isn't a slow DRAMless SSD. It's fast for SATA.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    seanwebster said:
    Slow compared to NVMe for seq transfers sure. At least it isn't a slow DRAMless SSD. It's fast for SATA.
    Average for SATA III. And at $190 for 1TB, over priced.
    Current 860 EVO is $110 for 1TB.
    Reply
  • seanwebster
    USAFRet said:
    Average for SATA III. And at $190 for 1TB, over priced.
    Current 860 EVO is $110 for 1TB.
    Way overpriced
    Reply
  • escksu
    I have to say endurance is never an issue for mainstream end-user drives. You will easily get around 200-300TBW for 500GB drive, 250GB probably 100-150TBW.

    If you have to write 200TB of data onto your 500GB drive, you probably need a bigger drive instead. I used to have an Adata 500GB but its too small due to the ridiculous of space needed by games today, esp. online games (eg. WOT, WOWS, MWO etc...). I usually play them 1-2 times a week. Not that often but having to reinstall every time I play is too tedious. So, bought 1TB drive and resolve the space issue.

    Of course, there are situations where uses will need to keep writing to the drive (eg. video editing), but this isn't what most end-users do on a daily basis.
    Reply
  • Glock24
    escksu said:
    I have to say endurance is never an issue for mainstream end-user drives. You will easily get around 200-300TBW for 500GB drive, 250GB probably 100-150TBW.

    If you have to write 200TB of data onto your 500GB drive, you probably need a bigger drive instead. I used to have an Adata 500GB but its too small due to the ridiculous of space needed by games today, esp. online games (eg. WOT, WOWS, MWO etc...). I usually play them 1-2 times a week. Not that often but having to reinstall every time I play is too tedious. So, bought 1TB drive and resolve the space issue.

    Of course, there are situations where uses will need to keep writing to the drive (eg. video editing), but this isn't what most end-users do on a daily basis.

    Endurance may not be an issue for regular users, but reliability is. I've seen dear ADATA and Kingston drives, bit I've yet to see a dead Samsung, Crucial, Intel or Sandisk SSD.

    Also the cheap SSDs than come with cheap laptops are really crappy, probably DRAMLESS or QLC or both. I saw a Dell that's like 6 months old and the 256GB Kioxia drive it comes with is already al 90% health with very light use.

    As a comparison, I've got Samsung 840 (non-Evo) 120GB drives in office PCs with over 6 years of use and they show ~93% health.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    Glock24 said:
    Endurance may not be an issue for regular users, but reliability is. I've seen dear ADATA and Kingston drives, bit I've yet to see a dead Samsung, Crucial, Intel or Sandisk SSD.

    Also the cheap SSDs than come with cheap laptops are really crappy, probably DRAMLESS or QLC or both. I saw a Dell that's like 6 months old and the 256GB Kioxia drive it comes with is already al 90% health with very light use.

    As a comparison, I've got Samsung 840 (non-Evo) 120GB drives in office PCs with over 6 years of use and they show ~93% health.
    Indeed.
    The only one of my SSD's that showed any slowdown was a Kingston. And I wouldn't buy an ADATA at all.
    The 2x 840 EVO I have in this system are still showing 100% health after 6 years.
    Reply
  • gg83
    How can Seagate compete with these high prices? The competition is close enough and much cheaper. Is endurance that important?
    Reply