Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report

It's been quite a long time since we're published a RAID report. Today is Seagate's big day with four product categories emerging from under the covers. We ended up with a pair for 600 SSD 240GB drives so it was a perfect opportunity to try them in RAID 0.

@ChrisRamseyer
Published Tue, May 7 2013 7:10 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:31 PM CDT

Introduction

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 01 | TweakTown.com
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I'm often asked about RAID performance and what happened with the TweakTown RAID reports. For a long period of time we would routinely take the top performing consumer SSD's or some of the best bang for the buck SSD's and run them in RAID 0. Over the years our office turned into a warehouse for emerging products and I was overrun. At one point in 2012 over 30 products were in queue for review. That kind of backlog meant special projects would have to wait.

Things should be different in 2013. Paul has ramped up his output and taken enterprise off my plate. Tyler is starting to ramp up with external storage and HDD reviews, so I can get back to some of the special projects that made TweakTown a special place to read SSD reviews. RAID reports are back and The State of Solid State will be too, right after Computex Taipei 2013 next month.

Today isn't about my work schedule though, today is Seagate's big day. The company just announced their new consumer and enterprise flash based products for 2013 and we're right in the middle of covering the new drives. In the Seagate 2013 Product Lineup article we covered the new 600 SSD, 600 Pro SSD, 1200 SSD with a SAS 12Gb/s interface and the new PCIe X8 Accelerator. Our Seagate 600 240GB review is also posted on and now it's RAID TIME!

Let's take a look at the Seagate 600 SSD product specs that we know and then get down to benchmarks.

Specifications, Pricing and Availability

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 02 | TweakTown.com

The Seagate 600 SSD has two categories divided by form factor. In each form factor are three capacity sizes and that leaves us with six individual model numbers. The form factors are 5mm and 7mm z-heights, so ultrabook and new ultrabooks popping up at Computex 2013 are covered. The 7mm z-height uses standard SATA power and data connectors so they also work in existing desktops and notebooks. The 5mm standard is a topic we'll talk about in a couple of days when we review a Western Digital 5mm mechanical HDD.

When it comes to performance, the six Seagate 600 SSD products boil down to two categories based on capacity size. The two 240GB and two 480GB drives share the same performance numbers as does the two 120GB sizes. Today we'll publish reviews of both the 240GB and 480GB 600 SSD's.

Seagate's performance ratings are fairly general, over 500MB/s sequential read and over 400MB/s sequential write on the two larger capacity drives. Random 4K IOPS performance comes in at up to 80K read and 70K write. We managed to break all four of the corner performance ratings in our test with both 600 SSD's we're testing today.

Even though we covered it in the Seagate 2013 SSD Lineup article, I want to bring up the fact that Seagate also has a 600 Pro model designed for enterprise use. The 600 Pro should also cross over to the enthusiast / power user market, if the price is within reach.

When it comes to prices, with 48-hours left to go before the NDA lifts, we don't have anything to mention on the MSRP for any of Seagate's new SSD's. To be fair, when Seagate releases mechanical drives, they don't provide us with MSRP information, but SSD's are an entirely different market. Seagate is struggling to get us a lot of the information we're asking for. This is their first real SSD launch, but we really expected a bit more from the company.

The Seagate 600 and 600 Pro both use the Link_A_Media Devices (LAMD) LM87800AA, the same Corsair chose for the Neutron and Neutron GTX products nearly a year ago. Seagate pairs both the 600 and 600 Pro with new Toshiba 19nm Toggle Mode flash, Type C. The Type C is the new dual plane flash with 16K page sizes. Both 600 Series products use Micron DRAM, two chips on the capacity sizes we have in hand. The 120GB model may use just one DRAM chip to store page table data.

The consumer 600 SSD has a three year warranty. Seagate, like many others, have included a total TB written warranty exemption. The 240GB and 480GB 600 SSD's are covered for up to 72TB written, while the 120GB models only go up to 36.5TB.

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 01 | TweakTown.com

We originally didn't have a RAID report planned for the Seagate 600 SSD, but the stars aligned and we ended up with a pair of drives for two days. Not one to let an opportunity for an exclusive go to waste, we went to work on the RAID 0 numbers.

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 04 | TweakTown.com
Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 05 | TweakTown.com

Here we see one of the drives apart, but we don't recommend you do this with any SSD. The Seagate 600 and 600 Pro has an anti-intrusion security feature and taking the drives apart is not only difficult, it's destructive.

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 06 | TweakTown.com

Seagate uses a tuned Link_A_Media Devices (LAMD) controller and pairs it with Toshiba 19nm Toggle Mode, Type C flash.

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 07 | TweakTown.com

This is the same physical silicon that Corsair has on the Neutron and Neutron GTX products.

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 08 | TweakTown.com

Seagate used the latest in NAND flash technology on the 600 SSD. This is Toshiba's new dual-plane flash with 16K page sizes.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and ATTO Baseline Performance

Desktop Test System

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 50 | TweakTown.com

Lenovo W530 - Mobile Workstation

We use two systems for SSD testing. The desktop runs a majority of the tests and the Lenovo W530 runs the notebook power tests as well as the real-world file transfer benchmark.

ATTO Baseline Performance

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.34

ATTO is used by many disk manufacturers to determine the read and write speeds that will be presented to customers.

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 51 | TweakTown.com Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 52 | TweakTown.com

16KB Stripe (Left) / 64KB Stripe (Right)

Since we're rebooting the RAID report we don't have a wide range of recent products to compare the Seagate 600 SSD to. Because of that, we chose to run it against itself. For the tests today we used two stripe sizes, 16KB, the default for Intel's RST driver and 64KB, a proven high performer.

The 16KB will appear on the left and the 64KB stripe size will appear on the right throughout this review.

In ATTO we can start to see how changing your stripe size can move performance from one area to another. The smaller stripe sizes increase random performance and larger strip sizes increase sequential performance.

Benchmarks - Sequential Performance

HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.00

Developer Homepage: http://www.efdsoftware.com

Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

HD Tune is a Hard Disk utility which has the following functions:

Benchmark: measures the performance

Info: shows detailed information

Health: checks the health status by using SMART

Error Scan: scans the surface for errors

Temperature display

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write and access time results and for the last couple of years has gained popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must have application for storage device testing.

Sequential Read

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 53 | TweakTown.com Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 54 | TweakTown.com

16KB Stripe (Left) / 64KB Stripe (Right)

Anytime we break 1000MB/s, it's a special day. RAID offers performance that you just can't get with a single consumer SSD at this time. Intel's built-in RAID on the PCH gives us two SATA III ports to link two drives together and with newer chipsets and drivers, TRIM even works.

Sequential Write

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16KB Stripe (Left) / 64KB Stripe (Right)

The maximum write performance in RAID 0 with both stripe sizes is around the same, 630MB/s. Surprisingly, the 16KB stripe size delivered a higher average and minimum sequential write speed. Intel's default stripe size is 16KB and most RAID product manufacturers set the default to the highest performing general use setting.

Benchmarks - AIDA64 Random Access Time

AIDA64 Random Access Time

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.60

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

AIDA64 offers several different benchmarks for testing and optimizing your system or network. The Random Access test is one of very few if not only that will measure hard drives random access times in hundredths of milliseconds as oppose to tens of milliseconds.

Drives with only one or two tests displayed in the write test mean that they have failed the test and their Maximum and possibly their Average Scores were very high after the cache fills. This usually happens only with controllers manufactured by Jmicron.

Read Access Latency

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 57 | TweakTown.com Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 58 | TweakTown.com

16KB Stripe (Left) / 64KB Stripe (Right)

The read latency is the same between the two stripe sizes. With mechanical drives, read latency would increase slightly over a single HDD, but with SSD's, there isn't a penalty, at least not one that is measurable.

Write Access Latency

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 59 | TweakTown.com Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 60 | TweakTown.com

16KB Stripe (Left) / 64KB Stripe (Right)

Using a smaller stripe size with an SSD does increase wear and your array will feel slower faster until the drive's internal garbage collection kicks in to clean up the flash.

Benchmarks - Anvil Storage Utilities

Anvil Storage Utilities

Version and / or Patch Used: RC6

So what is Anvil Storage Utilities? First of all, it's a storage benchmark for SSD's and HDD's where you can check and monitor your performance. The Standard Storage Benchmark performs a series of tests, you can run a full test or just the read or the write test or you can run a single test, i.e. 4K DQ16.

Anvil Storage Utilities is not officially available yet but we've been playing with the beta for several months now. The author, Anvil on several international forums has been updating the software steadily and is adding new features every couple of months.

The software is used several different ways and to show different aspects for each drive. We've chosen to use this software to show the performance of a drive with two different data sets. The first is with compressible data and the second data set is incompressible data. Several users have requested this data in our SSD reviews.

0-Fill Compressible Data

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 61 | TweakTown.com Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 62 | TweakTown.com

16KB Stripe (Left) / 64KB Stripe (Right)

When looking at several read results we get better performance with a 64KB stripe size after running several different tests. This is a result of the flash taking less abuse.

Read IOPS through Queue Depth Scale

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 63 | TweakTown.com

Here we get three sets of numbers. The single Seagate 600 SSD 240GB was added to the list so we can see exactly where RAID increases IOPS performance. Here we see that low queue depths don't see an increase in performance and performance doesn't increase until we get to higher read queue depths.

Scaling Write IOPS through Queue Scale

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 64 | TweakTown.com

The performance increase with RAID happens at a lower queue depth when writing data. Here we see an increase at QD4 and the IOPS increase is quite significant. We also see the random write increase that comes with a smaller stripe size.

Benchmarks - CrystalDiskMark

CrystalDiskMark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 Technical Preview

Developer Homepage: http://crystalmark.info

Product Homepage: http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskMark/index-e.html

Download here: http://crystaldew.info/category/software/crystaldiskmark

CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software that allows us to benchmark 4K and 4K queue depths with accuracy.

Key Features:-

* Sequential reads/writes

* Random 4KB/512KB reads/writes

* Text copy

* Change dialog design

* internationalization (i18n)

Note: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 Technical Preview was used for these tests since it offers the ability to measure native command queuing at 4 and 32.

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 65 | TweakTown.com Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 66 | TweakTown.com

16KB Stripe (Left) / 64KB Stripe (Right)

Here we're having a little more fun with the stripe sizes while using incompressible data.

Benchmarks - PCMark Vantage Hard Disk Tests

PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/pcmark-vantage/

Buy It Here

PCMark Vantage is the first objective hardware performance benchmark for PCs running 32 and 64 bit versions of Microsoft Windows Vista. PCMark Vantage is perfectly suited for benchmarking any type of Microsoft Windows Vista PC from multimedia home entertainment systems and laptops to dedicated workstations and high-end gaming rigs. Regardless of whether the benchmarker is an artist or an IT Professional, PCMark Vantage shows the user where their system soars or falls flat, and how to get the most performance possible out of their hardware. PCMark Vantage is easy enough for even the most casual enthusiast to use yet supports in-depth, professional industry grade testing.

FutureMark has developed a good set of hard disk tests for their PCMark Vantage Suite. Windows users can count on Vantage to show them how a drive will perform in normal day to day usage scenarios. For most users these are the tests that matter since many of the old hat ways to measure performance have become ineffective to measure true Windows performance.

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 67 | TweakTown.com

HDD1 - Windows Defender

HDD2 - Gaming

HDD3 - Windows Photo Gallery

HDD4 - Vista Startup

HDD5 - Windows Movie Maker

HDD6 - Windows Media Center

HDD7 - Windows Media Player

HDD8 - Application Loading

By this point in our testing, both stripe sizes have degraded due to high IOPS 4K tests and performance has degraded. Windows 7 with Intel's new RST drivers and a Z77 chipset allow the TRIM command to pass through to the drives, but 4K writes take quite a while to recover from.

Final Thoughts

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 01 | TweakTown.com

As we mentioned in the introduction, we plan to write more RAID reports again now that the some of the other product categories have shifted to new TweakTown writers. Personally, I miss having the time to develop new tests and work on special projects.

The Seagate 600 SSD is a good SSD for the consumer market, but in RAID the write performance suffers a bit more than we like to see. In our single drive test we observed the sequential write performance dropping down to around 25MB/s after some light random write tests. The LAMD controller is able to increase performance quickly due to aggressive garbage collection, but the lows are just too low and the highs are not high enough.

One way to get around this is to increase the amount of overprovisioning on the drives, just like the enterprise 600 Pro models. At this point we're waiting on price information to see how much of a premium the 600 Pro will run.

The Seagate 600 SSD launched today and we have a lot more coverage to come. Stay tuned!

Update: Newegg just gave us our first glimpse of prices for Seagate's new 600 SSD Series. All pre-order prices are well below $1 per GB, a move that surprised us. If the pre-order prices hold up, then the 600 SSD is a helluva value coming in much less than any other LAMD controlled product on the market, and much lower than Samsung's 840 Pro and OCZ's Vector.

Seagate 600 SSD 240GB RAID Report 777 | TweakTown.com

If we would have known pricing was this low our entire outlook on the drive might have been different. When it comes to mainstream SSD's the Seagate 600 is faster than many of the Team SandForce drives costs about the same. Look for more in our Mainstream SSD Roundup coming right after Computex.

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Chris Ramseyer started his career as a LAN Party organizer in Midwest USA. After working with several computer companies he was asked to join the team at The Adrenaline Vault by fellow Midwest LAN Party legend Sean Aikins. After a series of shake ups at AVault, Chris eventually took over as Editor-in-Chief before leaving to start Real World Entertainment. Look for Chris to bring his unique methods of testing Hard Disk Drives, Solid State Drives as well as RAID controller and NAS boxes to TweakTown as he looks to provide an accurate test bed to make your purchasing decisions easier.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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