Earlier this month, the accomplished storage sovereigns at Seagate announced a trio of new solid state drives in various sizes, capacity and formats. This is the first time the company has turned its attention to the flash powered drives in a number of years. Lurking in the shadows, they watched as many tried but fell flat against the formidable wall of speedier solutions from OCZ, Intel, Mushkin and Samsung. But now the marketing speak for this new set of high speed triplets boast some truly impressive numbers for the Seagate 600 and 600 Pro SSD.
Today we’re evaluating the 600 model. Among the two SATA 3 interface offerings, the 600 is the lower end model, but only just slightly. It’s a 2.5-inch SSD available in both 7mm and 5mm z-height designs. This makes them perfect for desktop computers or within a mobile computing device with reduced internal real estate. The drive supports SATA 3 6Bg/s interface and is sold in capacities of 120 -, 240- 480GB. Seagate has opted for a MLC NAND flash type and the rather older Link A Media Device controller (LM87800). According to the PR the tech converges to produce some head-turning read/write speeds. But let’s see for ourselves if the Seagate 600 can hit the company’s claim of 500+ mb/s read and 400+ on the write.
This is a barebones drive which has become par for the course from Seagate. It shipped with no cables, manual, drivers or utilities such as the Acronis disk maintenance and cloning tools that are packed with many drives from Western Digital, OCZ and Kingston. There is also no mounting bracket. So if this is your first SSD, you may want to investigate exactly how your case does or doesn’t play nice with reduced height drives of the 7mm or 5mm variety. Usually a set of compatible screws is all that’s needed for most PC cases. After attaching the drive to the drive bracket on the Level 10 PC case, I connected the power cable and SATA 3 6GB/s interface cable from the drive to our EVGA z77 FTW motherboard. Upon start up, Windows detected the new hardware, found and installed drivers for it. We chose to set the drives as MBR (master boot record) with a “Simple Volume”. Now we’re all set for the benchmarks.
As you can see, the Seagate 600 SSD is no slouch. While it definitely can’t keep pace with the exalted OCZ Vector drive, the difference is hardly something the average client user will notice. This is more the case in the sequential read tests with ATTO Bench where the Seagate 600 walks away with a nice 553MB/s read speed. This is very close to the Vector’s 558MB/s read speeds. However, write speeds are not quite as close. The Vector hit a 533MB/s write speed while the Seagate 600 was only able to eke out 470MB/s. But the most amazing result of the 600 came with our real world test. We took a 30.5GB file of random movies in various formats, documents and an assortment of music files and moved them back and forth. Writing that load from a 7200rpm 3TB drive took 2min 38sec. Not too shabby at all.
That’s really an understatement for the Seagate 500 240GB SSD, when you take into account the cost. This stellar drive can be had for less than OCZ’s vector for fairly comparable speeds and performance. I will hazard a guess that OCZ’s own proprietary Inlinx controller is and will be better supported than the older LAMD controller from Link A Media. This is because the company has been acquired by Hynix who are mandating the used of their own Hynix NAND. So what will support look like until Seagate pushes out their next solutions in lieu of this changing of the guard for the LAMD? Only time will tell. But right now Seagate has a solid well-balanced performer in the Seagate 600 24GB Solid Sate Drive.
Bottom Line: The Seagate 600 Solid State Drive is a hard-working storage solution. The speed and performance are very close to the top contenders at Samsung and OCZ. Price is also comparable. Plus the the company has tossed in some few extra incentive by way of energy efficiency and a rugged housing to stave off damage from when a laptop or similar is dropped.