Seagate’s go-much-faster-FireCuda 520 gaming SSD uses PCIe Gen 4

Seagate has upgraded the bus on its FireCuda 510 gaming SSD to make the FireCuda 520 drive. It is up to 45 per cent faster.

The M.2 format double-sided drives use 64-layer 3D NAND organised into TLC mode. The 510 uses the PCIe Gen 3 bus with 4 lanes while the 520 has the latest PCIe Gen 4 bus, again with 4 lanes. 

The speed boost is impressive. At the 2TB capacity level, the 510’s maximum 620,000/600,000 random read/write IOPS numbers change to the 520’s 750,000/700,000 equivalents.

FireCuda 520 M.2 SSD.

With sequential read/write bandwidth the 510 provides a maximum of 3.45GB/sec and 3.2GB.sec reads and writes. The 520 blows it away with 5GB/sec reads, 45 per cent faster, and 4.4GB/sec writes.

The 510 used a Phison E12 controller whereas the 520 is fitted with an E16 controller, which launched in July. Seagate said it is aligned with AMD X570 chipset motherboards. 

The 520 is plug-and-play compatible with all PCIe Gen 4 motherboards and comes in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB variants. It has SeaTools software to track health, performance, and firmware status.

FireCuda Gaming Dock showing drives.

Seagate has also announced a FireCuda Gaming Dock which contains a 4TB 3.5-inch hard disk drive and an NVMe M.2 expansion slot for an optional SSD upgrade, such as the FireCuda 520.

That can add both storage capacity and speed to a gaming laptop system. But, with 16TB disk drives now available, 4TB doesn’t look like a lot of capacity.

FireCuda Gaming Dock and lighting effect

The dock has vivid coloured lighting effects and connects to a host system using Thunderbolt 3. It comes with a Thunderbolt 3 accessory port, DisplayPort 1.4, RJ45 Ethernet network port, a 3.5mm audio-in/mic port, 3.5mm audio-out port, four USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, and a USB 3.1 Gen2 charge port.

Read a FireCuda 520 datasheet here and a Seagate blog about the drive and gaming dock here.

We can expect commercial servers, storage array controllers, consumer, and prosumer PCs and notebooks to start adopting PCIe Gen 4 broadly in 2020.

The FireCuda 520 retails for $124.99 (500GB), $249.99 (1TB), and $429.99 (2TB). The FireCuda Gaming Dock will be available later this month for $349.99.

UK pricing for the 520 is; 500GB: £125.90, 1TB: £ 234.90, 2TB: £409.00, and gaming dock £379.99.