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Pros: The big question here is: did Seagate just make a viable consumer laptop drive with an SMD platter? Looking at their site spec sheets and the internet (which we all know is the source of all true information) there is conflicting information - so I called them to find out - because if they did, it should be big news. After the long hold and calls to the lab I was told: “We cannot discuss whether certain drives use SMR or PMR”. Egg off for the mystery.
So the review title is no longer: FABU SMD plus NAND SSHD with 5 year WTY.
A 1 TB, 5 year warranty, laptop hybrid drive at less than ¼ the price of a 1 TB SSD. The 8 GB NAND caches frequently used data for speed. The single platter disk - has low energy use - spinning a 5400 RPM platter. It might or might not use the highest-density technology available.
WHERE THIS DRIVE FITS INTO THE LINEUP
To help make sense of its product lines Seagate has recently renamed them into: “BarraCuda” series for desktop storage, “FireCuda” for hybrid SSD/HD, “IronWolf” for NAS, “SkyHawk” for surveillance. In addition, Seagate makes a narrow range product called an Archive drive for massive object-store non-RAID filesystems which is the only product advertised to use SMR platters.
The Seagate Archive drives use a technology called Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) to achieve extremely high density around 25% higher in the same disk platter area at the cost of being optimised for reading the data more often than writing it. This “FireCuda” drive might or might not use SMR technology on the spinning disk. The 8GB SSD algorithm plus 128MB buffer is supposed to increase speed by caching frequently used data. It also might be used to get around the limits imposed by the SMR technology. The limits of SMR are in a way similar to writing NAND blocks to SSDs.
Density coupled with SSD cache allow the drive to achieve good data speeds at 5400 RPM and uses only about 1.7 W active Read/Write power and 0.13 Standby. Many 1TB SSDs use around 3 to 5 W to read/write.
Maximum transfer rates between the BarraCuda and FireCuda 2.5 drives are about the same at 140 MB/s. The performance should be higher after it learns what applications you use the most and caches them into the SSD portion of the drive. This is hard to objectively measure but repetitively booting my Win 7 PC while timing using the BootRacer program logged an improvement of 35%. Less than with a dedicated SSD but still quite noticeable. Similar improvement when launching a frequently used program repeatedly - got me about a 300% improvement when timing with a stopwatch.
Cons: Not many as long as you’re not expecting an SSD for less than 25% the price. This is a souped-up hard drive for typical consumer laptop use.
The main unknown is if this drive is using SMR, SMR is relatively new tech for desktop type use. If they won’t tell you what the tech is, they are at least confident that it will work for 5 years. (There is a 5 year warranty.)
The SSD algorithm is the proprietary secret sauce and there is not a great way to quantify how well it will work for your specific needs. If you are a typical laptop user, it will be faster than a regular HD.
Other Thoughts: I wonder why SMR vs PMR is such a big secret. Perhaps some drives with the same model number have it and some don’t? If it works for consumer drives it should be a big positive story.
If you need a lot of 2.5 form factor storage for not a lot of $$$ this may be the way to go. Seagate is betting a 5 year warranty on what might be SMR technology coupled with SSD NAND.
If that’s what they are doing, the limits of SMR (small writes can be slow because you can’t write in place; sequential reads can be slow if spread between blocks of tracks) should all be able to be overcome using the same tricks as FLASH controllers in SSDs.
The original 3.5 inch Seagate PMR hybrid drives I have used as desktop boots in corporate machines worked quite well and all are still going well past their warranty periods.
There is a SED (self encrypting) model of this drive (ST1000LM028) if you need that sort of thing.
Pros: WHERE THIS DRIVE FITS IN
Seagate massive capacity 8TB Hard Drives come in a multitude of optimization types ranging from archival storage to desktop use. To help make sense of its product lines Seagate has recently renamed them into: “BarraCuda” series for desktop storage, “FireCuda” for hybrid SSD/HD, “IronWolf” for NAS, “SkyHawk” for surveillance. Within these categories, there is usually a “PRO” designation which usually means the same thing that “Enterprise” used to mean. This new naming happened soon after this particular drive was produced. This white-labeled Enterprise NAS ST8000NE0001 is quite similar to the “IronWolf PRO” ST8000NE0021. In addition, Seagate makes narrow range products like Archive drives for massive object-store non-RAID filesystems.
“Enterprise” or “Pro” gets you a 5 year warranty at 300TB per year workload 12x7, MTBF of 1.2 million hours, and RV (Rotational Vibration) sensors that help the drive tolerate some of the vibrations of being mounted in a rack of other drives. There is a optional 5 year Rescue Data Recovery Service plan.
Sata 6Gb/s, 7200 RPM, big 256 MB cache, 6 platters with PMR.
Temps: 36/31 C Stress/Idle. Noise: less than 7200 RPM Barracuda, Constellation, Hitachi drives. Noisier than disks I have spinning at lower RPM’s like WD Reds. Top-of-chart performance due to big cache and high RPM (HD Tach, HD Tune Pro, Crystal, PCMark). In a Raid10 config in a Synology (I have quite a few of these): 4K CIFS throughput read was 650 IOPS. Write was 1970. iSCSI was fantastic at block level 70% read/30% write throughput of 2300 IOPS. Worked fine with FreeNAS ZFS.
If you need 8 TB drives in a rack NAS configuration using SATA plugs in RAID or ZFS configuration and are shooting for a high balanced read/write performance, these are great. You get some of that performance at the cost of high RPMs and high power draws of 1.2A at 12V startup and around 9 Watts in use.
Cons: None, really. Make sure you match your application with the correct Seagate drive type.
Other Thoughts: These may be overkill if all you are building is a low-power home NAS devoted to backups and streaming media occasionally. These are great for small/large business RAIDs - particularly iSCSI 70/30 read/write - assuming you are using SATA. Expect all drives to fail - even with great specs - and plan your redundancy/recovery procedures ahead of time. Bigger drives are more cost/power efficient than larger numbers of smaller drives. Provide adequate cooling.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: If you don’t know why people spend over a hundred bucks for a keyboard see Other Thoughts first.
This is one model of the extremely popular Corsair K70 keyboard line. The longevity of the series is a testament to its success in the extremely competitive gaming market.
The various Corsair models available can be a bit confusing. Corsair mechanical keyboards series include: the K70, the Strafe, and the K65 series. The K65 have no number keys. The Strafe product line are all RGB backlit and have Cherry MX “Silent” keys as an option. The K70 product line includes the original K70 series and the K70 LUX series. Within these two series you have a choice of Cherry Switch type, RGB lighting vs. monochrome lighting (in red or blue). The new Cherry MX “Rapidfire” speed switch type is an option for all K70’s. The differences I can see in the K70 LUX vs the older K70 include a larger keycap font similar to the Strafe series, an updated LED controller, and a textured spacebar.
Corsair entered the keyboard market around 2011 with great hardware. (Their Cue software, though complex, is kept current and is not required to use the keyboard as a keyboard.) They used the legendary Cherry switches from the get-go and even got Cherry to make special switch lines for their keyboards.
Cherry switches are usually referred to by color and can be: clicky/non-clicky on activation, provide a tactile feedback “bump” when pressed or not, and have differing actuation/rebound spring forces. The three most common are:
Red - light-weighted, low actuation force of 45cN, linear response.
Brown - tactile-bump, non-clicky switch with 45cN actuation force.
Blue - clicky, tactile-bump switch with a 50cN weighting.
All of these switches all make noise at: bottom-out, on rebound, and in addition- some of them have an audible click during activation (blue) which happens before bottom-out.
Because of the noise, some people used to put rubber O rings under the keys till a couple years ago when Cherry made a new switch especially for Corsair: the “Silent” - like red but quiet - presumably for spousal benefit and available in the Strafe series.
Red or Silent were thought to be best for gaming. Blue is favored by typists. Brown is thought to be middle-of-the road good for both.
In the K70 keyboards there is another new switch option made for Corsair. It is designated the “Rapidfire” or “Speed” switch. “Speed” -looks silver and acts like the Red switch - but actuates in 1.2 mm of travel vs. 2.0 mm of travel using the same 45cN force. This might give the die-hard gamer a slight edge. The main competitor to this switch in the switch arms race is the Logitech Romer-G switch which has 1.5 mm of travel. BTW the total travel distance to bottom-out on the Speed is 3.4 mm vs Red at 4 mm.
USB pass through, backlighting, same fantastic aluminum body as the previous K70, discrete media buttons and volume, “game mode” to disable certain keys like the Windows key, full rollover & anti-ghosting, FPS and MOBA keycap sets, detachable wrist rest with perfect texture, new bigger font on keys for more light passage, nice sail logo, key removal tool, 2 year warranty. I love the volume roller.
Cons: I suggest trying out the various types of switches if you have not experienced them before.
No headset pass-through. Big, thick cable - but that’s what you need for all the effects.
Software installation takes about 160 Mb but it works just fine if you choose not install it to your system SSD. During the install it gives you the option to install elsewhere than the system disk. Don’t need the software to use it just as a regular keyboard.
Other Thoughts: I have a large collection of mechanical keyboards to compare this one to. All the way from the original Apples to the Corsair’s and some of its competitors using Blues, Reds, Browns, Silent, and Speed switches. The best mechanical keyboards often use Cherry switches. Cherry (the world’s oldest keyboard switch manufacturer) was a US company that moved to Germany around 1967.
The keyboard’s switch type definitely makes a difference in my gameplay and changing switch type takes a couple weeks to get fully used to it. Keyboard rigidity makes a difference. LED backlighting looks cool but doesn’t make much difference to me. Corsair is a great hardware company that got into gaming about 5-6 years ago. They listen to their boards and their customers.
Most consumer keyboards are cheap, membrane-based boards with a rubber dome switch underneath each key. These are inexpensive, spill-resistant, and don’t give you much feedback as to when each key registers - you have to bottom out the key. Also, most can only detect a couple simultaneous keys at a time (called a “rollover” number). Rollover often includes only certain combinations of keys. This problem is also called “ghosting” when certain simultaneous keypresses can’t be distinguished by the keyboard. Right now, try typing “the quick brown fox jumps right over the lazy dog” while holding down both shift keys on your current non-mech keyboard. I’ll do this on my Microsoft keyboard now: HE QUIK BRON FO JUPS RIGH OER HE LA DOG.
After using a mechanical keyboard, anything else will feel wrong and mushy. Mechanical keyboards also are a bit loud, heavy, and last forever unless you spill your coffee on them. When Apple changed from ADB ports to USB there was a huge market in $50 ADB to USB adapters for people who loved their old keyboards. I bought a few. If you use mechanicals to type, with practice you will type a LOT faster and push more softly because you don’t have to bottom out the keys to get them to actuate. Just don’t spill coffee on them.