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Seagate IronWolf 510 SSD Review: An Excellent NVMe Drive For All

The Seagate IronWolf 510 SSD is not a traditional NVMe solid-state drive. It’s the first in the market designed for NAS servers. The thing is, there aren’t many servers designed for it. Yet.

Indeed, most home NAS servers use regular hard drives or SATA SSDs — like the IronWolf 110 or WD SA500 — as storage. Those few current servers supporting NVMe only use that for caching.

The IronWolf 510 NVMe SSD is not NAS-exclusive, though, and works in other applications, including the boot drive of a regular computer. And no matter where you use it, you’ll benefit from it quite excellent performance plus the extremely high endurance.

Available in capacities ranging from 240 GB to 1.92 TB with the average cost of around 33 cents per gigabyte, the IronWolf 510 SSD is not the most affordable NVMe SSD on the market. But if you need a robust SSD designed to last for years of non-stop intensive use, you won’t go wrong with this one.

Seagate IronWolf 510 NVMe SSD 2
The Seagate IronWolf 510 is a standard NVMe SSD.

Seagate IronWolf 510 SSD

8.5

Performance

8.0/10

Features

8.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Extremely high endurance
  • Excellent real-world performance
  • High capacity
  • 2-year of data rescue services included
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • The write speeds could use some improvement
  • Comparatively expensive
  • No SATA versions

Seagate IronWolf 510 NVMe SSD: A bit ahead of its time.

The Seagate IronWolf NVMe is a NAS-oriented SSD. And that’s fine. The issue is that you can’t use it with most home and small business servers on the market. The only one I’ve worked that can handle NVMe is Synology DS1019+, which can use up to two M.2 SSDs as a cache.

See also  SSD Explained: Everything You Need To Know about Solid-State Drives

And with that we have a bit of a dilemma about the IronWolf 510:

  • Generally, you don’t need a high-capacities drive for caching, so the drive’s 960 GB and 1.92 TB versions are way overkill.
  • You need a server that features a multi-gig connection to see the real benefits of NVMe SSDs. Since most NAS servers still use Gigabit, it’s a bit of a dismissing return when investing NVMe in them.

That said, as far as a NAS drive is concerned, the IronWolf 510 is a bit ahead of its time. It doesn’t hurt to use it if your server supports NVMe, but you might not see much difference in terms of performance. Another way to put it is that this is more of an enterprise than a consumer-grade SSD.

Synology DS1019 NVMe Slots
The Synology DS1019+ is on of a few NAS servers that support NVMe SSDs, and comes with two built-in NVMe M.2 slot located on its underside.

And that brings us to an important fact that the IronWlf 510 NVMe SSD is not a NAS-only SSD. You can use it in other applications where traditional NVMe drives, like the Samsung 970 Pro or WD Black, fit in.

And that’s how I also tested it.

Seagate IronWolf 510 NVMe SSD: Hardware specifications

The IronWolf 510 is a standard NVMe drive with the M.2 2280 deign. Specifically the drive is 22 mm wide and 80 mm long. Its 1.92 TB and 960 GB are double sided with a thickness of just 0.14 in (3.58 mm) thick. The other two lower capacities are thinner at 0.87 in (22.15mm).

Seagate says the SSD is designed for a 24/7 environment which qualifies it as one for NAS servers which generally are on all the time.

Capacity1.92 TB960 GB480 GB240 GB
Part NumerZP1920NM30001ZP960NM30001ZP480NM30001ZP240NM30001
InterfacePCIe Gen 3×4, NVMe 1.3PCIe Gen 3×4, NVMe 1.3PCIe Gen 3×4, NVMe 1.3PCIe Gen 3×4, NVMe 1.3
DesignM.2 (2280) M.2 (2280) M.2 (2280) M.2 (2280) 
Active Max Average Power6.0 W6.0 W6.0 W5.3 W
Average Idle Power2.0 W1.95 W1.83 W1.75 W
NAND Flash Memory3D TLC3D TLC3D TLC3D TLC
Sequential Read3,150 MB/s3,150 MB/s2,650 MB/s2,450 MB/s
Sequential Write850 MB/s1,000 MB/s600 MB/s290 MB/s
Random Read (QD32T4)270,000 IOPs345,000 IOPs193,000 IOPs100,000 IOPs
Random Write (QD32T4)25,000 IOPs28,000 IOPs20,000 IOPs12,000 IOPs
Endurance (Terabyte Written)3,500 TBW1,750 TBW875 TBW435 TBW
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF)1,800,000 hours1,800,000 hours1,800,000 hours1,800,000 hours
U.S. Retail Price (at time of review)$519.99$309.99$164.99$259.99
Cost Per Gigabyte$0.27$0.33$0.34$0.47
Warranty5 years5 years5 years5 years
Seagate IronWolf 510 NVMe SSDs hardware specifications

Extreme endurance

As you might have noted in the specs charts above, the IronWolf 510 NVMe has an extreme endurance rating. Seagate claims that the SSD delivers one drive-write-per-day (DWPD) level of endurance, the highest I’ve seen.

Specifically, if you take the lowest-capacity version, the 240 GB, and write the same amount of data as its entire capacity to it, then the next day you erase it then do the same, you have to repeat the process every single day for five years — the length of the warranty — before it endurance runs out.

240 GB is a huge amount of data. Most days we write only a fraction of that on our computer’s internal drive. My Synology DS1618+, among other things, hosts 5 IP cameras doesn’t write more than 50 GB/day.

But having high endurance never hurts. It’s a good thing. And each higher-capacity of the IronWolf 510 SSD more than doubles the endurance level. So, with the 1.92 TB version, at the same write rate, you’ll have to spend some 40 years to wear it out.

Seagate IronWolf 510 NVMe SSD’s detail photos

Seagate IronWolf 510 NVMe SSD 11
The Seagate IronWolf 510 NVMe SSD’s retail box.

Seagate IronWolf 510 NVMe SSD 18
The back of the Seagate IronWolf 510 NVMe SSD’s retail box.

Seagate IronWolf 510 NVMe SSD 3
Outside of the box, Seagate IronWolf 510 NVMe SSD comes in the standard 2280 M.2 design.

Seagate IronWolf 510 NVMe SSD 4
The higher-capacities versions of the Seagate IronWolf 510 NVMe SSD are double-sided with memory chips on both sides.

Seagate IronWolf 510 NVMe SSD 10
You can get two Seagate IronWolf 510 NVMe SSDs and use them in a RAID setup.

Data protection plan included

Other than the generous 5-year warranty, like many other Seagate drives, the IronWolf 510 SSD comes with a 2-year Rescue Data Recovery Services plan.

Specifically, if the drive fails during this time, you can send it to Seagate and the company will recover your data for free.

Clearly, this only applies to situations where you use the IronWolf 510 SSD as a storage space. When used for caching, generally, data loss is not a major concern.

IronWolf 510 SSD: Excellent performance

I tested the IronWolf 510 SSD using two 1.92 TB drives and was very happened with the performance, though they weren’t the fastest I’ve seen. The 1.92 TB version is not the fastest among different capacities of the drive, by the way.

Expensive for home NAS caching

First of all, I tried them out as a caching solution for the Synology DS1019+, and the server worked no better than when I used two 2TB WD SA500 2.5-inch drives with it.

Despite the higher cache hit rates, the NAS’s performance remained the same even in heavy loads. My take is that wasn’t the Seagate SSD’s fault, but rather, SSDs of the SATA standard is already more than fast enough for the NAS server to deliver its best performance, for a home or small office environment.

So if your home server doesn’t already have SSD cache, IronWolf 510-based caching will turn its performance up a huge notch. However, if you’re already using SATA SSDs for caching, upgrading to this NVMe drive probably won’t make much of a difference, if at all.

However, when you have a NAS server that can use NVMe SSDs as its storage, it’s highly likely that the IronWolf 510 SSD will make it scream. Until then, the drive is not practical for home users considering its cost and how you can only use it for caching.

Seagate IronWolf 510 NVMe SSD 20
The Seagate IronWolf 510 SSD is a perfect NVMe drive for a desktop or laptop computer.

The decent synthetic scores, excellent real-world performance

But as a regular NVMe SSD, the IronWolf 510 SSD is totally worth the consideration, despite the fact it wasn’t the fast I’ve seen in synthetic tests, especially in write performance.

Specifically, in random tests, the IronWolf 510 SSD’s numbers were among the slowest. They were only faster than those of entry-level drives.

Seagate IronWolf 510 SSD Random Scores

In sequentially (copy) tests, though it, still wasn’t the best.

However, when I used it as the main drive for my test computer, which before that, ran on a Samsung 970 Pro, the IronWolf 510 SSD delivered virtually the same experience.

Seagate IronWolf 510 SSD Copy Scores

The machine booted up super fast in less than 10 seconds, and all applications took very little time to launch. I used the drive for almost a week before publishing the review and never once missed the Samsung.

In fact, the fact the Seagate had some three-time the endurance compared to the Samsung made using it even more fun. I didn’t have to think twice before doing some crazy write job on it.

Conclusion

The Seagate IronWolf 510 SSD is more of an enterprise storage device than one for general consumers. And if you look at it as a NAS-specific drive, it’s is not exactly suitable for home users, partly because there’re very few consumer-grade servers that can handle NVMe SSDs.

However, if you intend to use this new SSD as a regular NVMe drive, its exceptional longevity makes it an excellent fit for any home computer, especially for those needing to do a lot of writing. And if you also want extreme performance, get two and use them in a RAID 0 setup, if your gig allows that.

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