A cursory look at the latest enterprise SSD releases reveals a list of value-oriented storage offerings. As SSDs continue to gain wider acceptance in the datacenter, manufacturers have begun optimizing the price of the speedy storage devices to address mainstream applications.
The early transition to SSDs consisted of utilization of high-end drives in every application. When you have a high-performance hammer, every problem tends to look like a nail. This approach didn't mesh well with customers looking for the best value. Customers also aren't interested in purchasing unneeded performance and endurance. Administrators flocked to client SSDs, which featured less endurance but good-enough performance for the majority of workloads. SSD manufacturers noticed this trend, and customer feedback resulted in a re-thinking of the enterprise SSD product stack.
Enter the first wave of value SSDs. These value offerings merely consisted of cut-down versions of their higher-endurance brethren. Pairing the same controllers with less robust NAND and slimmed down feature sets created a new class of economical SSDs. Unfortunately, in many cases, the price difference between the high-end and mainstream/light-duty SSDs were slight.
As the enterprise SSD market matures, we are witnessing the emergence of true value-class SSDs in the market. This new breed of SSD, typically coming from foundry-enabled companies, is purpose-built from the ground up to fit very specific workloads. The Micron M500DC and Cloudspeed 1000E are good examples of SSDs built and tuned perfectly for read-centric and light workload applications.
After time, some flagship-class SSDs, designed to deliver the ultimate in endurance and performance, fall into a lower price class due to age or aggressive sales strategies. Savvy customers can pick up great deals on SSDs that feature higher endurance ratings and performance than value-class SSDs, but at a similar price.
This brings us to the Seagate 600 Pro. We initially evaluated the Seagate 600 Pro in May of last year. The SSD performed well by leveraging a stable and proven platform with its LAMD LM87800AA controller. Custom Seagate firmware tuned the drive for enterprise use, and two distinct sub-classes within the 600 Pro family offered varying levels of endurance and random write performance. The high-endurance versions feature less available capacity, but offer much more endurance.
The 400GB Seagate 600 Pro features sustained sequential read/write speeds of 520/450 MB/s, and random read/write performance of 85,000/30,000 IOPS (in the capacity points with extra overprovisioning).
The 400GB version of the SSD sports an endurance rating of 1080TBW, compared to 350TBW of endurance with the 480GB model. The extra overprovisioning also brings random write performance up from 11,000 IOPS to 30,000 IOPS at this capacity. The Seagate 600 Pro also features all of the trimmings of an enterprise SSD, with tantalum capacitors to protect from power loss and a design that focuses on performance efficiency. The Seagate 600 Pro continues to lead as one of the most efficient SSDs on the market with an enviable IOPS-to-watts ratio.
Recently, the price of the 600 Pro series has dropped dramatically, sometimes encroaching upon $0.50/GB for the lower endurance models and $1.29/GB for the beefier versions with more overprovisioning. These low prices drop the 600 Pro series into competition with today's top value-class SSDs, but with the same performance and features that commanded a price with flagship high-endurance SSDs. The aggressive pricing merits a re-consideration of the 600 Pro, and today we will test it against the current crop of value-class SSDs to gauge how it competes in the market.
PRICING: You can find the Seagate 600 Pro for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
Canada: The Seagate 600 Pro (400GB) retails for CDN$549.99 at Amazon Canada.