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Seagate Desktop SSHD ST4000DX001 4TB 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Solid State Hybrid Drive Bare Drive

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  • Backed by a 3-year limited warranty
  • Solid state speed for fast, responsive system performance
  • Innovative use of solid state memory delivers affordable performance and capacity
  • NAND Flash and HDD technology

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  • Specifications
  • Warranty & Returns
  • Reviews

Learn more about the Seagate ST4000DX001

Warranty, Returns, And Additional Information
4/ 5
Good, but not...

Pros: Seems reliable (had mine for about 2 years now)
Gets faster if you have repeat launches in the same boot
The price I was able to get it at was amazing for a 4TB

Cons: A little loud (could be my case type and position isn't helping)
Not quite as fast as an SSD
I don't think you can actually find this anymore at a decent price (outdated)

Other Thoughts: If you can get this for about the price of a 7200 RPM 4TB buy it immediately, but seeing as how its been "replaced" by a newer model (that I haven't found for more than 2 TB) it seems less and less likely.

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1/ 5
died outside of warranty

Pros: some things were fast

Cons: 4 of them and all 4 are dead now, the Seagate warranty checker tells all. I can say these were expensive and 100% junk. slow spindle speed, not everything is cached and you can't tell it what to cache and what to NEVER cache. waste of money

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Ownership: more than 1 year
Verified Owner
3/ 5
Bad write speeds

Pros: The drive has been reliable and is fast enough for archival.

Cons: Copying anything to this drive is a catastrophe. After the 64GB of SSD fills up almost immediately, writes drop to anywhere down to 30MB/s. Seriously, I own faster CF and SD cards than this thing. There's no real control of how the SSD portion is used, it would be nice to be able to just put specific programs in it, but whatever. Price wasn't bad for 4GB and it stores my photos.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you?
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4/ 5
Good Value and Good Speed for a HDD, but SSD Performance? Not So Much.

Pros: This product does offer a measurable performance advantage over conventional spinning disks, as claimed. But your mileage will vary depending on what you actually do with the drive. This is a unique product that gives you a very small solid state disk (SSD) and a very large conventional hard disk drive (HDD) bundled together, which the computer sees as one drive. Trick firmware allocates which files go on which for you, automatically. If you only need SSD speeds for a very small proportion of your files, this could be a best-of-both-worlds arrangement.

Physically, the drive is about what you’d expect from a contemporary spinning-disk hard drive. Dimensions are identical to any other 3.5" hard drive you have owned. Acoustic properties are very good, with no noticeable no buzzing, whining, or clicking on long sequential writes. Thermal properties are par for the course. I threw 1.5tb of data on it in a 3-hour sequential write with the drive in a “toaster” style drive dock (exposed to ambient air, no fans) and recorded 103ºF max surface temperature after an hour in comfy 63º ambient conditions. One hour later, no change. So far so good.

Cons: This product suffers from confusing, even skirting disingenuous, marketing. You really need to read to figure out what exactly is being sold here. This product is a 4tb conventional spinning hard drive (HDD) with a 8gb NAND solid state flash storage device integrated into it. If the data you seek to access is stored on the HDD, it is accessed at speeds you would expect for a decent-quality 7200 RPM hard drive, including spin-up and seek time. If the data is stored on the SSD portion of this product, it is accessed at speeds you would expect for a NAND flash device (i.e. stupid-fast). The question that will immediately come to mind for potential buyers is “how often can I expect SSD speed versus HD speed?” This is a critical question, as the NAND flash represents a mere 0.2% of the total storage offered by the device. Seagate explains that "a set of advanced algorithms” running within the drive’s firmware handles the allocation of files between the two storage devices. Essentially what is happening here is that the drive is keeping a running tally of what files are popular, and keeping those files in the flash memory. The flash acts like a gigantic cache for your "greatest hits" files. The rest of the drive is no faster than a conventional 7200 RPM drive, which most certainly does not “perform like an SSD,” as Seagate suggests in the product feature list. If you are expecting 4tb of storage that offers SSD speeds, you will be disappointed, because that is not what this product provides. While it very well may offer accelerated boot times if you use it as your system drive, this drive cannot pull off other tricks that people expect of solid state drives, like the ability to play back large video files. 4k footage of any variety is a no-go. 2k doesn’t make the cut, either, and nor does 1080p24 at 16-bit (4:4:4). In fact, you need to drop all the way down to 1080p24 10-bit (4:2:2) footage to find an uncompressed video format that this drive can play back in real time. In this regard, it’s comparable with other high-end HDD’s, and is not even playing in the same league as SSD’s.

Other Thoughts: Of course, a 4tb SSD doesn't even exist as of this writing, and SSD storage costs around $0.33/gigabyte, whereas this product is over 4tb formatted and offers this massive storage at a tenth of that cost. I would speculate that the scenario Seagate engineers had in mind for this product was a single do-all drive for a home user, in which the drive is hosting 100% of the user’s data, including the OS. Thus the OS would invariably land on the NAND flash, giving the user SSD-like boot speeds, and perhaps improved commonly-used application launch speeds as well. In this case, this unusual configuration of a tiny SSD and a big HDD would represent an ideal storage solution. In other use cases, this drive falls short. I formatted it Mac OS Extended with a GUID partition table (the drive arrived unformatted) and installed it in my video post-production workstation. My use scenario involved using it as a bulk storage drive for project files, while my operating system and scratch space were each allocated to separate true SSD’s. I replaced a Western Digital 2tb “Black” (WD2002FAEX) drive with this one. Using the BlackMagic Design disk speed test tool, the WD drive topped out at a sustained write of 116.5 mbps and read of 118.3 mbps. The Seagate swung 135.8 mbps read and 135.3 mbps write on this same test. So, this drive is no slouch, but it sure as heck isn’t a SSD. The cheapest “bargain-brand” SSD I have ever tested nailed 227.2 read on this same test, whereas my primary drive, an admittedly quite expensive OWC Mercury Elite, delivers what I paid for: a staggering 497 mbps write and 515.2 mbps read.

With the drive loaded with data but still brand-new, I ran the Blackmagic speed test repeatedly in an effort to get the firmware to allocate it to the NAND flash portion of the drive and get a sense for what this product might offer at its fastest. It did in fact get faster, getting up to 155.8 mpbs read and 156.1 mbps write. This is the fastest I have ever seen single 7,200 RPM HDD go. But it is still nowhere near SSD speeds, nor speeds that can be achieved by two conventional HDD's in a RAID 0 configuration.

Qualitative real-world use over the course of a week does show a fast, responsive product by the standards of a 7,200 RPM HDD. It is noticeably quieter than the WD drive it replaced, but there is no perceptible speed change. Annoyances like latency introduced by needing to spin up the drive when you hit an “open” dialog in a program are still present.

The long and short of it is that if you have a VERY minimally data-intensive workflow but still need massive storage (think family email and web browsing box that also hosts a big pile of media) , and intend to make this your one and only drive, it may represent a very good value to you. It will deliver better-than-HDD speeds overall, and provide massive, inexpensive storage in one convenient package. For users on small form factor machines that can only accommodate one drive, this product might be a uniquely appealing option. But most users will find that the 8gb of flash memory included here is wildly inadequate to provide anything resembling SSD performance. I’m not sure why Seagate decided that 8gb of NAND flash was satisfactory in an age when everyday apps like iTunes weigh in a 300mb. 8gb is far inadequate for most modern operating systems as well, so while I don't doubt that boot times are improved, I question the claim that boot times are in any way SSD-like.

Bottom line: this product offers great speed for a conventional hard drive, and is a really nice value, but it doesn’t even begin to perform like a true SSD.

I would add to this conversation that I have had checkered experience with Seagate hard drives over the years, and I can’t find published MTBF (mean time between failure) data on this product anywhere online. There are two storage devices in this product, each with it's own controller, plus some kind of extra controller to run the firmware. Added hardware complexity generally doesn't do much to improve reliability. So far so good in my short experience with this product, so I can't hold these qualms against it, but suffice it to say that none of this inspires confidence. I would advise users who prize reliability above all else to avoid this product until the manufacturer publishes MTBF statistics, or online user reviews offer this data anecdotally.

***Update*** After one year of production use, this drive is still holding up, and the disk speed benchmarks remain the same. As the drive has filled, the seek times have seemed to get worse, but I can't quantify this. Overall, my conclusion is that this drive is a good quality HDD, but the "hybrid" functionality is a gimmick, and doesn't add any significant benefit in my use-case. I had hoped that this drive would bridge the gap between expensive but fast SSD's and cheap but slow HDD's, but it does not. This product fundamentally still works like a what 99.8% of it is, a 7200rpm hard drive.

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Ownership: more than 1 year
Verified Owner
5/ 5
Good so far

Pros: The drive worked right out of the bix with no issues...I am not using the drive for a Boot drive so not really seeing any awesomness with the hybrid.....using for storage on my HTPC
....still working great after about 8 months of use.

Cons: Cant think of any

Other Thoughts: I'm sure using it as boot drive would be great...maybe Ill try it later

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1/ 5
Failed after 7 months! No power.

Pros: [EDIT 12/27/16]
This drive has worked flawlessly for 7 months, until today. It has no power and I am unable to retrieve my files from it.
[/EDIT]

This drive is much faster than my previous Western Digital 1TB 7200RPM SATA drive. I saw the negative reviews, but this drive has worked well for me. I have only had it for a short time, but it's quiet and fast. I am very happy with this drive so far. I have Ubuntu installed on this drive and the boot speed is incredible compared to what it used to be. Within seconds I am ready to go.

Cons: Failed after 7 months.

Other Thoughts: [EDIT 12/27/16]
My backups were failing and I wasn't aware of it. Karma I guess!
[/EDIT]

Given the mixed reviews, I am still cautious about this drive. I always keep my data backed up, so if it fails, it won't be a huge deal for me. It might last forever... who knows. Maybe a few bad drives don't mean that all of them will be troublesome.

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Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
Verified Owner
5/ 5
"Fast, Responsive, Spacious & A 5 Year Warranty"

Pros: "Fast, Spacious & A 5 Year Warranty, I Own 2 Of These Hybrid Drives, Both Are 4TBs & Are Over Half Full And Continue To Be Reliable & Fast, They Have Not Slowed Down As I Fill Them Up. They Are Both Used For Storage. I Currently Run 2 Home-Built Intel Systems That Are In Use 24/7/365. Both Computers Run Windows 7 64 Ultimate On Samsung SSDs. For Storage I Have Collected Several Seagate Drives Of All Capacities, The Oldest Drives Are 10YRS. Old & 400GBs, I Have Lost A Few Seagate Drives Over The Last Decade Which Included Two 10YR Old 400's & Three 2TBs (2 Internals & 1 External Hot Boxl). Needless To Say That I Wont Be Buying Any 2TB Seagates Of Any Kind. When You Lose That Much Data With No Warning & Only 1 Month Out Of A 3YR. Warranty, It Hurts! I Hesitated To Go Larger Than 2TBs Until I Ran Across These Hybrids With The Five Year Warranty. All Is Good So Far. I Have Had These Drives About 6 Months Now...

Cons: "There Are No Cons For These Drives"

Other Thoughts: "I Would Recommend These Drives For Storage. I Have Never Used Them An Operating System So I Just Don't Know How They Perform That Way.. I Do Know That As I Fill Them Up With Data They Have No Even Coughed Or Slowed Down. I Am Very Happy With These Hybrids...

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Ownership: more than 1 year
Verified Owner
3/ 5
Apart from the warranty, it's hard to Justify

Pros: This Seagate SSHD is a 4TB drive, so it has an "actual" capacity of roughly 3.72TiB minus a few GB firmware and indexing. Don't blame Seagate for this, it's just how the storage industry measures out their capacity using TB rather than TiB (Windows makes the confusion worse by labeling TiB/GiB as TB/GB). Seagate explains the math on their website.

This is a 5900rpm Hybrid Drive, so it has an 8GB flash NAND on the PCB of the drive that caches files that its firmware determines is being most frequently accessed. As such, using this drive as a boot drive will make your OS load faster over time as it adapts and learns which files to keep cached in the 8GB "SSD". While it won't be as fast as a true SSD, this caching will shave off anywhere up to a half a minute from your computer's boot time once the OS files are cached. Your mileage will vary with different OSes - Ubuntu 15.10 booted about 10 seconds faster than normal on this drive, but Windows 7 was almost 20 seconds faster (Both clean installed OSes were using the same 160GB partition I made on the SSHD and measured after 5 reboots, time difference is from the first boot - roughly 30 seconds for Ubuntu 15.10 and 40 seconds for Windows 7 - and the fifth boot).
Remember, the first boot after installing your OS will always be slower than the subsequent boots on a Hybrid drive. You need to give it time to figure out which files to cache.

If you're not using this as a bootable drive, then this drive will still serve you well as a primary storage for your Steam games and apps. Compared the 4TB 7200rpm Toshiba X300 I used as my temporary Steam drive, this SSHD was able to load games like Space Engineers and Total War Attila in roughly the same amount of time despite the SSHD only being a 5900rpm drive. And compared to the X300, the Seagate SSHD ran significantly cooler during installation, never peaking above 50 degrees Celsius whereas the X300 was pushing almost 60 degrees Celsius under the same conditions.
This temperature behavior makes it an ideal drive for HTPCs in small cases with poor ventilation while still giving you the capacity and speed of a 7200rpm drive.

This also has a 5 year warranty! 5 YEARS!
All of the non-SSHD Desktop-branded and Barracuda-branded Seagates have 2 year warranties. Even the Seagate NAS and Surveillance drives (now branded as IronWolf and SkyHawk respectively) have a mere 3 year warranty.
The new BarraCuda Pro, this Desktop SSHD, and it's successor - the FireCuda SSHD - are the only Seagate drives that have a warranty that long. As of this writing, the only other consumer hard drive on the market with a 5 year warranty is the WD Black series.
All of the other drives with 5 year or longer warranties are Enterprise and Datacenter drives. This shows how confident Seagate is in the longevity of this drive's design, which I'm assuming is attributable to the flash caching reducing the workload of the actuator.
With that being said, you shouldn't be hammering these drives with constant 24/7/365 disk operations.

If you can only put one drive into your computer and you need something faster than a regular hard drive, look no further than this SSHD. However...

Cons: There is no way to determine which files are stored in the 8GB cache, nor is there a way to manually place files into the cache. Everything is done on the firmware level of this drive, so no amount of software tinkering will change its caching behavior.
After a test session of using different games on the SSHD (mentioned above), the subsequent boot slowed right back down to its precondition boot time. I want to say that the cache system would probably learn over time not to dump the OS files from the cache, but I haven't run enough boot and loading cycles to determine that was the case. What I am sure of is that most users will probably notice some inconsistencies to the SSHD's performance during the first few weeks of operation. That's the unfortunate side effect of not being able to control which files that 8GB flash should cache, and the main reason why I stopped using this drive as a boot drive or for my Steam library.

As stated before, this is a 5900rpm hard drive with an 8GB flash component to temporarily boost performance. That means that once you use up the tiny 8GB flash component during a large file transfer, your SSHD's performance will drop right back down to what you'd expect from a 5900rpm drive. Benchmarking software usually transfers sample files within the 8GB flash's boundary to show a much higher performance than what you should expect during real world 10GB+ file transfers. According to CrystalDiskMark, my Seagate SSHD is capable of 186MB/s Read and Write. That's sadly not the case from what I've seen after using the drive for a full year as a hot-swap media back-up on an external eSATA enclosure.

I've seen peak write speed of 170MB/s, which drops down to about 120MB/s sustained after about 40 seconds of continuous write. Its read speed isn't that great either: it starts off at a high 160sMB/s and drops down to about 110MB/s sustained after a minute. If you're running low on disk space or are transferring hundreds of smaller files, expect to see 40-80MB/s sustained transfer speed after the cache is used up.
Even at its peak benchmarks, this drive falls well below the near-SSD performance claims and can barely keep up with the current generation of 7200rpm drives on the market today. For perspective, the 4TB X300 I mentioned earlier will sustain 160MB/s for both reads and writes for over a third of its capacity. According to HDTune, that's 1.27TiB of platter space that can transfer at the same burst rate that the SSHD can do with its 8GB flash.

There is also a question of how data recovery would be possible when this drive starts to fail. I'm referring specifically to the 8GB flash portion of the drive: if that flash component fails or becomes corrupted, your entire drive might become unusable. From what I've read, all transfers apparently goes through this flash component first before heading to the platters, so if the flash is no longer readable, then the entire drive will be rendered unreadable. This is quite scary when you're dealing with 3.6TiB of data. If a Seagate rep can clarify if the flash component can be bypassed during such a failure, that would be great.

And like Seagate's Desktop line-up, this 4TB model is the only one with a 5900rpm platter. Again Seagate, why? Both the 1TB and 2TB Desktop SSHD and the FireCuda SSHDs are all based on 7200rpm designs, so consider those if you don't need the larger capacity of this drive. This 5900rpm base design seems like a leftover from an earlier generation of Seagate drives, as the successor FireCuda SSHD lineup does not have a 4TB model.

Other Thoughts: If this is going to be the only drive in your computer, then I'll fully recommend this SSHD. It has a stellar warranty and will perform better than a 7200rpm drive in repetitive operations (like loading a game that you always play). You'll likely never run out of disk space if you're not hoarding games and movies on it and it won't heat up as quickly as a 7200rpm drive in a small case.

But consider this: for a few dollars more, you can get a 120GB SSD ($40) and a Seagate 4TB 5900rpm hard drive ($115). That's a full SSD for your OS and frequently used programs and a full 4TB (or 3.7TiB) for everything else for just over $10 more. You could also use the SSD as a cache using Intel's RST or a third party software for fifteen times the cache size of this SSHD (but you'll still run the risk of losing all your data if the SSD is integral to the final drive partition rather than parallel to it).

As an additional desktop drive, this drive falls well short of its cost and marketing. You can buy a faster 7200rpm drive with the same 4TB capacity for slightly less than this SSHD. If speed isn't an issue for you, then Seagate's regular Desktop model is about $30 cheaper. The only major thing this SSHD has going for it is its five year warranty.

7 out of 8 people found this review helpful. Did you?
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