Seagate has officially moved into the solid state drive (SSD) market with two new consumer drives: the 600 and 600 Pro series. The new drives come in capacities ranging from 100GB to 480GB. Both series utilize the Link A Media (LAMD) LM87800 SSD controller and 19nm 2-bit per cell MLC NAND flash from Toshiba. Seagate has not provided pricing or availability dates, but pricing should be in-line with existing drives, and reviews are already available around the Internet.
The Seagate 600 series is the lowest-tier solid state drive. It will be available in 120, 240, and 480GB capacities. Seagate is using 128GB, 256, and 512GB of NAND flash on 2, 4, and 8 channels respectively. In addition to the LM87800 SSD controller (which features custom Seagate firmware) and NAND flash, Seagate is including 1MB of DDR2-800 DRAM per 1GB of NAND flash for a total of 128, 256, and 512MB of DRAM on the 120, 240, and 480GB capacity drives.
The 600 Series is rated at up to 500MB/s peak 128KB reads and 400MB/s writes (limited to 300MB/s on the lowest-capacity 120GB drive). Further, Seagate states that the 120GB drive is capable of 80,000 random read and 60,000 random write (4K) IOPS, while the 240GB and 480GB drives can reach up to 80,000 random read and 70,000 random write (4K) IOPS.
Also note that the 600 series comes in both 7mm and 5mm form factors, which makes it compatible with most laptops. Seagate provides a 3 year warranty on the 600 series.
The Seagate 600 Pro series steps things up a notch by adding overprovisioning, capacitors for power-loss protection, and a longer 5 year warranty. The 600 Pro series will come in 100, 120, 200, 240, 400, and 480GB capacities. The 100, 200, and 400GB versions of the SSD offer additional overprovisioning which gives the SSD controller more space to work with. The capacitores are intended to provide enough power in the event of a PC power loss to write all data to the NAND flash and prevent data loss.
The 600 Pro drives offer the same 6Gbps SATA interface, LM87800 controller, and 1MB-to-1GB DRAM to NAND ratio. The Pro drives do not come in the 5mm high form factor, so laptop compatibility is limited.
Further, the 600 Pro Seagate SSDs are faster drives. According to Seagate, the Pro series offers up to 85,000 and 30,000 random read and write (4K) IOPS on the overprovisioned drives and p to 85,000/11,000 random IOPS on the 240 and 480GB drives. The 100 and 120GB drives are slower than the other drives though due to less NAND flash and channels between the flash and controller. The chart below details the rated specifications for all of the announced drives.
|Series||600 Pro||600 Pro||600 Pro||600 Pro||600 Pro||600 Pro||600||600||600|
|Random 4K r/w KIOPS||80/20||80/8||85/30||85/11||85/30||85/11||80/60||80/70||80/70|
|128KB r/w sustained sequential||>500/>300||>500/>400||>500/>400|
|128KB peak sequential r/w||520/300||520/300||520/450||520/450||520/450||520/450|
Blank areas indicate that rated specifications were not available.
Fortunately, the reviews available online (such as AnandTech's) do seem to support the new drives as far as performance is concerned. The drives are stacking up nicely versus the competition, which is interesting given the controller choice. For example, the sequential read speed looks promising.
The 600 and 600 Pro drives are looking like solid drives so long as the pricing is competitive. I'm excited to see where Seagate goes from here.