Seagate 600 SSD review: Ultrathin, versatile and fast

According to Seagate, the 600 SSD can be used exactly the same way as any Seagate 2.5-inch standard hard drive, but it should be used with Windows 7 (SP1) or Windows 8 to ensure the proper use of the TRIM functionality. In my trials, the drive also worked with Linux and Mac OSes. It's unclear how well TRIM is supported on a Mac, however.

Hard-drive-like power consumption
The new 600 SSD consumes about the same amount of power as a regular 5,400rpm hard drive. It requires about 950mA on startup and about 4W maximum power during operation and about 1W when idle.

For a desktop this is not a big deal at all, but for a portable system, this won't help with battery life. To be fair, the 600 SSD still uses much less energy than other SSDs on the market, though it's also significantly less energy-efficient than those from Intel, OCZ, and especially Samsung. The Samsung 830 series, for example, uses just 0.24W during operation and 0.14W when idle; the Samsung 840 series uses even less.

The ultra-thin 5mm version of the Seagate 600 SSD.
The ultrathin 5mm version of the Seagate 600 SSD. Dong Ngo/CNET

"Competitively priced"
The Seagate 600 SSD comes with very high suggested retail price of around $200 for 120GB, $330 for 240GB, and $600 for 480GB. Seagate assures me that when the drive starts shipping, its street price will be very "competitive." Considering most SSDs now cost around $1 per gigabyte, you might expect the 600 SSD to cost about the same.

Performance
I tested both the 5mm and 7mm versions of the 480GB Seagate 600 SSD, and the two versions offered the same performance, which is very good.

As a secondary drive, the Seagate 600 SSD offered the real-world sustained write speed of 259MBps, which is above average among all SATA 3 SSDs. In the reading test, it did better with 275MBps, ranking it second fastest just after the 278MBps of the OCZ Vector.

When used as the main drive that hosts the operating system and performing both writing and reading at the same time, the Seagate 600 SSD offered the sustained speed of 137MBps.

The drive markedly helped improve the overall performance of the computer. The test system took just about 11 seconds to boot up and about 5 seconds to shut down, much faster than when it used a hard drive as its main storage. The computer also awoke from sleep mode instantly. Applications are loaded much more quickly. Compared with other high-end SSDs, however, the Seagate 600 SSD was about the same. Since SSDs are generally very fast compared with standard hard drives, it's hard to quantify the difference between them when it comes to the overall performance of a computer.

One thing I noted about the Seagate 600 SSD is that in some ways it behaved very similarly to a standard hard drive. For example, it takes about the same time to be formatted as a hard drive. Most other SSDs generally took a little longer to be quick-formatted.

CNET Labs' Boot/Shutdown Scores
(In seconds; shorter bars indicate better performance)
Shutdown  
Boot time  
Seagate 600 SSD
5 
10 
Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme
4.81 
10 
Samsung 840 Pro
5.21 
10 
Corsair Neutron GTX
5.28 
10 
Transcend SSD720
5 
11 
Samsung 840 series
6.09 
11 
Plextor M5 Pro
6.21 
11.1 
SanDisk Ultra Plus
5.4 
11.2 
OCZ Vector
4.95 
13 
CNET Labs' Data transfer scores
(In Mbps; longer bars indicate better performance)
As secondary drive (read only)  
As secondary drive (write only)  
As OS drive (read and write)  
OCZ Vector
277.84 
286.77 
173.78 
Seagate 600 SSD
275.21 
259.01 
136.78 
Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme
270.8 
269.78 
168.43 
Transcend SSD720
269.55 
230.58 
109.23 
Corsair Neutron GTX
268.32 
273.62 
161.38 
Samsung 840 Pro
265.56 
256.63 
168.18 
Plextor M5 Pro
260.32 
251.19 
155.65 
SanDisk Ultra Plus
227.27 
167.55 
107.36 

Conclusion
Seagate is one of the largest storage vendors, and the release of the 600 SSD signifies that solid-state storage has become a mainstream alternative to regular hard drives. A little late to the solid-state game, Seagate has done a good job nonetheless with the 600 SSD, which has proven to be a fast and versatile internal storage device.

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Where to Buy See All

Seagate 600 SSD (120GB, 5mm)

Part Number: ST120HM001 Released: May. 7, 2013
Low Price: $251.17 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date May. 7, 2013
  • Form Factor 2.5" SFF
  • Hard Drive Type internal hard drive
  • Capacity 120 GB
About The Author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews networking and storage products, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.