Review: Seagate FireCuda 120 SSD – Dominating with Ferocious SATA Speeds!
When it comes to high speed performance and large capacity hard drives, we definitely think of Seagate. They have been pushing the limits with their FireCuda lineup for years now, and the 120 SSD series is outstanding! Personally, I love Seagate. . . But is this the drive you’ve been waiting for?
The Seagate FireCuda 120 SSD line consists of 4 capacities, including the entry-level 500GB model, 1TB, 2TB, and the flagship 4TB SSD. These incredibly fast solid state drives have been advertised and branded as made for gamers. With the advancements in game mechanics and graphics, we can only do our best to keep up with the hardware that runs these overwhelmingly detailed games. Sometimes, we have to make decisions based on cost and hardware that we currently have. Most likely, if you’re reading this article, it’s because your computer doesn’t have an M.2 SSD slot and you’d like to know if the FireCuda 120 SSD SATA drive can deliver comparable results. The good news is, yes! The FireCuda 120 SSD runs at Super SATA Speeds! This drive has been tuned to deliver a truly remarkable performance. Backed with its limited 5 year warranty, the FireCuda 120 SSD uses a combination of highly impressive engineering.
A Closer Look
The FireCuda 120 black metal casing provides a quality level feel with an attractive design, if you plan on showing it off inside your computer case. The SSD comes in a slim 2.5 7mm form factor, so it will also fit in most notebooks that accept that size.
The engineering starts with what Seagate has fused into this SSD. They have integrated the 96-layer BiCS4 3D TLC NAND with a re-branded 8-channel PS3112-S12 Phison controller. What does some of that mean? Let’s try to quickly break it down.
NAND is a binary connective that stores data in memory cells. It stands for “NOT AND” – which honestly sounds confusing, however it can be understood with a bit of creative thinking. All code is broken down to zeros and ones. Imagine those two numbers as True and False. So, if you typed out TRUE or FALSE randomly across a text document over one hundred times, and then had another person do the same, each document would come out differently. This is how flash storage reads and writes. If you add a picture to your SSD, it breaks that image down to code, or zeros and ones randomly for that specific image. When you add another image, it does the same thing, but the code will be different for that second image. Each item you add to your drive will get its own binary pattern. Symbolically NAND looks like this when written – p↑q.
Unlike other types of flash memory, NAND doesn’t need continuous power to retain the data. This means it is non-volatile storage. It can retain data even when the power has been turned off. NAND cell structure originally was stacked horizontally. Innovation with technology lead to 3D NAND, which stacked the cells, 96 layers vertically, at three bits per cell (TLC – triple level cell architecture) giving more capacity in a smaller footprint. Quick example: 10 sheets of regular printing paper, lined up on the floor in one row. This would measure 86 inches (or over 7ft across), about the height of Shaquille O’Neal (former NBA basketball player) laying down. Now take those same 10 sheets and stack them on top of each other. We can definitely see a drastic difference in comparison, while still using the same amount of paper. BiCS4 means “Bit Cost Scaling at the 4th generation” – The lower cost per bit with each succeeding generation.
I believe that’s enough compressed knowledge to stock away in our brain for this type of technology. The key information is that Seagate has configured the FireCuda 120 SSD series with the best engineering for a solid state drive that uses the SATA hardware interface. It has higher capacity, better endurance and lower power consumption, using the 3D NAND architecture while costing less than a M. 2 SSD.
Marketing performance rates the FireCuda 120 SSD at 560/540 for sequentials and 90K/100K random write IOPS. This means that combined with its endurance throughout the 5 year warranty period, users can expect a remarkable 5600 TBW (Terabytes Written) into the drive over its lifetime, permitting around 0.7 DWPD (Driver writes per day). This obviously doesn’t mean the drive will only last for 5 years. It means you have a warranty for 5 years if something were to go wrong, but day to day users can expect this SSD to last an extra long time.
A robust eight-channel controller manufactured on TSMC 28nm process technology powers the drive. It leverages twin CPU architecture with a built-in 32-bit microcontroller. The controller itself clocks in at 666 MHz and is interlinked with 2 Kingston 8GB DDR3L integrated circuits (ICs) to cache metadata and ensure responsive performance.
This controller supports safe erase, end-to-end data path protection, Smart data reporting, trim, and thermal throttling that is managed through an internal thermal sensor. It also comes with the Phiston SmartFlush algorithm that stops data loss by flushing the DRAM to the cache when the drive is idle. SmartRefresh also helps to ensure data integrity by scanning for NAND errors when an idle state is noticed.
Software and Reliability
Seagate supports the SSD with SeaTools SSD, an SSD toolbox that permits users to monitor the SSD. It provides a range of helpful tools such as drive performance monitoring, drive health monitoring, as well as software and firmware updates. Although SeaTools SSD does not come with any built-in drive cloning utility, they do provide a link to download the application Seagate DiscWizard, an easy to use system cloning and backup program.
- Attractive aesthetics
- Responsive and reliable architecture
- Capacities up to 4TB
- 5 year warranty
- 3 years of rescue data recovery service
- Software package
- Slightly higher price per gigabyte
- Lacks AES 256-bit drive encryption
- Small SLC cache
The FireCuda 120 SSDs are a powerful release by Seagate with a price tag roughly the same as other SSD in its class. With a top TBW, best overall performance, and slick branding, which can be vital to some users, the SeaGate FireCuda 120 SSDs are a best choice for gamers or anyone looking for high standard SATA solid drives.
Why choose the FireCuda 120 SSD?
- Highest speed
- Maxed out SATA 6GB/s speeds of 560/540 MB/s (sequential write/read)
- High capacity
- Up to 4TB of internal high speed SATA SSD storage.
- Drive health monitoring
- Test and check this quick flash drive with a free copy of SeaTools SSD.
- Long-term endurance
- Play hard for a long time since this SSD is rated for 1.8M hours MTBF.
Save your games, apps, photos, and video footage on the Seagate FireCuda 120 SSD 4TB and work or play with little load times. Thanks to the high performance SATA speeds of 560 megabytes per second, the FireCuda can load games five times faster than any hard disc drive (HDD). Installing apps, games, or other big files will be quick and secure. You can save over 90 huge games on this SSD and still have room to work. Furthermore, the 3D NAND TLC cell structure of this SSD makes it last much longer. The FireCuda 120 SSD 4TB comes in at $598.99 and includes a limited 5 year warranty. To purchase your own, you can find it HERE and on AMAZON. For more information about this specific drive or other Seagate products, go to the Official Website HERE.