Seagate’s FireCuda 530 4TB M.2 NVMe Gaming SSD Is Really Fast And Wildly Expensive – Forbes

FireCuda 530 with heatsink.
Let’s address the painfully obvious right upfront: Seagate’s 4TB FireCuda 530 M.2 NVMe SSD with custom heatsink sports an absolutely outlandish price tag.
At a wallet-emptying $1,000, it will probably be the most expensive piece of personal gaming storage you’ll ever purchase. With that kind of cash, you could upgrade your PC’s GPU (if you can find one), or better yet, go on vacation to a place where you won’t need a GPU. The Amazon rainforest, perhaps. Or the moon.
If you’re solely seeking mountains of storage space and don’t mind slower transfer speeds, large capacity mechanical HDDs, as legacy as they’ve become in recent years, are much more affordable. You can buy something like Seagate’s own Game Drive Hub, which features a whopping 16TB of external USB storage, for half the price of the FireCuda 530.
Sure, you won’t get to appreciate the FireCuda’s advertised 7,300 MB/s sequential read speed, but you also won’t need to take out a second mortgage just to store your PC games at peak access performance.
That said, if you do want to partake in Seagate’s PCIe Gen. 4 M.2 NVMe SSD lineup, then the FireCuda 530 comes in several capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB and a monstrous (by M.2 NVMe SSD standards) 4TB, which carries the equally monstrous and aforementioned $1,000 price tag.
In an accompanying data sheet, Seagate claims that my 4TB review unit has sequential read speeds up to 7,300 MB/s and sequential write speeds up to 6,800 MB/s. It’s also listed as PS5-compatible, though I’ve been unable to test this function, as I still can’t track down a PS5.
You’ll need a motherboard (or a PS5) with a PCIe Gen. 4 M.2 NVMe slot to take advantage of the FireCuda’s insane transfer speeds, though you can plug it into a PCIe 3.0 slot and use the drive in a reduced throughput.
FireCuda 530 with heatsink.
No matter what I threw at this drive, essentially the entire digital sink as it were, I couldn’t get it to throttle. Transfer after transfer, even while loading and running games or weathering various stress tests, didn’t appear to phase the FireCuda. Granted, my review unit does include the bespoke EKWB aluminum heatsink, and without it, I think I would have run into some thermal trouble.
On the topic of heatsinks, you are going to pay extra for EKWB’s custom cooling solution, and maybe a bit too much. With included heatsink, the 4TB FireCuda 530 is $999.99, and without, it’s $949.99. The 2TB model has a similar upcharge: $539.99 and $489.99 respectively. The 1 TB capacity FireCuda drive is a bit more reasonable, between $259.99 with heatsink and $239.99 without.
With the astronomical base prices of these M.2 drives, a $20 to $50 surcharge is tough to swallow, especially since you can buy third party NVMe heatsinks separately for under $30, and often under $20. For example, Sabrent’s Rocket heatsink, with its steampunk copper heat coils, retails for around $25. You won’t be getting EKWB’s fancy anodized cooling tech, and the jury is still out on whether you’d get comparable thermal readouts and lack of throttling, but cheaper options do exist.
That said, the 4 TB FireCuda has a very respectable TBW (total bytes written) score of 5,100. This essentially means that you can write up to 5,100 TB onto this drive before it starts to conk out. Or in Seagate’s words: “fill and delete 70% of the drive capacity, every day, for five years”.
If the internal specs are to be trusted, the FireCuda will last a very long time, especially so under regular use cases that fall shy of the TBW (i.e. downloading or copying just a couple games a day). This is no doubt music to the ears of anyone who’s thinking about dropping a grand on Seagate’s M.2 storage.
I ran the FireCuda through trusty CrystalDiskMark and got pretty close to the advertised read and write speeds. The drive was 20% filled with large game files, which may account for the slight reduction in scores:
FireCuda 530 read and write speeds.
Wanting to see some real world performance, I decided to do a transfer with Remedy’s Control, a 50GB game file. It took around 30 seconds to complete the transfer, which is nothing to sneeze at. I also timed how long it took to boot New World from the drive: 55 seconds from launch until title screen, and roughly 18 seconds from pressing ‘Play’ at the character select screen to dropping into the world for gameplay.
I also ran PC Mark’s full system drive benchmark, and the FireCuda 530 achieved a bandwidth of 503 MB/s with an overall score of 3126. Additionally, peak temperature was around 70 C when under load and the idle temp usually hovered around 28 C.
What’s interesting is that since I’ve started testing the 4TB FireCuda 530, I haven’t seen it in stock anywhere online. I’m assuming that demand is high not only because of the blazing fast speeds but also because this is one of the few M.2 NVMe SSDs approved for PS5 use. Seagate has, intentionally or not, pitted PC and PS5 users against each other in this scarcity-driven hardware market, which is about as volatile as we’ve ever seen.
Hopefully supply will start catching up with demand relatively soon, though with the way the gaming PC space has been progressing lately, I won’t hold my breath.
Disclosure: Seagate provided review product for coverage purposes.

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