The Seagate FireCuda 530 is currently the fastest NVMe SSD on the market. It not only bested the best of the rest in our real-world and synthetic benchmarks, but did so by a healthy margin in several tests. If you can afford it and you can find it, you won’t regret buying it.
DESIGN AND SPECS
The FireCuda 530 is a 2280 (22mm wide, 80mm long), PCIe 4 x4, NVMe SSD. Seagate, like many other vendors these days, is loath to reveal the fine details of its SSDs, so we’ve taken to stripping off the labels and reading the chip numbers. The 2TB model I tested has 2GB of SK Hynix DDR4 primary cache. It uses a Phison PS6108 controller, and it stores bits on 176-layer 3D Micron TLC (Triple-Level Cell/3-bit) NAND. Good stuff.
Alas, an SSD as fast as the FireCuda 530 is going to be expensive, but the bigger problem at the time of this review was availability: It was sold out in all capacities at all major online retailers, including Best Buy (go.pcworld.com/ sgbb) and Amazon (go.pcworld.com/sg2t). A Seagate representative said the company expected the drives to resurface later in August. Based on the prices shown on Newegg.com, you’ll pay $160 for 500GB (go.pcworld.com/ sg50), $260 for 1TB (go.pcworld.com/sg1t); $540 for the 2TB capacity we tested (go. pcworld.com/sg2t), and a cool $1,000 for 4TB (go.pcworld.com/sg4t). Newegg’s product pages estimate availability by August 30. For some reason, the models with a preinstalled heat sink carry a rather large upcharge. Get your own for less than $15.
The 2TB and 4TB drives are double-sided, while the 512GB and 1TB capacities are single-sided. This is a possible consideration if your laptop is super thin.
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