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Seagate FireCuda Gaming SSHD 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

4 out of 5 eggs Big performance boost over traditional HDDs! 10/25/2016

This review is from: Seagate FireCuda Gaming SSHD 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive ST2000DX002

Pros: I realize that SSHDs are a topic of much deliberation, so I have thoroughly tested the FireCuda against several other devices in both synthetic and real world scenarios to hopefully give some results that mean something.

I do want to start by saying that I discovered pretty quickly that benchmark tests needed to be run multiple times with any given benchmark utility in order to achieve best results due to the nature of how the drive operates. The first time running a benchmark would yield results very similar to a typical 7200rpm HDD. Thereafter, each test would yield results with drastically better performance, and consistently do so until I switched to a new program. In short, the SSHD needs to learn the application the first time it is used before optimum performance is achieved.

I tested the FireCuda (ST2000DX002) against a WD Black 4TB (WD4003FZEX), a OCZ Trion100 240GB SSD, and lastly a Samsung SM951 120GB M2 PCIe SSD for a little contrast. Here are some of those synthetic benchmark results:

ST2000DX002 – ATTO - Max Read – 201.4MB/s @ 2048KB file size
ST2000DX002 – ATTO - Max Write – 201.5MB/s @ 512KB file size
ST2000DX002 – ATTO - Avg Read – 164.5MB/s
ST2000DX002 – ATTO - Avg Write – 160.7MB/s
ST2000DX002 – HDTune – Access Time – 0.3ms (8.7ms only on initial test)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WD4003FZEX – ATTO - Max Read – 113.5MB/s @ 4096KB file size
WD4003FZEX – ATTO - Max Write – 107.4MB/s @ 8192KB file size
WD4003FZEX – ATTO - Avg Read – 90.9MB/s
WD4003FZEX – ATTO - Avg Write – 83.7MB/s
WD4003FZEX – HDTune - Access Time – 8.8ms
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Trion100 – ATTO - Max Read – 552.8MB/s @ 8192KB file size
Trion100 – ATTO - Max Write – 506.5MB/s @ 4096KB file size
Trion100 – ATTO - Avg Read – 347.8MB/s
Trion100 – ATTO - Avg Write – 309.0MB/s
Trion100 – HDTune - Access Time – 0.2ms
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SM951 – ATTO - Max Read – 1949.9MB/s @ 8182KB file size
SM951 – ATTO - Max Write – 653.1MB/s @ 8192KB file size
SM951 – ATTO - Avg Read – 1006.9MB/s
SM951 – ATTO - Avg Write – 460MB/s
SM951 – HDTune - Access Time – 0.1ms
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

One thing you cannot see in these summarized results is that the FireCuda reached its maximum performance very early during the benchmarks at the 4KB file size mark, and kept that performance going for the duration of the test up to the 8MB file size. The other three drives had more of an upwards parabola type curve that reached maximum performance near the end of the test.

Once the FireCuda had been tested with each utility, it continued to achieve maximum performance results reliably. I have to say that the results were actually unexpectedly positive. But since these were just synthetic results, I needed to see if it equated to real world noticeable improvements. Since the FireCuda is marketed primarily as a gaming drive, I decided to compare before and after loading times on some of my favorites.

After moving almost 700GB of my Steam and Origin game libraries onto the FireCuda, I began launching my most often played titles (Fallout 4, Borderlands Pre-Sequel, Battlefield 4, ARMA2 heavily modded). Just like the synthetic tests demonstrated, the games were typical of any HDD to launch and load up my characters at first try. However, on the 2nd attempt there was a pretty significant improvement. Compared to the WD 4TB, the load time decrease was nothing life altering, but all of my games were 7-10 seconds quicker at having my character ready with boots on the ground. In other words, from desktop to character fully loaded in the game environment, up to 10 seconds were shaved off. I probably don’t have to tell you that could equate to precious lead time in a multi-player games!

Some other good points to make about the FireCuda is that it makes a very good option if you only have a single storage bay. Thus, I would highly recommend this drive for a laptop owner. Also, Seagate includes a 5-year warranty on the FireCuda line of drives, which is far better than the 2-year that comes with the Barracuda series.

Cons: The Firecuda has only 8GB of SSD capacity. Knowing that hybrid drives work by caching the most commonly used bits of data onto the NAND flash, and there is only so much available for your games and OS to share. The results of this sharing is that when writing new data, or accessing certain data infrequently, you only get the performance of a conventional 7200rpm mechanical disk. If you play the same game every day, you will probably get the best-case performance. But, if you jump around your game library from day to day like I do, you may get less than you are expecting from the drive.

Even when performing at its best, the FireCuda was still drastically outperformed in both synthetic and real world scenarios by even a budget consumer SSD, such as the OCZ Trion 100. Games that were installed on the Trion 100 typically loaded 2-3 seconds faster than the FireCuda. File transfer jobs ran roughly 2x faster on average. Response times were unmatched, and the SSD just seemed snappier at all tasks. There just is no replacement for a standalone SSD.

At $104.99, the price per GB puts this way above conventional 2TB HDDs. A Seagate 7200rpm 2TB Constellation can be had for just $62 (at time of this review.) That leaves over $40 to easily pick up a 120GB SSD; more than enough storage for your OS and favorite game, resulting in reliably consistent SSD performance.

Other Thoughts: Ultimately, this review boils down to making one very strong point: Better performance can be achieved for the same money by buying 2 separate drives – 1 SSD and 1 HDD. However, if you are only capable of utilizing a single drive in your system and you don’t want to compromise space for performance, then I do HIGHLY recommend this drive for you!

For my tests, the FireCuda was formatted with GPT, NTFS 16kb block size. That equated to 1.81TB free space (as calculated by 1024 gigabytes = 1 terabyte.) Please note that the 8GB flash does not add to the overall capacity of the drive.

Relevant test system specs:
Intel X99
Intel i7-5820K 4.0GHz
8x4GB DDR4 3000MHz
SATA3 6Gb/s (ASMedia controller)
Windows 7 Pro SP1 build 7601

Thanks to Newegg.com and Seagate for providing the review sample!

If you found my product review helpful in your search, please check Yes below. Thanks!

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HP OfficeJet Pro 8720 (M9L75A#B1H) Duplex 4800 dpi x 1200 dpi wireless/USB color Inkjet MFC Printer
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

4 out of 5 eggs Very capable quality printer on a budget (followup on 10/14/16) 10/14/2016

This review is from: HP OfficeJet Pro 8720 (M9L75A#B1H) Duplex 4800 dpi x 1200 dpi wireless/USB color Inkjet MFC Printer

Pros: • The color touch screen has a very intuitive menu, and is very responsive with only a delicate tap.
• Wi-Fi direct allows you to connect ad-hoc style directly to the printer to print a document. Very clever and handy.
• Also supports NFC, so you can quickly connect a mobile device to the printer. Worked flawlessly on my Android 5.1.1 device.
• Print quality for documents is excellent – sharp and bold text, charts and diagrams look professional. On photo printing, images have good detail and color contrast and saturation, and look great on photo paper.
• Legal size scanning bed and paper tray is a major plus.
• Automatic duplexing, so double-sided scanning and printing is super easy.
• Scan a document to a network location via software on a local PC. But, also see cons below.
• Basic Windows driver download (63MB) available from support.hp.com is an option if you don’t want the bloatware that comes preloaded on the disc.
• HP cartridge protection prevents a cartridge from being used in another printer.
• HP app available for windows 8, 8.1, 10 lets you scan, print, manage printer and order supplies.
• Some HP apps are available through the touchscreen, and new ones are added for download periodically. My favorite is Google Drive, which allows scanning and printing directly to/from your Google cloud storage.
• There is an option to secure a print job with pin/passcode, which requires you to sign up for HP JetAdvantage Private print, which is a cloud app that will hold the document until you sign in with an account on the printer to retrieve the document. You’ll also need the JetAdvantage driver installed on the PC you wish to print from.

Cons: • Too big to sit on a desk.
• Windows 7 has no native driver support for this printer. You’ll need either the disc, or download from support.hp.com. Windows 10 was a different story, though.
• From a USB device, can only print image files. Cannot print any other type of document from thumb drive.
• Cannot scan directly to a network share, either through FTP or SMB/CIFS (Windows share), or any other file protocol. Must use a local PC with share location access and HP software to sort of proxy the printer to the network share.
• Beware that third-party ink cartridges may possibly not work in this printer after HP made a recent maneuver locking out non-HP cartridges through firmware on OfficeJet Pro printers!

*EDIT*
As of 10/13/16, HP has or will be releasing new firmware for their printers to reverse the ink "lock-out" that was done with the previous firmware. However, this update must be manually applied to the devices. - Techpowerup article titled "HP Firmware Update Reverses Non-Original Ink Lock"

Other Thoughts: Overall, I found the OfficeJet Pro 8720 to be a very capable small office / home multi-functional printer. It’s a huge upgrade from the Photosmart D110 I’ve been using for the past couple of years. I would recommend this printer for home and small business applications.

Thanks to Newegg.com and HP for providing the review sample!

If you found my product review helpful in your search, please check Yes below. Thanks!

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Silicon Power 64GB Blaze B05 USB 3.0 Flash Drive (SP064GBUF3B05V1K)
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

3 out of 5 eggs Good value but mediocre performance 10/14/2016

This review is from: Silicon Power 64GB Blaze B05 USB 3.0 Flash Drive (SP064GBUF3B05V1K)

Pros: • Cap-less locking slider design, which locks in both closed and open positions very firmly. There is no play once the slider is locked in place.
• Red activity LED is a plus in a world where so many storage drives lack this necessary feature.
• Lifetime warranty against defects and non-abusive failures.
• Compatible out of the box with essentially all modern operating systems due to fat32 file structure.

Cons: The Blaze B05 uses a Phison PS2251-7 controller, which is fairly common in the low-mid grade performance and features segment. This shows in the synthetic benchmark numbers using ATTO Bench32 v2.47:

Read performance:
Max = 126MB/s @ 64KB file size
4KB = 7.6MB/s
Avg = 73.6MB/s

Write Performance:
Max = 74.1MB/s @ 128KB file size
4KB = 1.7MB/s
Avg = 28.5MB/s

So you see, the Blaze B05 simply does not have the performance necessary to do much more than simple data transport. Attempting to run a virtual machine from the device proved sluggish, and at times completely unresponsive. Large data transfer jobs would plummet in speeds after the first 1-3GB depending on the file sizes.

Other cons to note:
The black plastic body is not very durable and could easily be accidentally (or intentionally) broken. I was able to disassemble the drive down to the bare PCB in a matter of seconds with only a small plastic pry tool.

Silicon Power advertises free data rescue software with this drive. That software is Piriform Recuva – a freeware program available to anyone… for free. It’s not even the latest version available (v1.48), which should be v1.53. Now, if SP offered customers the Pro version of Recuva, I would be putting this in the “Pros” section above.

Lastly, the Phison flash controller chosen for the Blaze B05 does not support AES encryption.

Other Thoughts: While the Blaze B05 is definitely no record breaker in the USB flash drive world, it is very practical for daily use by the average user (office worker, student, anyone looking for casual data transport.) The currently advertised price ($14.99) places this drive very high in the GB/$ lineup, which makes it very hard to beat, though.

Benchmarks were performed on MSi X99-S Gaming 7 motherboard with ASMedia USB3.0 port running driver v1.16.33.1, and a fresh install of Windows 7 Pro (x64) build 7601. The drive was formatted NTFS with 4KB block size (typical of a default format operation.)

Thank you to Newegg.com and Silicon Power for providing the review sample!

If you found my product review helpful in your search, please check Yes below. Thanks!

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William F.'s Profile

Display Name: William F.

Date Joined: 09/21/07

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  • First Review: 12/28/07
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