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Seagate 600 SSD review: Ultrathin, versatile and fast

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The Good The Seagate 600 SSD offers fast performance and is available in the new ultrathin 5mm thickness.

The Bad The new SSD requires the same power as a regular laptop hard drive, its current estimated cost is comparatively high, and there's no 3.5-inch drive-bay caddy included.

The Bottom Line The Seagate 600 is an impressive first SSD outing from Seagate that offers basically all you want in a solid-state drive.

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8.1 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Support 9

The Seagate 600 SSD is a major addition to the solid-state drive market. The drive is the first consumer-grade SSD to come from Seagate, which, prior to this, offered general consumers only regular platter-based storage solutions.

It's also the first SSD that's available in both 7mm and 5mm designs, making it the most versatile SSD option. The drive can fit in a whole range of applications, from regular desktops to laptops, to many ultrabooks, and possibly some future tablets.

In my testing, the new drive offered very fast performance, proving itself to be a great alternative to even the speediest hard drive, and even faster than many other SSDs on the market.

On the downside, the 600 SSD has the same power consumption as a regular 5,400rpm laptop hard drive and comes with very high suggested retail price of $330 for 240GB (or $600 for 480GB, and $200 for 120GB). As with most new SSDs, though, the actual street price should be much lower when the drive actually ships early next month.

If you can wait until then, the Seagate 600 SSD will surely make an excellent buy. Otherwise, check out the alternatives on this list, which are available now.

The 5mm and 7mm versions of the Seagate 600 SSD.
The 5mm and 7mm versions of the Seagate 600 SSD. Dong Ngo/CNET
Drive type 5mm- or 7mm-thick, 2.5-inch standard internal solid-state drive
Connector options SATA 3 (6Gbps), SATA 2, SATA
Available capacities 120GB, 240GB, 480GB
Product dimensions 2.5-inch standard
Capacity of test unit 480GB
Controller Link A Media Device’s LM87800
Flash memory type
19nm Toshiba 2-bit-per-cell MLC NAND
OSes supported Windows, Mac, Linux

First standard 5mm design
The Seagate 600 SSD uses the standard 2.5-inch laptop design but is available in two thicknesses, 7mm and 5mm. While the 7mm is currently the most popular thickness for SSDs, the 5mm thickness is newer and was first introduced in the WD Blue hard drive. This design is made for ultrathin devices, including ultrabooks and future tablets.

The difference in thickness doesn't affect the drive's capacities or performance. Each of the two thicknesses is available in three capacities -- 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB -- with exactly the same performance ratings. The 240GB and 480GB capacities are able to offer up to 500MBps and 400MBps in sequential reading and writing, respectively. They offer random read and write speeds of up to 80K-IOPS (input/output operations per second) and 70K-IOPS, respectively. The 128GB capacity, however, has a slightly slower write speed rating of 300MBps for sequential writing and up to 60K-IOPS in random writing.

The 7mm version of the Seagate 600 SSD.
The 7mm version of the Seagate 600 SSD. Dong Ngo/CNET

As with all new internal drives, the Seagate 600 SSD supports the latest SATA 3 (6Gbps) and comes with the standard SATA connector. This means the new SSD can be used in any situation where a standard SATA hard drive is used. It doesn't comes with a 3.5-inch drive-bay converter, however, which would make it easier to install in a desktop. This is not a deal-breaker, however, since you can just leave the drive hanging loose inside a computer chassis. Having no moving parts, SSDs don't need to be attached securely to the chassis to work properly. You can also buy a drive-bay caddy from a third party.

On the inside, the new 600 SSD uses Link A Media Device's LM87800 SSD controller, the same controller used in the high-end Corsair Neutron GTX. For storage, the drive uses 19nm Multi-Level Cell NAND flash memory from Toshiba. The drive uses Seagate's firmware, however, and supports the latest "on-the-fly error-correction algorithms." It also supports Native Command Queuing and Data Set Management with TRIM. (Read more about solid-state drives and the TRIM command here.)

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