REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS
Seagate is one of the top three hard drive manufacturers in the world and may have more to gain through SSD development than it’s closest competitors Western Digital or Toshiba. If their partnership with Virident wasn’t a clue, the public unveiling of their entire SSD line will definitely set things in stone. Not only can Seagate now move into the consumer and enterprise fold with the 600 family, but also, they can enhance their already deep seated HDD based relationships by presenting a solution to the inescapable drawbacks of the hard drive. Ideally, their SSD manufacture can only strengthen those HDD relationships as they near complete solutions that once again strengthen the value of hard drives.
Where things will lie with the LAMD as the controller of choice for Seagate’s SSD future is another question. Hynix, a very prominent memory manufacturer, purchased LAMD a few months back and their mindset may be to increase memory sales through SSD production. This has become most evident, as of late, with the Corsair Neutron SSD family moving from Toshiba to Hynix memory. Someone once termed, “He who owns the fab” which speaks to flash manufacturers having a specific development and pricing advantage when it comes to flash and Samsung is definitely front and center with their own controller and NAND.
SK Hynix just became number two with their purchase of LAMD. They have their own NAND flash memory, their own DRAM cache and now their own controller. Like Samsung and Samsung only, they can market their own proprietary complete SSD solution, whether it be under their name or through partnerships such as that seen with Corsair.
As for the Seagate 600 Pro SATA 3 SSD, Seagate seems to have made a right move in creating a consumer variety of the 600, as well as different capacities of the 600 Pro that cover the enthusiast and enterprise to some extent. Although there is no doubt that their development will strengthen their final product, the LAMD controller is still a relatively new and unproven resource in the enterprise world and we can see the pricing and sales keeping it in the enthusiast and small business space.
If you need the increased endurance and power loss protection of the 600 Pro in 28% over provisioned capacities of 100, 200 and 400GB, this SSD will definitely fit that bill. If, however, you have no need whatsoever for those two features, performance in the entire 600 line is relatively similar and this SSD has great incompressible transfer speeds as well as read and write IOPS performance. Is it a Samsung 840 Pro, OCZ Vector or even a Micron M500? No it isn’t, but then again the Samsung and OCZ don’t have power loss protection, none have the M500 capacity and neither the Samsung, OCZ or Crucial/Micron have 28% over provisioning? This SSD seems to have found its own space.
At the time of this report, we cannot speak to pricing because we can’t find it for the 28% provisioned 600 Pro anywhere. Presently, the consumer version 600 is going for as low as 0.77/GB while the enthusiast level 600 Pro (7% OP) is almost double that at $1.35/GB. If Seagate can find a price similar to the 600 Pro with 7% OP they might realize great success with this SSD. Last but not least, the 600 Pro family has included a standard five year warranty, vice the 3 year of the 600 consumer edition.
In considering all that the Seagate 600 Pro (28% OP) can bring to the table with what only could be termed as ‘extreme’ endurance and power loss protection, and the five year warranty, we fell it deserving of our Innovation Award.