Seagate FireCuda 530 2TB m.2 nVME SSD Review – Fast and Perfect for Games

 

 
Overview
 

Release Date: Out Now
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/5


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Positives


-Blistering fast speeds on PC make it excellent for games or creative/production work
-Appreciated data recovery services included with Seagate's warranty
-Compatible with PS5 if you get the heatsink version, or chuck one on yourself

Negatives


-You better have had a decent tax return this year if you want to afford the 530 in higher capacities


Posted October 16, 2021 by

 
Full Article
 
 

Seagate’s FireCuda line-up explicitly targets peak gaming performance, with a range of both SSDs and spinning HDDs  in the range that target blistering quick speeds. Headlining the range are the new FireCuda 530 m.2 nVME SSD drives, coming in two flavours with or without an in-built heatsink. Their high performance comes with a high price tag, with the largest 4TB capacity running north of AU $1,500. If you’ve got the cash to splash, however, they’re excellent drives for both gaming and content creation.

The FireCuda 530’s specs across the range include use the PCIe Gen4 ×4 NVMe 1.4 interface with M.2 2280-D2 form factor, and feature 3D TLC NAND Flash Memory, along with a Seagate-validated E18 controller. The drives come in four sizes 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB and 4TB. Prices will vary depending on supply and your PC parts store of choice, but going off RRP, prices (in AU$) are 500GB $199 | 1TB $349 | 2TB $729 | 4TB $1,429. With the heatsink, you’re looking at 500GB $239 | 1TB $399 | 2TB $819 | 4TB $1,499.

It should be said that the the heatsink models are compatible, out of the box, with the PlayStation 5’s recently patched-in support for expandable memory, which make them a relatively simple solution for those who want extra storage right away. If you know what you’re doing, you could get away with purchasing your own heatsink and settling it on top, of course it’ll be up to you to make sure it clears the strict space requirements inside the PS5 console.

Of course, if you have a recent motherboard there’s every chance it’ll already have its own heatsink that can fit over a standard FireCuda 530, as is the case with our MSI MAG X570 Tomahawk WiFi, which we used for testing. The short description for the FireCuda 530’s speeds is – wow. We’re only starting to dip our toes into reviewing PC hardware and components on this site, so we don’t have a large pool of previous reviews to compare the FireCuda’s 530 performance to, but it’s still far-and-away faster than anything we’ve ever used before.

Seagate boast speeds of up to 7,300 MB/s Sequential Read and 6,900 MB/s Sequential Write on each of the drives. We reviewed a 2 TB unit without its own heatsink, which handily tripled the Sequential Read speed of our usual Samsung 970 Plus nVME SSD, which clocks in at 2373 MB/s, and 1407 MB/s Sequential Write. It’s worth noting that the 500GB model of the FireCuda 530 halves the Sequential Write speed on the drive, providing only 3000 MB/s and a slightly lower 7,000 MB/s Sequential Read.

Other significant improvements over the old 520 line include Seagate’s rating for 5,100 TBW (Terabytes Written) over the past 2,550 TBW on the 4TB model, which means that the new 530 lineup has potentially a significantly longer lifespan in your system. Lower capacities have lower ratings, with 2,550 TBW for 2TB, 1,275 TBW for 1TB and 640 TBW for 500GB. Seagate certainly seem confident, given they include 5 years warranty with each capacity, as well as 3 years of their ‘Rescue Data Recovery’ service, which they claim has a “95% success rate for in-house SSD and HDD data recovery.” It’s certainly nice peace of mind to have, if you decide to use one of the larger capacity drives for storing important work.

In simpler terms, with regards to games, what all this translates to is exceptionally fast load times on resource-intensive games. If you’re still playing Cyberpunk 2077 this year, load times on our save files were reduced to around 5-8 seconds to get into Night City. Grand Theft Auto V boots into the city in about 30 seconds, and A Total War Saga: Troy only takes 15, and the same for Star Wars Squadrons.

The FireCuda 530’s speed also makes it ideal for content creators and video editors who frequently deal with large files and folders for work. Transferring a 120GB video file to the FireCuda 530 took just over a minute, with around 1.8 GB/s a transfer speeds from our other internal SSD. If you’re using external SSDs to capture vision and transfer them to your desktop for work, then the FireCuda 530 is an ideal tool for your editing workstation, with speeds essentially only limited by your USB-C card.

The FireCuda 530 line is top of the range when it comes to nVME SSD speeds, although you’ll only get the very top performance from the larger (and more expensive) 2TB and 4TB models. If you’re building an expensive gaming rig and have money to spare, then there’s definitely a marked decrease in loading times you’ll get out of the FireCuda 530, and how much that’s worth is up to you to decide. We’re keen to get our hands on the Heatsink-included version to see how the drive performs in a PlayStation 5, but the fact that its directly compatible and comparable to the PS5’s own internal super speeds is also quite an endorsement. At the same time, if you work with large video, audio or design files day-in and day-out and need a much quicker drive to access (especially noticeable in video applications like Premiere), the FireCuda 530 series also fits the bill there.


Adam Ghiggino

 
Owner, Executive Editor of Rocket Chainsaw. I also edit TV, films and make average pancakes.