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Seagate Desktop SSHD 4TB Review - Big Hybrid, Little Cache

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Seagate
Tagged: sshd, Seagate, hybrid, 4TB

Internals, Testing Methodology and System Setup

Internals:

A look at the rear of the PCB prior to removal reveals, well, not much.

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...but once we flip it over, we see the goodies:

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This is the usual fare for a Seagate SSHD, though it appears the cache is the same 8GB used in prior (much smaller capacity) models. This may become an issue when we throw more desktop style workloads at it, but we shall see.

Testing Methodology

Since hybrid caching changes performance dynamically as data is cached and purged, we will focus on the caching performance through repeated trace testing (PCMark) and the timing of system boot process. These tests give the best overall feel for how these drives will accelerate performance in the real world. Synthetic benches like IOMeter only test the HDD performance when they are run on a very smart portion of the drive, which is a bit too synthetic to be considered a real world application.

We will also do some sequential tests involving intermixed boots and game launches to see just how well such a small cache can keep up with loading different types of data.

Test System Setup

Test beds for this piece are a mix of old and new, as the original SRT / SSHD data was obtained on an older test bed.

PC Perspective would like to thank ASUS, Corsair, and Kingston for supplying some of the components of our test rigs. 

 
Hard Drive Test System Setup
CPU Intel Core i5-2500K / Intel Core i7-4770K
Motherboard Asus P8Z68-V Pro / ASUS Z87-PRO
Memory Kingston HyperX 4GB DDR3-2133 CL9
Hard Drive G.Skill 32GB SLC SSD
Sound Card N/A
Video Card Intel® HD Graphics 3000 / Intel® HD Graphics 4600
Video Drivers Intel
Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-650TX
DirectX Version DX9.0c
Operating System Windows 7 X64 / Windows 8.1 X64
 
June 18, 2014 | 08:05 PM - Posted by br0 (not verified)

Would be good to see the drive performance after the whole of the flash cache has died and to see how long the flash lasts.

June 19, 2014 | 10:12 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Even though it is small, the cache will very likely outlast the mechanical portion of the drive.

June 18, 2014 | 11:29 PM - Posted by ICE (not verified)

Can i use Intel's SRT with a RAID array? One Samsung 840 pro for the OS and two WD RED in RAID 1 with a cheap 64GB SSD for caching for the array.

June 19, 2014 | 10:11 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

I haven't tested that specific config, but I believe you can use SRT caching on a RAIDed pair.

June 19, 2014 | 06:25 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Just bought two 5TB drives for $189 each. Doesn't seem that the performance gain is worth the loss of capacity.

June 19, 2014 | 01:25 PM - Posted by NeonShark (not verified)

Hi,
What 5TB drives did you get? and where did you purchase them? That price sounds really good, I'm looking to put in a couple bigger drives in my rig that I can run in Raid.
Thanks.

Mark

June 30, 2014 | 04:40 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Just bought a third. 32TB and three bays left...

Amazon - STBV5000100. Get some guitar picks to open the external enclosure without scratching it, takes like 1-3 minutes, plug into computer, convert to GPT, format, done. I still don't know why the external hard drives are so much cheaper than the internal drives. Loss leader? Inferior components?

June 19, 2014 | 06:55 AM - Posted by funandjam

It seems to me that these kinds of drives are best used as the drive for your OS and not used for games and files and such. I have one of the 750gb models and it used to be my only drive. When comparing bootup times between it and our other pc with a regular spindle drive, it was a good bitfaster.
But for games? Unless you play the same 2 or 3 games over and over again, the amount of flash memory on it just doesn't make a difference. I really think that with the prices of flash memory falling that seagate should have put more on these kinds of drives, at least doubled it to 16gb.

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