Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review

Seagate adds a new offering to its extensive Gen4 SSD portfolio. The IronWolf 525 is a mid-range Gen4 SSD for PC and NAS.

@JonCoulterSSD
Published Tue, Sep 21 2021 10:00 AM CDT
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: Seagate (ZP2000NM30002)

Introduction & Drive Details

Seagate sees its new IronWolf 525 SSDs as the ideal fit for those who want the advantages Gen4 SSDs bring to the table over Gen3 but don't necessarily need an expensive hyper-class SSD. The IronWolf 525 series offers sequential throughput of up to 5 GHz, class-leading reliability, and high endurance. Seagate feels that its newest Gen4 SSD offers best-in-class TCO backing it with a 5-year limited warranty and industry-leading rescue data recovery services that are included as complimentary for three years.

The IronWolf 525 series is again a Phison/Seagate collaboration. The drive is most similar to Seagate's own FireCuda 520 series in that it features a Seagate enhanced Phison E16 Gen4 x4 controller in front of a Kioxia BiCS 4 flash array. So, what does Seagate enhanced mean? Take the firmware, for example. It's not your standard Phison E16 firmware. The IronWolf 525, like other Seagate/Phison collaborations, runs on firmware and embedded software exclusive to Seagate.

One such exclusive embedded software application is what Seagate calls IronWolf Health Management or IHM. IHM analyses certain critical drive health parameters over time and notifies the end-user of potential problems and remedial actions to reduce the chance of data loss. In short, Seagate's new IronWolf 525 Series offers enhanced performance, endurance, compatibility, and reliability measures make it a sound overall choice for PC and NAS applications. Now let's see what the numbers have to say.

Drive Details

Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 01 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 32 IMAGES
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 02 | TweakTown.com
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 03 | TweakTown.comSeagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 04 | TweakTown.com
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 05 | TweakTown.comSeagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 06 | TweakTown.com

Jon's Test System Specifications

Buy at Amazon

Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$369.99$369.99$369.99
* Prices last scanned on 10/17/2021 at 9:19 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, Anvil, ATTO

CrystalDiskMark

Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 07 | TweakTown.com
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 08 | TweakTown.com
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 09 | TweakTown.com
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 10 | TweakTown.com
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 11 | TweakTown.com

CDM reveals stated factory sequential specs to be spot on at 5000/4400 read/write. 4K QD1 random performance looks quite nice as well, especially when programming data to the drive's pseudo-SLC cache.

Anvil's Storage Utilities

Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 12 | TweakTown.com
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 13 | TweakTown.com
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 14 | TweakTown.com
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 15 | TweakTown.com

Gen4 speeds add up to a nice total read score that nearly matches that of its smaller cousin, the FireCuda 520 1TB. Its scoring here exceeds that of any Gen3 SSD we've included on our chart. Excellent. Additionally, we note the IronWolf can deliver high QD random read performance that even exceeds that of E18 SSDs with 96L Micron flash. Impressive.

ATTO

Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 16 | TweakTown.com
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 17 | TweakTown.com
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 18 | TweakTown.com

Sequential speeds at QD4 128K show the 2TB IronWolf 525 can, in certain scenarios, deliver performance that exceeds that of a whole host of SSDs we consider Hyper-Class and even TweakTown Elite.

Real-World Testing: Transfers, Gaming, PCM10

Transfer Rates

Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 19 | TweakTown.com
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 20 | TweakTown.com

The IronWolf 525 2TB digests our 100GB data transfer at 1,000 MB/s. This is better than anything Gen3 and flash-based we've tested, showing you a real-world advantage even mid-range Gen4 SSDs have over Gen3.

Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 21 | TweakTown.com
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 22 | TweakTown.com

More of the same when serving data to the host. Gen4 has its advantages. Here we see the IronWolf essentially delivering the same performance as its close cousin, the FireCuda 520 1TB.

Game Level Loading

Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 23 | TweakTown.com
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 24 | TweakTown.com

Gaming is a performance metric that matters to the majority of DIY consumers, especially to the enthusiast crowd that TweakTown caters to. E16 based SSDs have never been known for their gaming prowess, as demonstrated by this result. The E16 based FireCuda 520 does a bit better, but that's because E16 based SSDs are faster at 1TB than they are at 2TB.

PCM10 Storage Tests

PCMark 10 Storage Test is the most advanced and most accurate real-world consumer storage test ever made. There are four different tests you can choose from; we run two of them.

The Full System Drive Benchmark and the Quick System Drive Benchmark. The Full System Drive Benchmark writes 204 GB of data over the duration of the test. The Quick System Drive Benchmark writes 23 GB of data over the duration of the test. These tests directly correlate with mainstream user experience.

PCMark 10 Full System Drive Benchmark

Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 25 | TweakTown.com
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 26 | TweakTown.com
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 27 | TweakTown.com

This particular test writes over 204GB data and covers a broad range of common consumer tasks, including booting Windows 10, file transfers, Adobe and Office applications, and startup times for games including Battlefield V, COD Black Ops 4, and Overwatch. Unlike synthetic numbers, this is comprehensive real-world data which is why we use it to rank SSDs in terms of user experience.

The IronWolf 525 delivers as expected for what it is. Again, at 2TB, it cannot quite deliver the goods as well as its 1TB E16 powered brethren.

PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark

Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 28 | TweakTown.com
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 29 | TweakTown.com
Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 30 | TweakTown.com

Now, this looks great. The 2TB IronWolf 525 excels at moderate consumer workloads. In fact, here is another example where E16 SSDs can outperform E18 based SSDs with 96L micron flash arrays. Really exceptional performance, nearly as good as Samsung's flagship 980 Pro running in full power mode. Performance where it matters. Performance that's better than Gen3 has to offer. Impressive.

Final Thoughts

Seagate's IronWolf 525 is what we would consider a superior mid-range offering. The drive offers throughput of up to 5,000 MB/s and, as we saw from our results, can deliver real-world performance that exceeds what any Gen3 SSD can do. Additionally, and as previously mentioned, the IronWolf is Seagate enhanced for increased reliability over similarly configured competitors. The drive's three-year free data recovery coverage is something we've only seen from Seagate enhanced SSDs.

Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 31 | TweakTown.com

We rank SSDs in terms of overall user experience (performance where it matters most) as expressed by PCMark 10 storage tests. We consider a user experience score of over 7K to verify an SSD as TweakTown Elite. The IronWolf 525 is a mid-range offering and had no chance of becoming TweakTown Elite. However, as we measure overall user experience, the IronWolf can deliver the goods better than a whole host of 7,000 MB/s capable SSDs. Performance that matters.

Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB SSD Review 32 | TweakTown.com

For those looking for a bit more than PCIe Gen3 can give, the IronWolf 525 deserves a close look. It has shown itself capable of running with Hyper-Class SSDs when running moderate consumer workloads. That's impressive enough to earn Seagate's newest Gen4 offering a TweakTown award and recommendation.

Pros

  • Moderate Workloads
  • Endurance
  • Enhanced Reliability

Cons

  • Heavy Workloads
Buy at Amazon

Performance

85%

Quality

93%

Features

98%

Value

85%

Overall

90%

The Bottom Line

High endurance and Gen4 speeds make the IronWolf 525 worth a close look.

TweakTown award
90%

Seagate IronWolf 525 2TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$369.99$369.99$369.99
* Prices last scanned on 10/17/2021 at 9:19 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Jon joined the TweakTown team in 2013 and has since reviewed 100s of new storage products. Jon became a computer enthusiast when Windows XP launched. He was into water cooling and benching ATI video cards with modded drivers. Jon has been building computers for others for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

Newsletter Subscription
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.
Newsletter Subscription
Latest News
View More News
Latest Reviews
View More Reviews
Latest Articles
View More Articles