The gaming segment continues to experience rapid growth in the PC market, and we have seen PC component vendors come  up with launch events specifically targeting gamers. Seagate's inaugural Virtual Gaming Event (SG21) is the latest in this list, and the company is announcing its latest flagship SSD - the FireCuda 530 at this event. With its PCIe 4.0 x4 interface, there is a significant jump in sequential access speeds (reads up to 7300 MBps). This has has an ideal target market in the gaming segment, with the fast load times making a visible difference in the user experience.

The drives in Seagate's FireCuda SSD series have typically been based on Phison controllers using custom firmware (with the company's preferred term being 'Seagate-validated'), and the FireCuda 530 is no different. It is based on Phison's PS5018-E18 using the latest 3D TLC NAND (Micron's B47R 176L). A number of E18-based SSDs have hit the market over the 6 months, and we also reviewed the Inland Performance Plus a few weeks back. It was held back a bit by the use of 96L 3D TLC - an aspect that should be addressed by the latest 176-layer NAND.

Similar to other flagship M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSDs, the FireCuda 530 also comes with a heatsink option. Unlike the ridged designs common for this application, Seagate has gone in for a minimalist option designed by EKWB - a finely-textured aluminum block weighing more than the usual finned heatsinks, while still retaining a slim profile for wide compatibility.

Seagate FireCuda 530 SSD Specifications
Capacity 500 GB 1 TB 2 TB 4 TB
Controller Phison PS5018-E18 (PCIe 4.0 x4)
NAND Flash 176L 3D TLC NAND (Micron B47R)
Form-Factor, Interface Single-Sided M.2-2280, PCIe 4.0 x4, NVMe 1.4 Double-Sided M.2-2280, PCIe 4.0 x4, NVMe 1.4
Sequential Read 7000 MB/s 7300 MB/s
Sequential Write 3000 MB/s 6000 MB/s 6900 MB/s
Random Read IOPS 400K 800K 1M
Random Write IOPS 700K 1M
Pseudo-SLC Caching Supported
TCG Opal Encryption No
Warranty 5 years (with 3 year DRS)
Write Endurance 640 TB
0.7 DWPD
1275 TB
0.7 DWPD
2550 TB
0.7 DWPD
5100 TB
0.7 DWPD
MSRP (non-heatsink) $140 (25¢/GB) $240 (25¢/GB) $490 (21¢/GB) $950 (21¢/GB)

While the FireCuda 520 came with 1 DWPD ratings, Seagate has returned to conservative roots with the consumer-standard 0.7 DWPD for the write endurance of the FireCuda 530 SSDs. The heatsink is optional, since most new motherboards are providing their own M.2 cooling solution. It does add a $50 premium to the barebones version. In addition to the 5-year warranty, Seagate also includes a 3-year Rescue Data Recovery Service plan with the SSD.

Pricing is par for the course with other E18 SSDs, and the added DRS tends to pull up the value for money aspect in the high-end space. Seagate also appears to be one of the very few vendors with a 512GB option in this performance class (E18-based SSDs). This is understandable, as the amount of parallelism available in 512GB-class drives is not high enough to sustain the link bandwidth for sequential writes (The 512GB SKU tops out at 3GBps, while the 2TB and 4TB ones reach up to 6.9GBps). On the power consumption front, the average active power ranges from 5.8W for the 500GB SKU to 8.4W for the 4TB one.

Overall, the product appears to check all the right boxes for gamers and content creators looking to purchase a new PCIe 4.0 SSD this summer.

Source: Seagate

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  • willis936 - Wednesday, June 23, 2021 - link

    This looks like a great product. I wish this line (or really any consumer line, really) came with PLP.
  • Wereweeb - Wednesday, June 23, 2021 - link

    That could lead some enterprise folk to risk buying it.

    SSD vendors don't want that, they want neatly segmented product lines so they can make bank off enterprise consumers who are willing to pay more for a fully featured SSD.
  • Mikewind Dale - Wednesday, June 23, 2021 - link

    I also wish consumer SSDs came with power-loss protection. But I wonder, how necessary is PLP if one has a UPS?
  • Samus - Thursday, June 24, 2021 - link

    I've seen indirection tables corrupted in laptops that lost power and sometimes its difficult to recover the drive (most of the time chkdsk will get things back up and running.) Even a BSOD at the wrong time can trash a drive because NVMe SSD's use system ram as their cache, though it's not clear if PLP would aid this during a kernel stop error.

    This wasn't as much of a problem with SATA HDD's and even SSD's because not only did they have tiny caches, but most of the time they were just read caches...write caches were software managed by Windows (or whatever OS you had) and that is not the case with drives now transferring 7GB\sec
  • back2future - Friday, June 25, 2021 - link

    that's about 10-24TB/h or 2.5-8.5 days towards write endurance number, if there's no bandwidth limit controlled by OS or hardware
  • Lord of the Bored - Wednesday, June 23, 2021 - link

    Wait... exactly how useful is a heatsink with no fins, anyways? This seems like a poor cooling design unless I'm missing something important.
  • meacupla - Wednesday, June 23, 2021 - link

    SSD controllers and RAM like to run cool, but flash memory likes to run hot.

    due to various factors, like GPU proximity to SSD, and not running at full speed all the time, it turns out a heat sponge is perfectly fine for consumer grade SSDs.
  • Samus - Thursday, June 24, 2021 - link

    Exactly. It's somewhat similar to how they use engine coolant to heat up the oil in modern vehicles with oil "coolers" which are actually oil "warmers" to get oil hot as quickly as possible where it is most effective. It takes longer to heat oil than water\antifreeze because oil has a higher viscosity and more thermal density, so it will always warm up slower than coolant.

    Not a perfect analogy but the idea is to spread the heat out as a balancing act because some things prefer to be hot.
  • Exodite - Thursday, June 24, 2021 - link


    Now they just need to shift prices one step to the right and they might have an actually interesting product on their hands.
  • shabby - Thursday, June 24, 2021 - link

    These are mlc prices 😂

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