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Recently we took a long hard look at the Seagate BarraCuda 510 NVMe solid state drive series and walked away very impressed with the improvements Seagate has made to not only their consumer orientated solid-state drive options but also the entire industry. Put simply, the market is stronger and better because of its release. Today we are going to do a deep dive into the FireCuda 510 series. Namely the 1TB capacity variant and see if it too can make for an even more competitive marketplace.

As the name suggests the FireCuda 510resides slightly above the BarraCuda in Seagate’s home-user oriented line-up. However, also as their name suggests, the FireCuda 510 and Seagate BarraCuda 510 series share a lot in common. The same controller – Phison E12. The same NAND – Toshiba’s BiCS 3 TLC NAND. Even similar dimensions 2280. Where they differ however is where things get interesting.

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As we stated in the BarraCuda 510 review there was only two real ways Seagate could make a BarraCuda 510 model with higher capacity: either change the NAND type (e.g. 96-layer BiCS 4), or change the form-factor. The obvious answer is to do away with the ‘S2’ specification and go from single sided to a dual sided ‘D2’ variant of the M.2 2280 form-factor. This is what Seagate has opted to do, but instead of calling it a BarraCuda 510 and creating consumer confusion they have instead released this D2 (dual sided 1.35mm z-height per side of the PCB) variant under the FireCuda 510 name.

Make no mistake. The increase in capacity from a maximum of 512GB to 2TB is not the only change. Instead it is just the most obvious. Going hand in hand with this increase in capacity is a doubling of RAM cache (1GB in the 1TB FireCuda 510’s case) and different firmware. We will go over exactly what this “STES” (instead of the BarraCuda 510’s “STCS”) firmware change means… but it does have a real-world impact. The only real question is whether or not this increase in performance and capacity warrants the increase in cooling requirements (and the associated hassle factor) which are necessary to keep this double sided, high performance M.2 2280 series ‘happy’ and functioning at optimum performance levels.

Full Review