Articles

Seagate 600 and 600 Pro SSD Review

Author:Hugh Briggs

Editor:Kyle Bennett

Date: Tuesday , May 07, 2013

Seagate refreshes its line of consumer and enterprise SSDs with a new family of third-generation SSD products. We take a look at the consumer mainstream Seagate 600 and the enthusiast model, the Seagate 600 Pro. Will its LAMD Amber LM87800 controller, custom firmware, and Toshiba Type C 19nm MLC NAND make it a standout?

Seagate 600 and 600 Pro SSD Basics

Seagate has released its third generation of SSDs starting with the Seagate 600 and the Seagate 600 Pro Series SSDs. The Seagate 600 is a mainstream consumer SSD solution, and the 600 Pro version will have a dual usage model. The Seagate 600 Pro will find use in enterprise environments with pricing low enough that Seagate foresees this SSD also gaining traction in the enthusiast market.

Seagate is also expanding its enterprise product line with the release of the 12Gb/s Seagate 1200 SSD and the Seagate X8 Accelerator PCIe SSD. The release of the 12Gb/s SAS SSD and the X8 Accelerator rounds out Seagate's SSD offerings and provides the company with a complete portfolio of SSDs for any usage model. Seagate feels that the broad portfolio it has built will allow it to leverage IP and technology across many different product stacks.

The large HDD manufacturers have been slow to jump into the flash game, with many even decrying SSDs as an unsustainable storage device as recently as a few years ago. Many analysts have predicted that large HDD manufacturers will help to bring about the commoditization of SSDs, but the slow integration of SSDs into HDD manufacturer product stacks has significantly hampered progress. The OEM roots of HDD manufacturers require more intense validation and qualification cycles that significantly impair its ability to compete in the fast moving flash market. Seagate has developed an approach of leveraging strategic partnerships with key NAND manufacturers and companies with existing products to accelerate time to market.

Seagate and Link_A_Media (LAMD) have a long relationship that began with Seagate's initial foray into the enterprise SSD market with the Pulsar SSD series. Seagate and LAMD collaborated during the design phases of the LAMP SSD controllers, and this experience and familiarity led to the use of the LAMD Amber LM87800 controller in both of Seagate's new consumer products. The continued use of LAMD controllers is good news for Seagate, the recent procurement of LAMD by SK Hynix led many to expect SK Hynix to remove the LAMD controllers from the market for proprietary use.

Seagate is partnering with Toshiba and Samsung for NAND, but isn't constraining itself to these two providers. Both of the 600 Series SSDs utilize Toshiba Type C 19nm MLC NAND. The Seagate 600 has sequential speeds of 500/400 MB/s read/write respectively, and random speeds up to 80,000/70,000 read/write IOPS.

The Seagate 600 Pro uses the same NAND and DRAM, but comes with extra overprovisioning in the enterprise variant. This SSD features sequential read/write speeds of 520/450 MB/s and random read/write speeds of 85,000/30,000. We note the much lower random write speed advertised for the enterprise version, but this is due to the measurement being taken in steady state, as opposed to FOB (Fresh Out of Box) with the consumer model.

We are familiar with the LAMD controllers from the Corsair Neutron Series of SSDs. These SSDs have proven to be extremely reliable and have excellent sustained performance. In our previous reviews of the Neutron and Neutron GTX the enterprise background of LAMD has shown through in the consistent performance in steady state conditions. Rock solid reliability in the field has given the LAMD-powered SSDs a great reputation for reliability.

Seagate is using its own firmware in conjunction with the LAMD controllers to provide enhanced performance and error correction abilities. Today we will put the Seagate 600 Series of SSDs through its paces against other LAMD powered SSDs and the current performance leaders in the SSD market.