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Seagate Firecuda 530 Vs MSI SPATIUM M480 PCIe4 M.2 SSD Comparison

20 août 2021 à 16:00

PCIe 4 NVMe SSD Comparison – MSI Spatium M480 vs Seagate Firecuda 530

The PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD market continues to grow into the accepted standard in 2021/2022 for performance – and the usual brands are rising to the challenge. If there is only one thing that you take from these comparisons on NVMe SSDs of late, it is that even in this relatively recent tier of Prosumer/Business storage, there is still plenty of choice. In fact, when Seagate revealed their industry beating Firecuda 530 last month, it was largely unchallenged for just a week, before MSI stepped up and formally revealed their new Spatium M480 series. What makes these two SSDs particularly interesting is that they are both based on an incredibly similar architecture and provide arguable comparable throughput too. Alongside this, professional and casual gaming consumers are having to make a choice here between Seagate (a big, BIG name in data storage) and MSI (a big, BIG name in gamer circles) – not as straightforward as you might think. So today I want to talk about these two brands, discuss what they offer in terms of performance, responsiveness, durability and endurance, and hopefully help you decide whether the Firecuda or Spatium M480 deserves your data.

 

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

MSI SPATIUM M480

PCIe Generation PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4
NAND 3D TLC Micron B47R 176L B27 3D NAND 96L
Max Capacity 4TB – Double Sided 2TB
Controller Phison E18-PS5018 Phison E18-PS5018
Warranty 5yr 5yr
 

A quick look at the architecture of each SSDs does NOT show a huge amount of disparity between them at first. Both arrive with PCIe 4.0 M.2 bandwidth (a potential maximum 8,000MB/s), the latest NVMe 1.4 revision and utilizing the cutting edge E18 Phison controller, resulting in over 7,000MB/s performance. However, one key difference we CAN see is in the choice of NAND being used by either NVMe SSD. Though both the Seagate and MSI SSD both use 3D TLC NAND, the M480 USES 96 layer NAND, whereas the Firecuda 530 arrives with an impressive 176 layer NAND – a significant advantage in a number of areas like IOPS and Throughput in the usage of the drive (even affecting endurance). This may seem like a minor point, but the impact of this choice will bear fruit later on. Let’s compare how each drive is priced.

MSI Spatium M480 vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Price & Capacity

The price tag of the Firecuda 530 and Spatium M480 respectively are both based on the most recently available pricing at the time of writing, though the MSI NVMes might change. Nonetheless, the pricing on each PCIe 4×4 SSD is actually quite comparable and the differences that appear between each capacity model and even in the currency conversion is not too bad. It should also be noted that the prices below are based o nthe M480 and FC530 without a heatsink, though both brands supply a high-quality heatsink kit version at a smaller increased cost. Overall, I would say that the MSI M480 has a lower Price per GB/TB than the Seagate drive, but that is not quite the end of the story, as both brands have providing slightly different series capacity options:

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

MSI SPATIUM M480

500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 M480-500GB
Price in $ and $ $139 / £119 $119 / £105 (TBC)
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 M480-1000GB
Price in $ and $ $239 / £199 $239 / £189 (TBC)
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 M480-2000GB
Price in $ and $ $419 / £379 $399 / £369 (TBC)
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013 N/A
Price in $ and $ $949 / £769

Both brands have supplied the 500GB tier (i.e smaller scale gamers, caching, 2+ 4K projects for editing), 1TB (i.e professional gamers, rackmount caching/tiering, 4K/8K editing) and 2TB (i.e Pro Gamers and Streamers, Professional 4K/8K Post Production and enterprise) available in their ranges, but the Seagate Firecuda 530 is one of only around 2-3 brands that supply a 4TB PCIe Gen 4×4 m.2 4TB drive at 2280 length. This is particularly ambitious of the brand, especially when you look a the potential 4 figure price tag. However professional buyers who only want to make a purchase like this once every 5 years at least are going to be attracted to this option. Additionally, because the highest tiers of storage in NVMe are where you find the best performance (with the MASSIVE exception of when a brand uses QLC NAND of course), Seagate has clearly decided to put ALOT of backing on these drives in 2021/2022 to facilitate the biggest budget buyers. The MSI M480 is the winner here in terms of price per GB/TB, but Seagate win on Capacity and potentially on value – but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves yet.

 

MSI Spatium M480 vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Reported Read & Write Speed

The throughout that the MSI M480 and Firecuda 530 can provide in sequential read and write are close, but on paper, Seagate win. Obviously, these are slightly more idealised benchmarks from the brands themselves and are maximums reported by their tech teams respectively, but even then you can see that the FC 530 provides a heck of a lot! Even in the Seagate Firecuda 530’s weakest tier (the 500GB model) it still outpaces the M480 noticeably. Once again, though both drives feature similar memory/SD, it is that higher-quality NAND that the Seagate features that gives it that edge. Below is a breakdown of the performance of each capacity tier on each NVMe:

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

MSI SPATIUM M480

500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 M480-500GB
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7000MB 6500MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3000MB 2850MB
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 M480-1000GB
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6000MB 5500MB
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 M480-2000GB
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6900MB 6850MB
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013 N/A
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB  
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6900MB

Fair play to the MSI for still providing some genuinely impressive performance, eclipsing a number of other 96 layer 3D NAND drives previously compared here. Although neither brand is using an in-house built controller, choosing to use the Phison E18-PS5018 chip, so the fact that they can both hit 7,000MB/s is not too surprising, the fact the FC530 can hit higher in 3 of its 4 available capacities at 7,3000MB/s is the clincher here. Remember, the PCIe 4.0 x4 bandwidth that this drive utilises max’s out at 8,000MB/s, which is getting increasingly close to saturation here! The Seagate Firecuda 530 clearly wins here. Next, we can look at the reported IOPS of these two drives, as this is one of the Achilles heels of the MSI M480 sadly.

 

MSI Spatium M480 vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Reported IOPS

The IOPs ratings of each of these drives, despite their relatively similar architecture, is significantly different. IOPs, along with the endurance and durability which we will touch on later, is one of the key areas that Seagate say they focused on with the Firecuda 530 and compared with the MSI M480, it shows. Performing twice the random read IOPS at the 500GB and 1TB tiers, they soon break the 1,000,000 IOPS barrier in both random read and write in the higher tiers. Although IOPS are generally a much more business/enterprise metric, they still hold court with professional gamers and in data centre-class AI operations. The 170K random read IOPS on the Spatium M480 is especially low (given the rest of the hardware on that m.2 PCB!) and it eventually maxes out at 650/700K random read/write at the highest tiers. Here is a breakdown:

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

MSI SPATIUM M480

500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 M480-500GB
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 400,000 170,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 700,000 600,000
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 M480-1000GB
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 800000 350,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1000000 700,000
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 M480-2000GB
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 650,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 700,000
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013 N/A
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000  
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000

Overall, it is hard to claim this as anything else but a definitive win for the Seagate Firecuda 530 over the MSI M480 in terms of IOPS. Later in 2021, we will be running extended performance testing on these drives to see how well these stats hold up over extended periods, but in all likelihood, these stats will still be comparatively distance between each drive.

 

MSI Spatium M480 vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Endurance & Durability

Next up, we need to discuss how well these two drives can endure consistent write/rewrites in their predicted 5 year lifespan (i.e in their 5 year warranty period and based on the drives being in constant use). The Endurance and Durability of an SSD is an area that is overlooked often enough that I wanted to take a moment to focus a little more on this – you can thank you years from now! The importance of SSD durability and endurance in 2021/2022 is actually pretty massive. Now that the devices we use all feature incredibly powerful processors, often cloud/network hybrid AI processes and graphical handling that will be instantly bottlenecked by traditional hard drives, SSDs are no longer just the ‘boot’ drive for our OS and are now the day to day working drive. This combined with SSD being used as caching and larger SSD capacities allowing suitable substitution for HDDs entirely means that the CONSTANT concern about SSDs lifespan and the durability of those NAND cells is now quite paramount. SSDs wear out – it’s as simple as that. The more you write, the more wear those individual NAND cells suffer – degrading performance over the years and inevitably leading to drive failure. Likewise, the smaller the drive, the greater likelihood that you will be writing, then rewriting, then rewriting, time and time again. The Seagate Firecuda 530 and MSI Spatium M480 are no exception and alongside massive research and development in better controllers and interfaces to improve performance, the way NAND is improved has led to SSDs lasting lover than ever before. However, SSDs and NAND are not built equally and there is actually quite a large difference in durability between the MSI Spatium M480 and the Seagate Firecuda 530. The Storage industry typically measures the predicted durability and endurance of an SSD as TBW, DWPD and MTBF. They are:

TBW = Terabytes Written, rated as the total number of terabytes that this SSD can have written to it in its warranty covered lifespan. So if the TBW was 300TB and the warranty is 5 years of coverage, that would mean that the drive can receive on average (with deleting/overwriting data each repeatedly) 60 Terabytes per year (or 5TB a month). After this point, the manufacturer highlights that durability, endurance and performance will decline. Often highlighted as an alternative to warranty length when gauging the predicted lifespan of a SSD.

DWPD = Drive Writes Per Day / Data Writes Per Day, this is a decimalized figure that represents what proportion of the capacity of an SSD (where 1.0 = 100% capacity) can be filled, erased and/or rewritten on a daily basis. This is provided using the warranty period and TBW figure. So, for example, if a 500GB drive has a 0.3DWPD rating, that is approx 150GB of data per day

MTBF = Mean Time Between Failure, which is the interval between one failure of an SSD and the next. MTBF is expressed in hours and most industrial SSDs are rated in the Millions of Hours. MTBF and MTTF (Mean Time to Failure) have largely become overlooked in recent years in favour of TBW and DWPD in SSDs, but are still stated on most Data Sheets.

So, now you know what those large Terbyte stats, hours and decimal point details are on the average SSD datasheet. So where do the Seagate Firecuda 530 and MSI Spatium M480 stand on this:

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

MSI SPATIUM M480

500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 M480-500GB
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 640TB 350TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,800,000 1,600,000
DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.38DWPD
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 M480-1000GB
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 1275TB 700TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,800,000 1,600,000
DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.38DWPD
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 M480-2000GB
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 2550TB 1400TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,800,000 1,600,000
DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.38DWPD
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013 N/A
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 5100TB  
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,800,000  
DWPD 0.7DWPD

Although many users might well dismiss the TBW/DWPD of an SSD, as they do not feel they are going to refresh the data on the drive at that extreme frequency per day, it should be noted that this should also be used as a suitable benchmark for the lifespan of the NAND itself. In other words, jsut because a drive has a 5-year warranty, doesn’t mean you necessarily want to replace it in 5 years! More enduring NAND means both that the SSD will have a longer lifespan AND that it should be able to maintain it’s advertised performance for longer! High DPWD ratings are something that Seagate have been hugely supporting in their ranges for a number of years (they introduced several 1.0 and higher ratings into their Ironwolf and Nytro SSDs of late too). Again, another big win for the Seagate Firecuda 530 over the MSI Spatium M480 –  particularly when you factor in that the FC530 ALSO arrives with 3 years of data recovery services (forensic level) alongside the 5yr warranty too, in their Rescue Recovery services.

 

MSI Spatium M480 vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Conclusion

It will not come as a huge shock that in comparing the Firecuda 530 and Spatium M480, that the Seagate drive is still largely dominating this comparison and potentially the entire PCIe Gen 4 m.2 market so far. The M480 from MSI is a very good drive that has clearly been geared towards providing gamers and PC professionals some high tier throughput, and it is coming from a brand they already know and trust. However, it is impossible the ignore the comparatively mature decision by Seagate to focus a great deal on endurance and sustained performance and this plays out substantially throughout how these two drives compare and how they will support you later in their lifespan. Yes, the Firecuda 530 arrives at a higher price point, but you get more for your money and the money you save on day 1 with the M480 might end up costing you more in terms of an extra few minutes here or there, every day, week, month and year. If you are on a tighter budget and your NVMe SSD storage requirements are not considered Pro, Business or Enterprise, the M480 will serve you well – but for everyone else, the FC 530 has you covered in spades.

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

MSI SPATIUM M480

Best Performance  
Best Endurance/Durability  
Best Price for TB  
Best Extras  
Best Value  
Where To Buy

 

 


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Seagate Firecuda 530 vs Samsung 980 PRO SSD Comparison

16 août 2021 à 16:02

PCIe 4 NVMe SSD Comparison – Samsung 980 Pro vs Seagate Firecuda 530

One industry that continues to exceed all expectations is solid-state drives (SSD). The accepted norms of storage in terms of capacity, speed and durability have wildly eclipsed those early days of SATA and now the combined might of near-total bandwidth utilisation and sophisticated onboard controllers has resulted in an SSDs capable of 20 times the performance of the first generation flash drives (370MB/s x10) and close to 50 times the speed of regular hard drives (150MB/s x50). It sounds insane but now there are SSD that can provide well over 7000MB/s read that are not only well established and available to consumer buyers, but also surprisingly affordable. Into this slowly growing tier of NVMe M2 PCIe Gen 4 SSD storage, two of the biggest players are Samsung and Seagate with their 980 Pro and Firecuda 530 drives. Released almost an entire year apart, these two drives are still among the most often requested media right now in summer 2021 for gamers, video editors and high-performance storage uses. Although similar in preliminary architecture, as both utilise a significantly higher saturation of the PCIe gen4 potential 8,000MB/s bandwidth available, each brand has geared their drives respective development in a different direction and the result is two drives that may seem similar at first but wildly deviate in what they can do at even a cursory examination. So today I want to compare the Seagate Firecuda 530 against the Samsung 980 Pro to help you decide which one deserves your data. 

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

Samsung 980 Pro

PCIe Generation PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.3c
NAND 3D TLC

3D TLC Micron B47R 176L

3D TLC

1xx-layer layer V6 V-NAND 3-bit TLC

Max Capacity 4TB – Double Sided 2TB
Controller Phison E18-PS5018 Custom Elpis
Warranty 5 Years

5 Years

Samsung introduced the 980 Pro into the market in summer 2020, during the height of the global pandemic, the US trade war and the start of the semi-conductor shortage – so that was ALOT of early friction to overcome. Despite all of this, the drive has gone from strength to strength and is largely the drive of choice in the early client development of PCIe4 m.2 on motherboards thanks to being one of the first on the market and that custom controller allowing them to break the 7,000MB/s barrier in M.2 form factor before practically everyone else. The Seagate uses the late 2020 formally revealed Phison E18-PS5018 controller (also used by a few other SSD manufacturers), whereas Samsung has its own massive in-house R&D manufacture available and has ait’s own unique custom Elpis controller. We talk in a moment about how this impacts their respective performance, but fair play to Samsung for continuing to keep their SSD development 100% in house with this one. Both drives arrive with 5 years of warranty (though their DWPD/TBW do differ noticeably) which is quite standard, but it is worth highlighting that the Seagate Firecuda 530 also arrives with 3years of data recovery services included. Know as the Seagate Rescue Service, it allows you to access professional data recovery services in the event of accidental deletion, reversing corruption and recovery services at no additional cost (there are T& course). It’s a small extra on the face of it, but for anyone that has lost key data (in the case of this drive utility, I am talking 4K raw video, savegames, editing projects, etc), this is a very noticeable extra to have thrown in!

Samsung 980 Pro vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Price & Capacity

For most casual users, the price per GB/TB and the variety of available capacities are always going to form a decent chunk of the decision-making process! Both the Firecuda 530 and Samsung 980 Pro are available in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB versions, however, the Samsung also arrives in a modest 250GB model (which may well be useful to NAS users for caching or video editors looking for a smaller, faster drive for current projects (moving them to a slower archive as they go). The Seagate Firecuda has very much gone the other way on this and provides a hefty 4 terabyte (double-sided – cells on either side of the M.2 PCB) that, although rather expensive, is still going to be very attractive to buyers who only want to make this kind of purchase ONCE and want it to suitable for long term storage convenience (Professional Gamers/Pro Streamers with larger constant libraries they need to access relatively on the fly and PS5 console owners looking to take advantage of that storage expansion slot). When it comes to the price tag, Samsung 980 PRO has a tremendous advantage with being released almost a year ago (September 2020) and that has given them a great deal of time to saturate the market with their drive and introduce a greater degree of flexible pricing now in 2021. That said, the prices are not quite as far apart as I would have thought – with around $20-30/£10-20 at each storage capacity tier. See below:

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

Samsung 980 Pro

500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 MZ-V8P500BW
Price in $ and $ $139 / £119 $119 / £109
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 MZ-V8P1T0BW
Price in $ and $ $239 / £199 $209 / £179
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 MZ-V8P2T0BW
Price in $ and $ $419 / £379 $390 / £369
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013 N/A
Price in $ and $ $949 / £769 N/A

The Samsung 980 PRO is easily going to be the lower-priced of the two, even if you ignore the RRP of each brand, the 980 PRO will be on sale at one retailer or another just as the Seagate Firecuda 530 gets out of the gate! We will talk a little more about Value later on, but if the pricetag is paramount to you (perhaps you are on a tighter budget or are buying multiple NVMe SSD units) then Samsung win this one easily. However in capacity, these two PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSDs are harder to compare, given they differ ever so slightly. I do like that the Samsung 980 PRO arrives in the smaller 250GB capacity model, as some hybrid storage users or those looking for their OS/Steam Library for 1-2 AAA games, will like this smaller unit at around $89/£70 (though the performance is lesser – important). However, the Firecuda 530 arriving in 4TB is an unignorable power flex from Seagate, being only 1 of 2 PCIe 4.0m.2 NVMe 7,000MB/s+ available in the market (the other being the Sabrent Rocket Plus SB-RKT4P-4TB for $999). Yes, it is a hefty price tag at $949 at launch, but it still works out as $237 per TB, has by FAR the fastest performance of any of the other drives and means you only need to make this purchase ONCE. So, overall, I think the Seagate Firecuda 530 takes the win for its approach to capacity.

 

Samsung 980 Pro vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Reported Read & Write Speed

NOW we are talking! Moving away from price, let’s talk about what these two top tier NVMe PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSDs can give you in terms of traditional Read and Write performance. Ever since we first started seeing PCIe4 SSDs arrive, it has been a case of how much of the potential 8,000MB/s they could saturate with sophisticated controllers, SDRAM and NAND. The first-gen looked good at 5,000MB/s, but was soon eclipsed when Samsung 980 PRO entered the market last summer/autumn with their 7,000MB/s Read drive. Indeed, although the 250GB and 500GB drives dip slightly to 6,400/6,900MB/s respectively, the 1TB and 2TB models can reach that 7,000MB/s mark, which is great news for gamers that prioritize reading those core game files for streaming/casual gaming. However, their write speeds (a key concern for video editors and advanced content creators in general) largely cap at 5,000MB/s for the most part – still VERY impressive and Samsung have not been secretive about this, but it is still a noticeable difference. The Seagate Firecuda 530 series, thanks to a newer revision of NVMe (NVMe 1.4 over NVMe 1.3c) as well as the 176 layer 3D NAND (improving performance and relative durability, covering later). Samsung don’t disclose the layer count but claim it to be 40% more than their previous generation at 92 layers, so it is assumed to be 128L 3D NAND. The 500GB model from Seagate drops the ball a bit in terms of write speed, at a comparatively lowly 3,000MB/s (which does make the 500GB model much less appealing) but from there, the 1TB, 2TB and 4TB models all massively surpass the majority of other SSD in the market right now, reaching 6,000MB/s – 6,900MB/s in sequential Write and smashing an impressive 7,300MB/s in sequential Read – genuinely staggering and for manufactures to be getting so close to the theoretical 8,000MB/s max of PCie 4×4 M.2 so early cannot be ignored! See below:

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

Samsung 980 Pro

500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 MZ-V8P500BW
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7000MB 6900MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3000MB 5000MB
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 MZ-V8P1T0BW
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6000MB 5000MB
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 MZ-V8P2T0BW
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6900MB 5100MB
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013 N/A
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB N/A
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6900MB N/A

As the chart above indicates, Seagate Firecuda 530 almost completely wins the performance comparison for traditional Read/Write activity. Given its later release, slightly higher price tag and increase NAND quality/layers, this is what you would expect and unless Samsung release a new revision of the PRO SSD series in 2021/2022, the Firecuda 530 wins this round in spades.

 

Samsung 980 Pro vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Reported IOPS

The performance of the Samsung 980 Pro and Seagate Friecuda 530 in terms of IOPS are actually surprisingly similar. Indeed, only the 500GB model ZP500GM3A013 and MZ-V8P500BW give us much difference of note. Both drive manufacturers report that they hit the 1,000,000 input/output operations per second threshold. So that means that these drives pass through data incredibly well. I mention the 500GB model, as the Samsung 980 Pro largely dwarfs the Firecuda 530 at this tier, with twice the random read IOPS and 40% or so more on random write IOPS. I would be interested to see if this is because of NAND placement (as the larger 2TB Firecuda 530 matches the Samsung 980 PRO, but is double-sided)  or total GB per physical cell and more/less over-provisioning in place – but for now we can definitely see that buyers looking for premium IOPS on a 500GB scratch/current-projects drive will see better results on the Samsung 980 PRO (also remember that the 500GB 980 Pro also had superior traditional Write too).  Below is breakdown on the reported IOPS on each drive:

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

Samsung 980 Pro

500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 MZ-V8P500BW
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 400,000 800,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 700,000 1,000,000
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 MZ-V8P1T0BW
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 800000 1000000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1000000 1000000
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 MZ-V8P2T0BW
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 1,000,000
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013 N/A
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 N/A
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 N/A

IOPS are always going to be a tricky measurement of an SSD. Individually (i.e the M.2 NVMe in a single drive-use environment like a console or OS), the IOPS will translate to a much more responsive system. However this is still a question of near-milliseconds and the minute you introduce multiple PCIE4 M.2 SSDs RAID’d into a single system, then the multiplication of these IOPS and bottleneck of the rest of the system will level the playing field massively. The Samsung 980 Pro easily provides the best IOPS and excellent price-vs-R/W throughput on the 500GB level and makes it the clear choice at that capacity. However, in practically all over tiers they are level for the most part and unless you are running these drives in massive sessions individually (ie a streamer or eSport professional running daily 4-6hr sessions), then either of the Samsung 980 Pro or Seagate Firecuda 530 will be a suitable choice at 1TB and higher in terms of responsiveness.

 

Samsung 980 Pro vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Endurance & Durability

The importance of IOPS and Throughput are all well and good, but how long the SSD can maintain those speeds and operation in general as the years go by is an increasing concern in 2021/2022. The Firecuda 530 and 980 PRO are rated quite differently in terms of Endurance and Durability, so I wanted to take a moment to focus a little more on this – you can thank you years from now! The importance of SSD durability is actually pretty massive. Now that the devices we use all feature incredibly powerful processors, often cloud/network hybrid AI processes and graphical handling that will be instantly bottlenecked by traditional hard drives, SSDs are no longer just the ‘boot’ drive for our OS and are now the day to day working drive. This combined with SSD being used as caching and larger SSD capacities allowing suitable substitution for HDDs entirely means that the CONSTANT concern about SSDs lifespan and the durability of those NAND cells is now quite paramount. SSDs wear out – it’s as simple as that. The more you write, the more wear those individual NAND cells suffer – degrading performance over the years and inevitably leading to drive failure. Likewise, the smaller the drive, the greater likelihood that you will be writing, then rewriting, then rewriting, time and time again. The Seagate Firecuda 530 and Samsung 980 PRO are no exception and alongside massive research and development in better controllers and interfaces to improve performance, the way NAND is improved has led to SSDs lasting lover than ever before. However, SSDs and NAND are not built equally and there is actually quite a large difference in durability between the Samsung 980 PRO and the Seagate Firecuda 530. The Storage industry typically measures the predicted durability and endurance of an SSD as TBW, DWPD and MTBF. They are:

TBW = Terabytes Written, rated as the total number of terabytes that this SSD can have written to it in its warranty covered lifespan. So if the TBW was 300TB and the warranty is 5 years of coverage, that would mean that the drive can receive on average (with deleting/overwriting data each repeatedly) 60 Terabytes per year (or 5TB a month). After this point, the manufacturer highlights that durability, endurance and performance will decline. Often highlighted as an alternative to warranty length when gauging the predicted lifespan of a SSD.

DWPD = Drive Writes Per Day / Data Writes Per Day, this is a decimalized figure that represents what proportion of the capacity of an SSD (where 1.0 = 100% capacity) can be filled, erased and/or rewritten on a daily basis. This is provided using the warranty period and TBW figure. So, for example, if a 500GB drive has a 0.3DWPD rating, that is approx 150GB of data per day

MTBF = Mean Time Between Failure, which is the interval between one failure of an SSD and the next. MTBF is expressed in hours and most industrial SSDs are rated in the Millions of Hours. MTBF and MTTF (Mean Time to Failure) have largely become overlooked in recent years in favour of TBW and DWPD in SSDs, but are still stated on most Data Sheets.

So, now you know what those large Terbyte stats, hours and decimal point details are on the average SSD datasheet. So where do the Seagate Firecuda 530 and Samsung 980 PRO stand on this, as the extra 10-12 months that the Firecuda spent ‘in the oven’ has seemingly produced rather large improvements in it’s predicted lifespan:

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

Samsung 980 Pro

500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 MZ-V8P500BW
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 640TB 300TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,800,000 1,500,000
DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 MZ-V8P1T0BW
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 1275TB 600TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,800,000 1,500,000
DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 MZ-V8P2T0BW
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 2550TB 1200TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,800,000 1,500,000
DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013 N/A
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 5100TB N/A
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,800,000 N/A
DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD

Whether it is that Phison E18 controller having better-balanced wear management, the  176 layer 3D NAND or just generally more refinement of the handling as PCIe4 m.2 is explored, there is no ignoring that 0.7 drive writes per day of the Firecuda 530 being more than double that of the Samsung 980 Pro. This is not the first time Seagate have prioritized DWPD and TBW in their SSD media (their first entries into 24×7 NAS SSD featuring 1.0DWPD, practically unheard of at that tier) and given that Samsung have some of the most sophisticated and well-engineered in-house R&D operations in the world (only really challenged by WD), it is very surprising this is drive only has a 30% drive fill per day rating. I won’t focus too much on the MTBF (although clearly there are differences) as it is far less relevant as a spec these days, but in summary and in terms of durability, endurance and predicted lifespan – the Seagate Firecuda 530 wins by a country mile here.

 

Samsung 980 Pro vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Conclusion

The Seagate Firecuda 530 is the more recently released drive of the two and it shows. Samsung heavily occupied the PCIe4 M.2 SSD market when this tier of Prosumer media (at the client-manufacturer level) arrived last year. But, as incredible as it sounds, the Samsung 980 Pro is in danger of looking a little slow as the rest of the market produces their own faster and more enduring alternatives in the Firecuda 530, the MSI SPATIUM M480 and Sabrent Rocket Plus. The Samsung 980 Pro still an incredible feat of development and construction, but much like my comparison of the Firecuda 530 and WD Black SN850, entering the market before full widespread adoption of your kind of product is better established can sometimes lead to competitors being given more time to overtake. Adoption of PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD is still by no means ‘standardised’ and even now, numerous mobo manufacturers taht support the technology either do so using bandwidth sharing on the board OR choose to dedicate those potential PCIe 4.0 lanes to a traditional PCIe upgrade slot over M.2.The Samsung 980 Pro is an EXCELLENT SSD and provides the best price for this kind of performance at every capacity tier (not just compared with the Firecuda 530, but against pretty much ALL of the other PCIe4 M.2s on the market right now) which is thanks in a big way to it’s earlier release than most. However, it is impossible to ignore that the Seagate Firecuda 530 has used that extra time in development very wisely and has produced a higher-performing drive for the most part, with a much more enduring lifespan and ultimately better VALUE overall. I recommend buying the Firecuda 530 right now or wait until Samsung revisit their PRO series to see how where they can push things even further!

 

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

Samsung 980 Pro

Best Performance
Best Endurance/Durability
Best Price for TB
Best Extras
Best Value
Where To Buy

 

 


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Seagate Firecuda 530 vs WD Black SN850 SSD Comparison

11 août 2021 à 16:25

PCIe 4 NVMe SSD Comparison – WD Black SN850 vs Seagate Firecuda 530

If you have recently purchased a modern generation gaming PC, Video setup or new generation console, then chances are that when looking at optimal storage media for your system, you likely narrowed your choices down to the Seagate Firecuda 530 (released in summer 2021) or the WD Black SN850 (released in Winter 2020) SSD. Although these two drives look incredibly similar to numerous M.2 media that came before, these solid-state NVMe drives represent the highest-performing PCIe 4.0 that either brand’s respective gamer/prosumer series have to offer, each hitting (and in some cases exceeding) 7,000MB/s performance. Both of these drives are able to exceed pretty much all of the understood maximums thanks to several key factors in their architecture. That said, that very modern architecture varies quite wildly as soon as you take even a casual glance at the specifications and its impacts on performance, durability and capacity is actually quite significant. So, today I want to take a good look at the Firecuda 530 and WD Black SN850 SSD to see whether they excel, where they fall short of their competitor and, ultimately, which one deserves your data! First up, let’s take a look at the early architecture here:

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

WD Black SN850

PCIe Generation PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4
NAND 3D TLC Micron B47R 176L BiCS4 96L TLC
Max Capacity 4TB – Double Sided 2TB
Controller Phison E18-PS5018 WD_BLACK G2
Warranty 5yr 5yr
 

So, one of the earliest differences between each drive as we can see is the NAND being utilized and laters. Both use TLC 3D Memory (par of the course for 2021 – finding a good line between capacity, performance and durability over MLC/QLC on either side of the scale) but there Seagate Firecuda 530 uses the higher-performing 176L vertically stacked layers, allowing greater performance and greater capacity per physical cell (with the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD having a current capacity cap of 4 Terabytes and the WD Black at 50% less on 2TB). For those confirmed with endurance (which we will touch on later on) the 176L over the 96L does not result in negatives on durability (quite the opposite in fact) and both of these SSDs are managed by impressive top tier controllers. The Seagate uses the late 2020 formally revealed Phison E18-PS5018 controller (also used by a few other SSD manufacturers), whereas WD has its own massive in-house R&D manufacture available and has ait’s own unique WD Black G2 controller. We talk in a moment about how this impacts their respective performance, but fair play to WD for continuing to keep their SSD development 100% in house with this one. Both drives arrive with 5 years of warranty (though their DWPD/TBW do differ noticeably) which is quite standard, but it is worth highlighting that the Seagate Firecuda 530 also arrives with 3years of data recovery services included. Know as the Seagate Rescue Service, it allows you to access professional data recovery services in the event of accidental deletion, reversing corruption and recovery services at no additional cost (there are T& course). It’s a small extra on the face of it, but for anyone that has lost key data (in the case of this drive utility, I am talking 4K raw video, savegames, editing projects, etc), this is a very noticeable extra to have thrown in!

WD Black SN850 vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Price & Capacity

For many users, the size of an SSD and the price tag is going to be the most compelling argument one way to another on the best drive for their needs. Though the price you pay and the total storage ARE important, SSD like the WD Black SN850 and Seagate Firecuda 530 are much more than that. That said, it is fair to say that the WD Black SN850 provides the best price per GB/TB on every tier (500GB, 1TB and 2TB). Although there are regional differences that go beyond currency conversion (see the 2TB in £ vs $) and recent hardware shortages because of semiconductor shortages and Chia also played their part, the fact the WD Black arrived on the market 6+ months early has resulted in the price being a little more flexible right now – leading to it being at the lower price.

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

WD Black SN850

500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Price in $ and $ $139 / £119 $119 / £99
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0
Price in $ and $ $239 / £199 $249 / £169
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Price in $ and $ $419 / £379 $399 / £339
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013  
Price in $ and $ $949 / £769 N/A

However, there capacity differs slightly, with the Seagate Firecuda 530 NVMe SSD arriving at the larger 4TB – though at an eye-watering price point! If the cost of the SSD is an absolutely huge factor in your decision, the WD BLACK SN850 SSD clearly wins here, however it is worth taking a moment to read further to see what you get for your money – as, in some of the higher tiers, the difference between Price and Value is a great deal clearer.

 

WD Black SN850 vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Reported Read & Write Speed

Whereas the WD Black SN850 took a remarkably strong and clear early lead over the Seagate Firecuda 530 in terms of price, things take an immediate reverse in terms of performance between them. The reported maximum sequential Read and Write throughput on these drives from either brand is almost completely a win for Seagate and the Firecuda 530 in all but the 500GB. Now some of this credit can clearly be dedicated to that Phison E18 controller and 176 layer 3D NAND, but also the 2TB and 4TB SSDs feature double-sided cells (ie the chips are on either side) disturbing the read/write activity a bit. That NAND also provides some great durability (will touch on later) but the clear increase on the Firecuda 530 over the WD Black SN850, especially in the write activity as you rise through each capacity tier is remarkably impressive and only really rivalled by similar SSDs like the MSI Spatium, Sabrent Rocket Plus and Gigabyte Aorus Gen4 7000s.

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

WD Black SN850

500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7000MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3000MB 4100MB
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6000MB 5300MB
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6900MB 5100MB
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013  
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB N/A
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6900MB N/A

The WD Black NVMe PCIe 4×4 SSD certainly holds its own, maintaining that solid 7000MB/s write, but reported write speeds to seem a tad inconsistent at each GB/TB tier and fall behind significantly at each comparable Firecuda 530 drive (with the exception of the 500GB WDS500G1X0E model).

 

WD Black SN850 vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Reported IOPS

A much more SSD specific measurement, IOPS, shows us a much more even playing field on the reported performance, with advantages and disadvantages on both sides. One immediate plus for both the WD Black SN850 and Seagate Firecuda 530 is that they both break the 1 Million IOPS threshold respectively at the 1 Terabyte tier, with even the lowly 500GB WD Black SN850 managing to hit the 1M Random Read IOPS, more than double the reported Random Read IOPS of the Firecuda SN850. However the Seagate Firecuda 530 then maintains the 1M IOPS breakpoint, first in Write at the 1TB level and then continues to provide 1,000,000 Read and Write on the Terabyte tiers – with the WD Black capping at 1M/700K on those same tiers.

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

WD Black SN850

500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 400,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 700,000 680,000
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 800000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1000000 720,000
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 710,000
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013  
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 N/A
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 N/A

Although IOPS are a tough and extremely relative-to-file’ method of measurement in real-world practice, the benefits of that E18 controller and NAND choice by Seagate here on the 530 are another win – though only JUST!

 

WD Black SN850 vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Endurance & Durability

Unlike the other points in this comparison of the Firecuda 530 and SN850, the Endurance and Durability of an SSD is an area that is overlooked often enough that I wanted to take a moment to focus a little more on this – you can thank you years from now! The importance of SSD durability and endurance in 2021/2022 is actually pretty massive. Now that the devices we use all feature incredibly powerful processors, often cloud/network hybrid AI processes and graphical handling that will be instantly bottlenecked by traditional hard drives, SSDs are no longer just the ‘boot’ drive for our OS and are now the day to day working drive. This combined with SSD being used as caching and larger SSD capacities allowing suitable substitution for HDDs entirely means that the CONSTANT concern about SSDs lifespan and the durability of those NAND cells is now quite paramount. SSDs wear out – it’s as simple as that. The more you write, the more wear those individual NAND cells suffer – degrading performance over the years and inevitably leading to drive failure. Likewise, the smaller the drive, the greater likelihood that you will be writing, then rewriting, then rewriting, time and time again. The Seagate Firecuda 530 and WD Black SN850 are no exception and alongside massive research and development in better controllers and interfaces to improve performance, the way NAND is improved has led to SSDs lasting lover than ever before. However, SSDs and NAND are not built equally and there is actually quite a large difference in durability between the WD Black SN850 and the Seagate Firecuda 530. The Storage industry typically measures the predicted durability and endurance of an SSD as TBW, DWPD and MTBF. They are:

TBW = Terabytes Written, rated as the total number of terabytes that this SSD can have written to it in its warranty covered lifespan. So if the TBW was 300TB and the warranty is 5 years of coverage, that would mean that the drive can receive on average (with deleting/overwriting data each repeatedly) 60 Terabytes per year (or 5TB a month). After this point, the manufacturer highlights that durability, endurance and performance will decline. Often highlighted as an alternative to warranty length when gauging the predicted lifespan of a SSD.

DWPD = Drive Writes Per Day / Data Writes Per Day, this is a decimalized figure that represents what proportion of the capacity of an SSD (where 1.0 = 100% capacity) can be filled, erased and/or rewritten on a daily basis. This is provided using the warranty period and TBW figure. So, for example, if a 500GB drive has a 0.3DWPD rating, that is approx 150GB of data per day

MTBF = Mean Time Between Failure, which is the interval between one failure of an SSD and the next. MTBF is expressed in hours and most industrial SSDs are rated in the Millions of Hours. MTBF and MTTF (Mean Time to Failure) have largely become overlooked in recent years in favour of TBW and DWPD in SSDs, but are still stated on most Data Sheets.

So, now you know what those large Terbyte stats, hours and decimal point details are on the average SSD datasheet. So where do the Seagate Firecuda 530 and WD Black SN850 stand on this:

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

WD Black SN850

500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 640TB 300TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,800,000 1,750,000
DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 1275TB 600TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,800,000 1,750,000
DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 2550TB 1200TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,800,000 1,750,000
DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013  
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 5100TB N/A
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,800,000 N/A
DWPD 0.7DWPD N/A

And that is a very clear win for the Seagate Firecuda 530, with its significantly longer predicted lifespan for writing in its 5-year reported warranty period. Of course, if you are not going to be fully replacing the data on your drive on a regular basis, then you may not be concerned about the 0.7DWPD on the Firecuda 530 over the 0.3DWPD on the SN850, which is understandable. However, I would highlight that for Seagate to state that this SSD will maintain the reported performance benchmarks, as well as that durability is no small thing and although they cost more per GB/TB, you can see that this is where that extra money is seemingly going.

 

WD Black SN850 vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Conclusion

Comparing two SSDs like the Seagate Firecuda 530 and the WD Black SN850, although very similar in base architecture, may seem a little mean-spirited. There is clearly more than half a year of difference in when these two SSD were introduced to the market and in terms of technology, that is pretty huge. However, now that more and more affordable motherboards are integrating PCIe Gen 4 in their systems, modern home gaming consoles like PS5 are featuring storage expansions for PCIe 4×4 m.2 and even NAS brands are slowly approaching PCIe 4 in their servers, I think more people are going to compare these two high-end drives. the WD Black SN850 is very well priced right now, providing PCIe 4.0 Speeds at the same price as many PCIe 3.0 drives, with blanket 7,000MB/s Read performance on all models, cracking the 1Million IOPS threshold even on smaller capacities and getting head start on the PCIe4x4 M.2 NVMe market. However, given the large number of 7,000MB/s Read and 6,500-6,800MB/s Write drives that have been unveiled in the last 3 months, the WD Black may have arrived the tiniest bit TOO early to the party, before manufacturers could properly catch up (blame Covid, blame shortages, blame trade wars, blame Chia, you name it, it happened!). the Seagate Firecuda 530 on the other hand has arrived at the time when the latest generation on the kit that desires this kind of storage has been re-tooled and means it is very well placed. That isn’t to say that the Firecuda 530 gets by on luck, no, the incredible durability increase, consistent high performance on R/W and even arriving with a 4TB model off the bat make it a very convincing choice to ultimately win in this comparison. The data recovery stuff (for the few people that may actually use it) is a cherry on the cake too.

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

WD Black SN850

Best Performance  
Best Endurance/Durability  
Best Price for TB  
Best Extras  
Best Value DRAW DRAW
Where To Buy

 

 


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This description contains links to Amazon. These links will take you to some of the products mentioned in today's content. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Visit the NASCompares Deal Finder to find the best place to buy this device in your region, based on Service, Support and Reputation - Just Search for your NAS Drive in the Box Below

 

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Need Advice on Data Storage from an Expert?

We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7] Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.  

Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD Review – The Score To Beat?

9 août 2021 à 17:40

Review of the Seagate Firecuda 530 PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD

Few brands in the world of storage media have been smashing the first’ milestones as much as Seagate has in the last few years. Off the back of a hot run of hard drive news promising 20TB drives shortly and 50TB drives inside 4 years, we now have their new PCIe 4 M.2 NVMe SSD to look at. Now, the Firecuda 530 is NOT the first PCIe4 NVMe SSD to arrive on the market, not even close. Seagate has brought their 7,000MB/s contender out 2/3 of a year after rivals at WD and Samsung brought their respective SN850 and 980 Pro AND at a higher price point. At this point, is their new drive a little late to the party or were they just having a good long run-up? Well, the specifications do set it apart from the majority of other drives in a number of very distinct areas and with Seagate placing a heavy focus on sustained write, durability and longevity of their media, this a definitely much more considered approach from the brand and a far leap from the brand that only a few years ago was learning more into competitive pricing and getting there ‘first’. So, let’s take a close look at the Seagate Firecuda 530 in today’s review, see if it’s advantages are clear from day one or are you paying more for eventual gains? Let’s find out.

Note – This review features the 500GB Firecuda 530 ZP500GM30013. This should be taken into consideration during the drive testing portion of the review, as the performance of this series scales in line with the available capacities

Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD Review – Quick Conclusion

For the most part, I DO think Seagate has succeeded in fulfilling the promises they have made on the Firecuda 530 and have arguably released the best example of m.2 PCIe4 NVMe SSD architecture you can buy in 2021. There is no avoiding the fact that the Seagate Firecuda 530 series of SSDs have arrived on the market noticeably later than their biggest rivals AND with a higher price tag, so they were going to need to make a pretty good early impression to make up the ground amply covered by their competitors. The decision to focus heavily on endurance and durability is a remarkably mature one (and potentially controversial one against their competitors) in an age when consumers are demanding prices come down, forcing brands to either cut covers where they think they will be felt the least or going the budget router of QC NAND. Therefore you have to respect Seagate’s decision to draw a line in the sand here about what they consider a high-end SSD.

PROs of the Seagate Firecuda 530 CONs of the Seagate Firecuda 530
Highest PCIe 4×4 M.2 Performance Right Now

176 Layer 3D TLC NAND is Unparalleled right now

Best Example of Phison E18 Performance

Highest Endurance PCIe Gen 4×4 M.2 SSD Right Now

Inclusive Data Recovery Services

PS5 Compatibility Fully Confirmed

Available in up to 4TB

Costs more than most

Heatsink is an Additional Purchase

Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD Review – Packaging

The Firecuda 530 arrives in a remarkably similar box to the Firecuda 520 and despite the obvious change in animal logo, it’s still going to be pretty easy to overlook what massively different drives these are in their architecture if seen on a shelf! 

Though clearly, this new drive commands a higher price tag and even a quick scan of the promised performance mentioned on the retail box is sets it up to have to live up to a high standard later in testing

Inside we find the Firecuda 530 SSD in a two-piece plastic shell, thermal pad, warranty information (5 Years + 3yrs Rescue Data Recovery Services) and the Firecuda 530 M.2 NVMe SSD itself in antistatic packaging. All fairly standard stuff and although there is a first party Firecuda heatsink available, this is an optional extra.

Much like previous generations, the Firecuda arrives with a paper label either side of the PCB (so not the metal plate featured on more affordable SSDs like the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus), but if Seagate’s defence, this drive will be working noticeably hot regardless (due to the significantly higher performance maximum over other drives) and it is highly recommended for use with a proper heatsink regardless – so a metal label would be like putting a plaster on a shotgun wound!

The drive is fairly standard in height to other m.2 NVMes, however, it is easy to forget that the micron NAND featured in the Firecuda 530 is significantly higher quality than many at 176L (something we will touch on later).

The larger capacity Firecuda 530s drives at 2TB and 4TB feature double-sided NAND placement, resulting in both better capacity handling, performance and durability. However, this needs to be balanced against a larger heatsink/thermal pad application. In PC use, this is of little-to-no concern, but now the Firecuda 530 NVMe SSD is pretty much the ‘score-to-beat’ on PS5 SSD upgrades, this is an important consideration.

In terms of physical design, you cannot really fault this drive and it is not really going to be apparent until we properly dig deep into the specifications and their stand out qualities where we will see where the extra $ on this drive’s price tag are going.

Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD Review – Hardware Specifications

Below is a breakdown of the hardware specifications of the Firecuda 530. There are a number of key factors here that really need your attention!

Drive Firecuda 530 500GB

Firecuda 530 1000GB

Firecuda 530 2000GB

Firecuda 530 4000GB

Price 500GB – $149.99 1TB – $239.99 2TB – $489.99 4TB – $949.99
Warranty, Limited (years) 5+3yr Rescue 5+3yr Rescue 5+3yr Rescue 5+3yr Rescue
PCIe Gen M.2 PCIe Gen 4×4 PCIe Gen 4×4 PCIe Gen 4×4 PCIe Gen 4×4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4
NAND Type 176L 3D NAND 176L 3D NAND 176L 3D NAND 176L 3D NAND
Controller E18-PS018 E18-PS018 E18-PS018 E18-PS018
Performance ZP500GM3A013 ZP1000GM3A013 ZP2000GM3A013 ZP4000GM3A013
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7000MB 7300MB 7300MB 7300MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3000MB 6000MB 6900MB 6900MB
IOPS ZP500GM3A013 ZP1000GM3A013 ZP2000GM3A013 ZP4000GM3A013
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 400,000 800,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 700,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
DWPD 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7
MTBF, hours 1,800,000 1,800,000 1,800,000 1,800,000

Now, the above is clearly a little more technical than many gamers would like. Obviously, the general performance of the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD is going to be high (as detailed in the performance tests later in the review), however, its sequential Read performance is actually not too far ahead of the likes of the Samsung 980 Pro and WD Black SN850 released some 5-6 months ago, so why should gamers spend more on this drive? Well, a lot of the more technical aspects that focus on SUSTAINED performance and DURABILITY make up a lot of this. Likewise, this architecture and its impact on Sequential WRITE is also something to consider. Write activity in console/pc gaming of a noticeably smaller fraction of activity over Read, approx 85% Read and 15% Write over time. However this is changing all the time, as games are being regularly streamed or shared, as well as world creation games and create-your-own-adventure sandbox titles growing quite significantly, smaller but sustained write activity running parallel with read is an important consideration. Let’s take a closer look at those key specifications and translate them into normal speak!

Hardware Focus of the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD Series

The first big thing to focus on with the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD is the controller. This is the brains of the SSD and in the case of this SSD, it’s a good one! The Phison E18 has already featured on a few other SSD releases in early 2021 to wide praise and given Seagate’s history of using their controllers right up to the E16 in the previous drive in this series, it was always going to be their SSD controller of choice here. This controller has some remarkably high bandwidth capabilities that the rest of the SSD can stretch it’s muscles a bit in order to try and saturate! Supporting up to a maximum 7,400MB/s and 7,100MB/s sequential Read/Write and up to 1Million 4K Read/Write IOPS, the Phison Controller is pushed quite far to it’s limits at the 4TB Firecuda 530 model. It’s a shame that Seagate does not have it’s own in house teams as WD/Samsung do, but the Phison E18 is still an industry leader right now and an inevitable choice by the brand.

Alongside this controller, the NAND featured on the Seagate Firecuda 530 is quite a top-end choice too. As mentioned, the Phison E18 controller has been featured on a number of other solutions in the last 6+ months, however, the Firecuda 530 arrives with an extra advantage with Micron 176 layered 3D TLC NAND. This is very important, as this massive jump over the bulk of other SSDs that arrive with 96L NAND allows better-sustained performance through the drives lifetime and (more importantly) a MUCH higher endurance rating. With most other M.2 PCIe4 NVMe SSDs arriving with 0.3 or 0.38 drive writes per day, this one is rated at 0.7 DWPD. Even if you are not planning on hammered this drive daily, that only means this SSD NAND will last even longer and will in all likelihood massively outline whatever system it is installed within.

Alongside the controller and NAND, the Firecuda 530 features DD4 DRAM/memory. This scales in capacity alongside each storage tier of the series. Another interesting thing of note on the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD drive physically is that regardless of whether you chooses the 500GB, 1TB, 2TB or 4TB, they ALL arrive at 2280 length. This is to be expected on the smaller capacities, but the 4TB in particular managing to hit that cap without resorting to a 22110 (without compromising the NAND storage to QLC etc) is impressive indeed. This does mean that the 2TB and 4TB model then need to be double-sided drives (something to factor in at the heatsink level on more compact PC and console systems like PS5) but never the less, only 2-3 brands including Seagate include a 4TB drive at this architecture and performance threshold.

As mentioned (about a million times, I know) the Firecuda 530 features M.2 PCIe4 architecture, arriving in NVMe 1.4 revision. This is an important detail as, although there are currently a large number of PCIe4 M.2 SSDs on the market, some are using older revisions. This can be updated in some cases, but it is by no means consumer-friendly/universal.

Overall, you really cannot fault the hardware inside/onboard the Seagate Firecuda 530, as it is still by far one of the highest performing sequential Read and Write drives in the market over many other M.2 NVMe PCIe 4 SSDs released in the last 6-8 months. Before we go into the full testing, however, it is worth taking a moment to look closely at the reported performance benchmarks of the Seagate Firecuda 530, as although the performance is good, there are areas such as IOPS and endurance when compared with its main rivals that make quite a stark contrast.

Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD Review – Official Stats First

Before we conduct our own testing on this SSD, Let’s take a closer look at the reported specifications and benchmarks first. The Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD arrives in four capacities at 500GB,1TB, 2TB and 4TB. The Prices currently are a little inconsistent (with each higher capacity tier actually having a higher price per GB – quite unusual) likely due to the hardware shortages, the Pandemic, Chia has affected SSD availability in the last 12 months and most recently the announcement that PS5 supports this SSD and it has increased the current price of most models around 20%! Below is a breakdown of how each Firecuda 530 SSD compares:

Drive Firecuda 530 500GB

Firecuda 530 1000GB

Firecuda 530 2000GB

Firecuda 530 4000GB

Price 500GB – $149.99 1TB – $239.99 2TB – $489.99 4TB – $949.99
Warranty, Limited (years) 5+3yr Rescue 5+3yr Rescue 5+3yr Rescue 5+3yr Rescue
PCIe Gen M.2 PCIe Gen 4×4 PCIe Gen 4×4 PCIe Gen 4×4 PCIe Gen 4×4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4
NAND Type 176L 3D NAND 176L 3D NAND 176L 3D NAND 176L 3D NAND
Controller E18-PS018 E18-PS018 E18-PS018 E18-PS018
Performance ZP500GM3A013 ZP1000GM3A013 ZP2000GM3A013 ZP4000GM3A013
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7000MB 7300MB 7300MB 7300MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3000MB 6000MB 6900MB 6900MB
IOPS ZP500GM3A013 ZP1000GM3A013 ZP2000GM3A013 ZP4000GM3A013
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 400,000 800,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 700,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
DWPD 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7
MTBF, hours 1,800,000 1,800,000 1,800,000 1,800,000

The first very clear thing is that the performance clearly scales quite hugely as you go through each capacity tier. The 500GB model features a rather underwhelming 3000GB sequential write compared with the more than double 6,000MB/s and 6,900MB/s reported on the rest of the series, but the sequential read performance of all capacities is still reported at 7,000MB/s (with a peak of 7,300MB/s at the highest end). Likewise, the 4K IOPS scales noticeably through the tiers, with the 500GB being the only version that does not break the 1,000,000 IOPS rating. Understandably this is an architecture/physical NAND scale limitation, but it definitely worth highlighting, as many buyers who are looking at the Seagate Firecuda 530 series and are somewhat intimidated by the higher price tag over other M.2 PCIe4 NVMe SSDs (but still want the endurance and durability of use) might scale to the 500GB model and then be unaware they are getting a very different ‘write’ experience. That said, modern PC and console gamers who are going to use the Seagate Firecuda 530 are going to largely need to focus on Read activity. For a better understanding of the most commonly used terms in the word of SSDs, take a moment to watch my video below that breaks down all of the most complex and repeated terms and anacronyms into plain, chewable English!

So, now you know the hardware specifications, the performance benchmarks and exactly what makes the Seagate Firecuda 530 a particularly advantageous drive. However, there are quite a few drives n the shelves right now that are shoving for gamer’s attention and for both PS5 and PC Gamers alike, there are 2 main alternative drives, the WD Black SN850 and Samsung 980 Pro. These two alternative drives have been available to consumers for well over 8 months and in that time have dominated this tier of the storage market significantly. The WD and Samsung gamer SSD arrived on the market last year at a lower price point than the Seagate Firecuda 530, as well as had plenty of time to get more flexible with that price in the meantime. So, with the Seagate SSD arriving at a higher price point, they can only really win on the subject of VALUE, not the price tag. Ultimately, what you GET for your money in terms of performance, responsiveness, service and (Seagate hope) durability. Below is how these three SSDs compare at each available capacity tier:

Brand/Series

 

Seagate Firecuda 530

WD Black SN850

Samsung 980 Pro

500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0 MZ-V8P500BW
Price in $ and $ $139 / £119 $119 / £99 $119 / £109
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0 MZ-V8P1T0BW
Price in $ and $ $239 / £199 $249 / £169 $209 / £179
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0 MZ-V8P2T0BW
Price in $ and $ $419 / £379 $399 / £339 $390 / £369
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013   N/A
Price in $ and $ $949 / £769 N/A N/A
Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530 WD Black SN850 Samsung 980 Pro
PCIe Generation PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.3c
NAND 3D TLC Micron B47R 176L BiCS4 96L TLC 3D TLC
Max Capacity 4TB – Double Sided 2TB 2TB
Controller Phison E18-PS5018 WD_BLACK G2 Custom Elpis
Warranty 5yr + Data Recovery 3yrs 5yr 5yr
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,800,000 1,750,000 1,500,000
DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD 0.3DWPD
500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0 MZ-V8P500BW
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7000MB 7000MB 6900MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3000MB 4100MB 5000MB
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0 MZ-V8P1T0BW
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB 7000MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6000MB 5300MB 5000MB
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0 MZ-V8P2T0BW
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB 7000MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6900MB 5100MB 5100MB
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013   N/A
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB N/A N/A
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6900MB N/A N/A
Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530 WD Black SN850 Samsung 980 Pro
500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0 MZ-V8P500BW
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 400,000 1,000,000 800,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 700,000 680,000 1,000,000
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0 MZ-V8P1T0BW
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 800000 1,000,000 1000000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1000000 720,000 1000000
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0 MZ-V8P2T0BW
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 710,000 1,000,000
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013   N/A
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 N/A N/A
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 N/A N/A

So, when looking at these drives, we have to look at the advantages and disadvantages of the Seagate Firecuda 530 vs the WD Black SN850 and Samsung 980 Pro. They break down as follows:

+ Highest Peak Performance at 1TB and 2TB

+ 4 Terabyte Option

+ More Than Double The Reported Endurance & Durability than WD/Samsung

+ Inclusive Rescue Data Recovery Service

– More Expensive at ALL Capacities

– 500GB Model Has Noticeably Lower Seq Write than 500GB WD/Samsung

– Not 100% Developed In-house

Overall, I do genuinely think that Seagate and the Firecuda 530 win overall on points versus the Samsung 980 Pro and WD Black SN850. It definitely costs more, but you seemingly get quite a lot for your money. That does mean that you need to price these SSDs in terms of their lifetime utility and value (which many might not want or need to), but Seagate does make a compelling argument here. Additionally, the available 4TB drive will please a lot of professional gamers, as that is quite a lot of space to play with – albeit at quite an intimidating price tag! Let’s get the Seagate Firecuda 530 in the test machine:

Testing the Seagate Firecuda 530 500GB m.2 PCIE4 NVMe SSD

When testing the Seagate Firecuda 530, I wanted to perform a good balance of consumer-accessible tests. So the results below come from testing this 500GB SSD on a PC system and loading game tests from a PS5 system (for those considering this SSD for a console gaming system).

PC Test Machine:

  • Windows 10 Pro Desktop System
  • Intel i5 11400 Rocket Lake – 6-Core 2.6/4.4Ghz
  • 16GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory
  • Intel B560M mATX Motherboard
  • OS Storage, Seagate Firecuda 120 SSD
  • Test SSD connected to Secondary PCIe Gen 4 M.2 Slot

Note – It is VERY IMPORTANT to read these performance benchmarks in the context that they were made with the 500GB model of the Firecuda 530 series. Like most M.2 NVMe SSDs, the Firecuda 530 series scales in performance as you go into larger capacities, as there is a larger arrangement of NAND available on the board and improved distribution of data. Later in August/September, we hope to be bench-testing larger capacities and updating this review, alongside added new ones that reflect the increased performance these larger drives can provide. Otherwise, you can read the great review over on Tweaktown that features the 1TB Model. Let’s get back to the testing!

The Drive was first checked on Crystal Disk to check that it was clearly accessible, utilizing the PCIe Gen 4 bandwidth interface fully and was in good, healthy working order.

The PC Tests of the Seagate Firecuda 530 500GB SSD included ATTO Diskbench Mark, CrystalDisk, AS SSD and spikes of AJA Disk Speed Test (over time).

Seagate Firecuda 530 500GB – 1GB Test

Seagate Firecuda 530 500GB – 4GB

Seagate Firecuda 530 500GB – 16GB

 

Seagate Firecuda 530 500GB – ATTO 256MB Test

 

Seagate Firecuda 530 500GB – ATTO 1GB Test

Seagate Firecuda 530 500GB – ATTO 4GB Test

 

Seagate Firecuda 530 500GB – AS SSD Tests

We performed three different file type tests in AS SSD, 1GB, 3GB and 5GB. They were as follows:

AS SSD 1GB TEST FILE

AS SSD 3GB TEST FILE

AS SSD 5GB TEST FILE

Ordinarily, I would introduce tests like BlackMagic and AJA into the mix here, but even a short burst of testing on an NVMe like this would over saturate the cache memory on board. Nevertheless, in the short term we still could ascertain the reported performance on 1GB, 4GB and 16GB file testing was:

Seagate Firecuda 530 500GB 1GB AJA File Test Results (Max)

5,612MB/s Read & 4,529MB/s Write

Seagate Firecuda 530 500GB 4GB AJA File Test Results (Max)

5,600MB/s Read & 4,732MB/s Write

Seagate Firecuda 530 500GB 16GB AJA File Test Results (Max)

5,455MB/s Read & 4,903MB/s Write

Seagate Firecuda 530 500GB – Playstation 5 Load Times

Below I tested 4 different games on the Playstation 5, with each game being stored on the m.2 SSD expansion slot populated with the Seagate Firecuda 530. In three out of four cases, the game loaded 1 Sec + faster on the Seagate:

Overall, the Seagate Firecuda 530 was certainly able to provide some solid read performance, though clearly the fact this review features the 500GB drive has undermined the write activity. I am fully confident that larger capacity testing (coming soon) will live up to their respective reported benchmarks, as well as potentially exceed the test figures here on a more powerful machine.

Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD Review – Conclusion

For the most part, I DO think Seagate has succeeded in fulfilling the promises they have made on the Firecuda 530 and have arguably released the best example of m.2 PCIe4 NVMe SSD architecture you can buy in 2021. There is no avoiding the fact that the Seagate Firecuda 530 series of SSDs have arrived on the market noticeably later than their biggest rivals AND with a higher price tag, so they were going to need to make a pretty good early impression to make up the ground amply covered by their competitors. The decision to focus heavily on endurance and durability is a remarkably mature one (and potentially controversial one against their competitors) in an age when consumers are demanding prices come down, forcing brands to either cut covers where they think they will be felt the least or going the budget router of QC NAND. Therefore you have to respect Seagate’s decision to draw a line in the sand here about what they consider a high-end SSD. Though some buyers might not be as thrilled to pay for these extras that they feel they won’t need, the Firecuda 530 is still pretty much the score to beat in 1TB above, though the 500GB whilst maintaining the price structure of larger drives, might leave you a little less impressed. Overall, I can definitely recommend the Firecuda 530 series, but maybe pay the extra and go for the 1TB at the very least.

Drive Firecuda 530 500GB

Firecuda 530 1000GB

Firecuda 530 2000GB

Firecuda 530 4000GB

Price 500GB – $149.99 1TB – $239.99 2TB – $489.99 4TB – $949.99
PROs of the Seagate Firecuda 530 CONs of the Seagate Firecuda 530
Highest PCIe 4×4 M.2 Performance Right Now

176 Layer 3D TLC NAND is Unparalleled right now

Best Example of Phison E18 Performance

Highest Endurance PCIe Gen 4×4 M.2 SSD Right Now

Inclusive Data Recovery Services

PS5 Compatibility Fully Confirmed

Available in up to 4TB

Costs more than most

The heatsink is an Additional Purchase


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Seagate Firecuda 530 Vs Sabrent Rocket Plus PCIe4 M.2 SSD Comparison

2 août 2021 à 01:52

PCIe 4 NVMe SSD Comparison – Sabrent Rocket Plus vs Seagate Firecuda 530

The speed of more modern NVMe SSDs in 2021/2022 has been a hot topic of late and nowhere more than in the realm of PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSDs. No sooner had brands cracked through the 500K IOPS and 5,000MB/s read performance barrier, less than a year later we now have 7,000MB/s+ and 1 Million IOPS drives commercially available and two of the fastest drives available to buy right now in PCIe Gen 4 x4 M.2 are the Firecuda 530 from Seagate and the Rocket Plus from Sabrent. Now, I am willing to bet that 99% of you have heard of Seagate Technology – they have been in the business of data storage in one form or another for a little over 40 years! Whereas Sabrent is a comparatively unknown company, releasing numerous docking stations, hubs, memory card readers and enclosures in the last decade, who have seemingly taken all this knowledge from devices centred AROUND the storage and (presumably using 3rd party NAND manufacturers) designed their own series of SSDs. Despite the somewhat David vs Goliath nature of these two brands in this comparison, I will say that the Sabrent and the Rocket Plus brings quite an impressive range of hardware specifications, performance and choice to the table that challenges Seagate Firecuda 530 in a number of areas, though durability and endurance (as noted in earlier Sabrent SSDs over the years) is truly what let’s this drive down a tad. So, today I want to compare these two high performing NVMe SSDs to see which one deserves your data.

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

Sabrent Rocket Plus

PCIe Generation PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4
NAND 3D TLC Micron B47R 176L B27 3D NAND 96L
Max Capacity 4TB – Double Sided 4TB Double Sided
Controller Phison E18-PS5018 Phison E18-PS5018
Warranty 5yr 5yr
 

Even a casual glance at the architecture of both the Seagate Firecuda 530 and Sabrent Rocket Plus shows us that these two SSDs (released approx 3 months apart in 2021) have very similar base-line hardware on their respective PCB. With both using the latest NVMe 1.4 revision, both using that insanely high performing Phison E18 controller, are both available at 4TB (particularly rare right now in this storage tier) and really the only thing that stands out in the chart above is that NAND of choice in either SSD. The Sabrent features 96 layer 3D NAND, which is perfectly respectable, though somewhat dwarfed by the 176L 3D NAND in the Seagate Firecuda 530 – this NAND is precisely where the increased performance, durability and endurance will play out later in the comparison, but overall you still have to give props to these two drives for keeping it relatively cutting edge in 2021/2022. Let’s look at the price of these two SSDs and the storage options.

Sabrent Rocket Plus vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Price & Capacity

In terms of available capacity, both the Seagate Firecuda and the Sabrent Rocket Plus arrive at a maximum 4TB, which is quite impressive for an m.2 form factor drive AND for a relatively new-gen PCIe 4 x4 drive too (with current;y only 2-3 commercially available 4TB drives comparable to these available from other brands). Though it is worth highlighting that 4TB on a drive like this will cost you quite a hefty sum. Oddly, despite the Sabrent being the relative underdog in this NVMe SSD comparison, they have opted to skip the 250GB/500GB tier on their Rocket Plus series, something available from both WD Black SN850, Samsung 980 Pro and just the 500GB on Seagate Firecuda 530. Given the current premium on PCIe Gen 4×4 SSD at this performance threshold, having a more affordable entry point for smaller-scale editors, gamers, console owners and more might have been a misstep by Sabrent here. Below is a breakdown of the respective prices of each:

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

Sabrent Rocket Plus

500GB Model ZP500GM3A013  
Price in $ and $ $139 / £119  
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 SB-RKT4P-1TB
Price in $ and $ $239 / £199 $199 / £180
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 SB-RKT4P-2TB
Price in $ and $ $419 / £379 $469 / £419
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013 SB-RKT4P-4TB
Price in $ and $ $949 / £769 $1099 / £999

One thing that should become very apparent as soon as you start comparing the price for TB of the Seagate Firecuda 530 and Sabrent Rocket Plus (even the currency conversion too) is that right now there is practically no stability to the price models! Notwithstanding the effects of semi-conductor shortages, shockwaves in the industry of Chia and the effects of the pandemic on the supply chain, there is just little or no consistent pricing on the Sabrent Rocket Plus series, despite it being available since April 2021. This is not really the brand’s fault and although they are widely available from a large number of eShops worldwide, you will easily find that prices change on a dime! Seagate has only relatively recently launched the Firecuda 530 series and therefore the pricing is a great deal more stable. Additionally, the Price per GB/TB on each model as you rise through the capacity tiers (500GB>1000GB>2000GB>4000GB) becomes lower as you would expect. Overall, I would have to give this round to Seagate and the Firecuda 530 SSD.

 

Sabrent Rocket Plus vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Reported Read & Write Speed

After price, let’s be honest – THIS is the area that will garner the most attention when comparing the Sabrent Rocket Plus and Seagate Firecuda 530. It will not come as a massive surprise to find out that the Seagate Firecuda 530 is the higher performer here, even with Sabrent stating that the Rocket Plus can maintain the 7,000MB/s+ Sequential Read. As previously stated in other comparisons, the Seagate FC 530 500GB model write speed has always seemed a bit of an anomaly at 3,000MB (half the reported maximum of the 1TB model) but given Sabrent have ignored this capacity tier – it’s not massively relevant. However, it is still impressive to see how close the Sabrent Rocket Plus comes to the reported maximum Read/Write to the Seagate Firecuda 530:

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

Sabrent Rocket Plus

500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 N/A
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7000MB  
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3000MB  
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 SB-RKT4P-1TB
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6000MB 5500MB
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 SB-RKT4P-2TB
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB 7100MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6900MB 6850MB
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013 SB-RKT4P-4TB
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB 7100MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6900MB 6850MB

I mean, CLEARLY, the Seagate PCIe 4×4 m.2 drive wins overall here. However, if Sabrent can back up these claims on maximum performance, this is remarkably close in both Write (slightly less so on ‘Read). How this is played out in the SSDs life when you factor the endurance on the NAND on the Rocket Plus is still up for debate, but nonetheless, this is impressive. Real praise here needs to go to Phison and the E18 controller of course, but both Seagate and Sabrent have designed some great SSD architecture here to largely saturate the potential 8,000MB/s of PCIe 4×4. How does this reflect on individual operations? Let’s discuss the IOPS.

 

Sabrent Rocket Plus vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Reported IOPS

Despite the impressive specifications of these drives and how close the comparison of the Firecuda 530 and Rocket Plus have been up until this point, it has to be said that in terms of individual operations per second handled by these drives (more commonly referred to as the IOPS – input/output operations per second), the Sabrent NVMe drops the ball noticeably here. IOPs is a good indication of how the drive will behave in busy environments, being passed thousands of small instructions at any one time and although it is very much an industry metric, still holds significance in sustained operations. Although Seagate, WD and Samsung have surpassed 1,000,000 read and write random IOPS on their PCIe 4×4 drives, Sabrent peaks at 700,00 and is actually rather underwhelming at 350,000 random read IOPS (yes, read) at the 1TB tier – less than half of the Seagate Firecuda 530. See below:

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

Sabrent Rocket Plus

500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 N/A
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 400,000  
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 700,000  
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 SB-RKT4P-1TB
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 800000 350000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1000000 700000
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 SB-RKT4P-2TB
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 650000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 700000
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013 SB-RKT4P-4TB
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 650000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 700000

If you take a look at the reviews online for Sabrent’s rocket range of SSDs (both the PCIe 4.0 and PCIe 3.0 versions) you will see that there are notable examples of users being unimpressed by the consistent performance of their SSDs, even in single but sustained system usage. Part of this is detailed in the endurance and durability section below, but there is no avoiding that the low IOPS on these drives is less than you would expect – especially when you look at the Seagate Firecuda 530 utilizing the same Phison E18 controller. Part of this can be put down to memory management on the SSD (1GB DDR4), but the multi-layer NAND difference between the two drives is the biggest clincher. Once again the Seagate Firecuda wins this round. Let’s discuss the durability of these drives and the lifespan vs performance sustainability of the Firecuda 530 and Rocket Plus.

 

Sabrent Rocket Plus vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Endurance & Durability

Just because an SSD can reach a reported MB/s performance level, does not mean it can necessarily HOLD that performance over an extended time. There are many factors that govern this but the quality of the NAND + the handling of wear internally is a big, big part of it. The Seagate Firecuda 530 and Sabrent Rocket Plus are quite different in their workload/usage lifespan. The importance of SSD durability and endurance in 2021/2022 is actually pretty massive. Now that the devices we use all feature incredibly powerful processors, often cloud/network hybrid AI processes and graphical handling that will be instantly bottlenecked by traditional hard drives, SSDs are no longer just the ‘boot’ drive for our OS and are now the day to day working drive. This combined with SSD being used as caching and larger SSD capacities allowing suitable substitution for HDDs entirely means that the CONSTANT concern about SSDs lifespan and the durability of those NAND cells is now quite paramount. SSDs wear out – it’s as simple as that. The more you write, the more wear those individual NAND cells suffer – degrading performance over the years and inevitably leading to drive failure. Likewise, the smaller the drive, the greater likelihood that you will be writing, then rewriting, then rewriting, time and time again. The Seagate Firecuda 530 and Sabrent Rocket Plus are no exception and alongside massive research and development in better controllers and interfaces to improve performance, the way NAND is improved has led to SSDs lasting lover than ever before. However, SSDs and NAND are not built equally and there is actually quite a large difference in durability between the Sabrent Rocket Plus and the Seagate Firecuda 530. The Storage industry typically measures the predicted durability and endurance of an SSD as TBW, DWPD and MTBF. They are:

TBW = Terabytes Written, rated as the total number of terabytes that this SSD can have written to it in its warranty covered lifespan. So if the TBW was 300TB and the warranty is 5 years of coverage, that would mean that the drive can receive on average (with deleting/overwriting data each repeatedly) 60 Terabytes per year (or 5TB a month). After this point, the manufacturer highlights that durability, endurance and performance will decline. Often highlighted as an alternative to warranty length when gauging the predicted lifespan of a SSD.

DWPD = Drive Writes Per Day / Data Writes Per Day, this is a decimalized figure that represents what proportion of the capacity of an SSD (where 1.0 = 100% capacity) can be filled, erased and/or rewritten on a daily basis. This is provided using the warranty period and TBW figure. So, for example, if a 500GB drive has a 0.3DWPD rating, that is approx 150GB of data per day

MTBF = Mean Time Between Failure, which is the interval between one failure of an SSD and the next. MTBF is expressed in hours and most industrial SSDs are rated in the Millions of Hours. MTBF and MTTF (Mean Time to Failure) have largely become overlooked in recent years in favour of TBW and DWPD in SSDs, but are still stated on most Data Sheets.

So, now you know what those large Terbyte stats, hours and decimal point details are on the average SSD datasheet. So where do the Seagate Firecuda 530 and Sabrent Rocket Plus stand on this:

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

Sabrent Rocket Plus

500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 N/A
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 640TB  
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,800,000  
DWPD 0.7DWPD  
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 SB-RKT4P-1TB
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 1275TB 700TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,800,000 1600000
DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.4DWPD
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 SB-RKT4P-2TB
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 2550TB 1400TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,800,000 1600000
DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.4DWPD
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013 SB-RKT4P-4TB
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 5100TB 3000TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,800,000 1600000
DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.4DWPD

The MTBF figure, although different by around 200,000 hours, is less important. The real focus here needs to be that DWPD/TBW figure, as not only does that clearly indicate that the Seagate Firecuda 530 can comfortably be rewritten by more than half of its capacity daily (close to twice that of the Sabrent Rocket Plus), but this combined with the high IOPS ratings at 1M random R/W mentioned earlier mean that this is a drive that (based on these reported stats of course) is clearly going to be the longer-lasting drive in terms of both operation and performance. If your motivation for upgrading your storage and/or system to a PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 system was for faster task/operation completion in an environment where time = money, then the Seagate Firecuda 530 is clearly the better choice here over the Rocket Plus from Sabrent.

 

Sabrent Rocket Plus vs Seagate Firecuda 530 – Conclusion

In all of my Seagate Firecuda 530 comparisons so far, this is the one that has been the most one-sIded in its conclusion. The Sabrent Rocket Plus is an impressively designed drive and to introduce this drive into the market against bigger brands like Samsung, WD and Seagate in this highly Prosumer/Enterprise market (especially now NVMe Fabric is becoming a ‘thing’) cannot be ignored in it’s ambition Likewise, they have introduced the Rocket Plus series into the market before competitor drives in the MSI M480, Adata S70 and Gigabyte Aorus, managing to garner a huge amount of recognition and kudos. However, their high performance and architecture are let down by comparatively less ensuring NAND and internal handling that ends up hugely shadowed by the Firecuda 530. Likewise, I genuinely feel that Sabrent would benefit from offering consumers 250GB and 500GB models, to act as gateways into their brand, as well as facilitating end-users whose demands for daily rotational writes and sustained hour-by-hour performance will be much lower. However, one simply cannot ignore the specifications supplied by both official brands on the capabilities of their PCIe NVMe 4.0 M.2 SSDs and clearly the Seagate Firecuda 530 wins the day here comfortably.

Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530

Sabrent Rocket Plus

Best Performance  
Best Endurance/Durability  
Best Price for TB  DRAW DRAW
Best Extras  
Best Value  
Where To Buy

 

 


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Seagate Firecuda 530 NVMe SSD FINALLY Revealed

28 juin 2021 à 01:40

Next-Gen NVMe Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD Released

Great news for anyone who has been looking at purchasing the fastest possible solid-state drive for gaming and video editing in 2021, with the long-awaited reveal of Seagate’s brand new Firecuda 530 NVMe SSD. Although previously alluded to in tech articles featuring the Phison E18 controller, this is the first time we have formally seen this truly next-generation SSD revealed to the public. Arriving with traditional read-write performance and reported IOPS that dwarf most other SSD on the market, this new Firecuda  530 NVMe M.2 solid-state drive is massively going to change the accepted norms of PC gamers and console owners moving forward. Today we are going to cover why this SSD is such a big deal and which systems are most likely to benefit from it in 2021/2022.

Why Is The Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD a Big Deal?

It would be an understatement to suggest that Seagate produce a few SSD. In reality, they have a huge range of solid-state drives for different industries and although these all scale towards different utilities, endurance, interfaces and controllers, most are relatively comparable. The Seagate Firecuda 530 takes advantage of several brand and industry unique characteristics which place it noticeably higher over competitors at Samsung with the 980 Pro and WD with their Black SN850. Let’s go through a few of the key standout characteristics of this SSD.

The Phison E18 Controller

The controller features in the Firecuda 530 is the newly developed and only recently revealed Phison E15 PS5018 NAND controller. A noticeable jump on its predecessor, the E16 featured on the majority of current generation Seagate SSD, this new controller is the driving force behind this SSD and its massive performance benefits over other drives. With overall 1.5 times the Read and Write performance within PCIe 4 x4 and 2.1 times the performance over PCIe Gen 3 x4 SSDs with the E16 controller, this is a massive jump and is what enables the drive to be better equipped to saturate the PCIe Gen 4 x4 bandwidth (maximum potential 8,000MB/s) available in NVMe right now. Likewise, this all results in more than just megabytes per seconds, as at its highest capacity, it reports a staggering 1,000,000 Random Read & Write IOPS.

The Best PCIe Gen 4 x4 Bandwidth Saturation Yet

As mentioned, the last generation and most recent generation of Firecuda SSDs from Seagate arrive with PCIe Gen 4 times 4. PCIe 4 provides 2,000MB/s bandwidth and that x4 = 8,000MB/s. However, this is BANDWIDTH, which you can think of as the size of a water pipe. The Firecuda 520 NVMe 1.3 SSD could hit 5,000MB/s Read and 4,400MB/s Write – which although impressive, still left around a 3rd of the bandwidth wasted. The new Firecuda 530 NVMe 1.4 SSD however can provide up to 7,300MB/s Read and 6,900MB/s Write – which is a noticeable increase and makes better use of the bandwidth. Currently making it the fastest available commercial SSD you can buy and one that gamers will seek out!

Large Capacity Options on Day 1

Interestingly, unlike many other Seagate SSDs that have arrived on the market that are NVMe PCIe Gen 4×4, the Seagate Firecuda 530 NVMe SSD arrives in a slighter larger array of capacities, with the 500GB (ZP500GM30013) and 1TB (ZP1000GM30013) models arriving with only 1 side of the PCB covered in NAND chips, and the 2TB (ZP2000GM30013) and, yes, 4TB (ZP4000GM30013) model being dual-sided (dual rank) with NAND, allowing a greater storage capacity, as well as facilitating higher Read and Write performance in traditional MB/s and IOPs. Impressively, all four capacities are 2280 in length – no 22110 longer versions to contend with.

Excellent Endurance Ratings, Support & Recovery Services

Alongside good performance, decent capacity options and the new E18 controller, the Firecuda 530 NVMe SSD also arrives with a 0.7 DWPD rating (the amount that it can be Rewritten to it, every day in 5 years, so 70%, DAILY) with results in a total TBW of 640 / 1275 / 2550 / 5100 TBW Respective to the capacities (small-to-big). Likewise, this translates well to its MTBF, reported at 1.8 Million hours. However, not only have they included the expected 5-year warranty, but they also included 3 years of rescue data recovery services at no additional cost. We at NASCompares have always been positive about this inclusion with the bulk of their NAS/Server/Business class HDD/SSD, as data recovery costs can be INSANE! If you are unfamiliar with the Seagate Rescue Recovery service, below is a video whereby we tested the extent of the service by damaging a drive

The Seagate Firecuda 530 is Almost Certain PS5 Compatibly

One of the most appealing elements of the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD is that of all the PCIe Gen 4×4 M.2 NVMe SSD that we have seen revealed in the last 12-18 months, this is almost certainly going to be a PS5 supported internal hard drive. Sony disabled the internal M.2 SSD slot inside the Playstation 5 at launch, as the system needed 5,500MB/s SSDs minimum used, to match the SSD the system uses on-board (which with compression, can reach 9,000MB/s). Sony is saying that the PS5 Storage Expansion slot to allow SSD upgrades will be enabled this summer, as compatibility testing is still on going and although there is a reasonable chance a lot of PCIe Gen 4×4 SSD will be supported, the 4TB and its MAX 7,300MB/s of performance will mean it is practically certain to be confirmed as PS5 compatible.

What Are The Specifications of the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD?

So, we have discussed how the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD will benefit users in 2021/2022 (mostly gamers, let’s be honest!). But how does that translate to specifications. The official specifications sheet can be found HERE, but below are the highlights of the entire range of Firecuda 530 SSDs:

Highlights of the Seagate Firecuda 530 NVMe SSD

  • Available in 500GB, 1TB, 2TB & 4TB, Price: $140 – $240 – $490 – $950 Respectively
  • PCIe Gen 4×4 NVMe 1.4 & Phison E18 PS5018 Controller
  • 176L 3D TLC NAND
  • Max Sequential Read 128KB – 7,000 – 7,300MB/s
  • Max Sequential Write 128KB – 3,000 – 6,000 – 6,900MB/s
  • Max Random Read IOPS – 400,000 – 1,000,000
  • Max Random Write IOPS – 700,000 – 1,000,000
  • 0.7 DWPD and 640 / 1275 / 2550 / 5100 TBW Respectively
  • 1.8Million Hours MTBF
  • 5 Years Warranty & 3 Years Inclusion Rescue Data Recovery

Below you can see how the Seagate Firecuda 530 compares with the Seagate 520, 510 and SATA range of SSDs in their portfolio.

So, as you can see, the new 530 series is a great deal higher in performance and ability than anything else the brand has produced in the Firecuda series to date!

When Will The Seagate Firecuda 530 SSDs Be Released and How Much Will They Cost?

The Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD has already started to appear on both the Seagate official store site AND on Amazon. At the SG21 event the prices were listed

Seagate Firecuda 530 ZP500GM30013 500GB – $140

Seagate Firecuda 530 ZP1000GM30013 1TB / 1000GB – $240

Seagate Firecuda 530 ZP2000GM30013 2TB / 2000GB – $490

Seagate Firecuda 530 ZP4000GM30013 4TB 4000GB – $950

So, as you can see, these are not going to be low-cost drives, with the super-fast and high capacity 4 Terabyte model costing almost $1000. We will, of course, be reviewing the Seagate Firecuda 530 here on NASCompares soon, along with numerous tests on the PS5 when the storage expansion feature is enabled to show you if it is worth the hefty price tag! Stay tuned!

 

 


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