Last September, Seagate slipped a Nytro server SSD in the channel based on the Phison PS5010-S10 SATA controller. The 256GB drive sold for less than $80 and was an excellent value. Seagate never announced the drive and it wasn't listed on the website. We later learned a Seagate customer ordered thousands of Nytro 141 SSDs to use as a boot drive in servers and didn't take delivery of a few thousand. Seagate stated that less than 5,000 Nytro 141 drives would sell in the channel but a retail consumer drive may come with a similar configuration.
The Seagate Barracuda SSD fits the description. The drive uses a Phison S10 SATA III controller and pairs it with the Toshiba TLC BiCS FLASH (3D NAND memory). The firmware on the Barracuda SSD is two generations newer than our Nytro 141 sent last year to us by Computer Upgrade King (CUK USA), a US-based system builder based in Virginia.
The main difference between the Nytro 141 server boot drive and the consumer-focused Barracuda SSD is the flash. The planar TLC on the Nytro had abysmal, but period correct for planar TLC, endurance. The retail drive increases endurance thanks to new 3D technology but the company chose to retain the same 5-year warranty.
Seagate released the Barracuda SSD in four capacities last month. Sizes range from 250GB to 2TB with the usual stops in the middle. There is very little performance variation between the different capacities. Sequential reads span the series with a 560 MB/s rating. The sequential write performance varies between 530 MB/s to 540 MB/s with the latter rating on the two largest capacity models. Random performance comes to 90,000 IOPS read and write for every Barracuda SSD according to the datasheet.
The drives use a Seagate branded version of the Phison PS5010-S10 controller with a quad-core processor and eight flash channels. The controller first appeared with 19nm Toshiba planar MLC but quickly adapted 15nm MLC and TLC. The Barracuda SSD is the second SSD we've tested using the controller with Toshiba BiCS FLASH 3D TLC memory
Pricing, Warranty, And Endurance
The Seagate Barracuda SSD series starts at just $69.99 for the 250GB model. Prices quickly ramp up as we double capacities to $109.99, $224.99, and finally $449.99 for the large 2TB drive. The endurance rating also scales as quickly as the price with the 250GB giving users 120 terabytes written (TBW) and the 500GB moving to 249 TWB. The 1TB and 2TB allow for 485 and 1067 TBW.
All capacities include a 5-year limited warranty through Seagate. The company doesn't offer a software suite with this SSD series.
A Closer Look
Seagate chose a metal case for this series. The drive uses an attractive design that will work in any PC regardless of your color and LED light pattern.
Inside we found a basic Phison reference design with a tilted controller to reduce trace length to the flash and a Nanya DDR3L DRAM package. Larger capacity drives utilize both sides of the circuit board, but the 250GB model stuffs the components on one side.
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