Seagate FireCuda 520 Review – When I was researching for a motherboard to complement my AMD Ryzen 7 PC build, most people recommended to get a cheaper, non-X570 motherboard. I’m glad I didn’t listen and went for the GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Elite (Wi-Fi) instead. The X570 supports the new PCIe Gen4 ×4 architecture which opens up a whole new world of performance to future storage devices.

And that future is already here. Seagate FireCuda 520 utilises the X570 new PCIe Gen4 and now rocks the SSD NVMe world with its whopping 5,000 MB/s read speed!

At a glance, the FireCuda 520 M.2 NVMe SSD looks similar to the FireCuda 510 that was sitting in my computer as the Games drive. It comes with an option of 500GB, 1TB, or 2TB capacity. The one I have here is the 1TB model.

Seagate FireCuda 510 vs 520
Seagate FireCuda 510 and 520 side by side

If you have a PCIe Gen4 motherboard, you can just plug the FireCuda 520 into the M.2 slot and don’t really have to do anything else. Windows will then recognise the drive, just like any other storage. Also note that the FireCuda 520 is backward-compatible with PCIe 3.0, in case you are thinking to upgrade your system later but want to get a hands on the FireCuda 520 now.

And boy, this thing flies! With a sequential read/writes up to 5,000/4,400 MB/s, the FireCuda 520 is the fastest NVMe SSD drive I’ve ever tested and reviewed on (disclosure: this is the first PCIe Gen4 storage device that I ever get a hands on).

Using CrystalDiskMark as a benchmark test, I could get 5,622/4,426 MB/s read and write speed. Crazy. Compared that to the FireCuda 510 benchmark side by side on the same system:

The test was being performed on these system specs:

Processor AMD Ryzen 7 3800X with Precision Boost Overdrive and Auto Overclock turned on
Cooler CORSAIR H115i RGB PRO XT All-in-One Liquid Cooling
Memory 32GB Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4 RAM, overclocked with XMP profile to 3200MHz
PSU CORSAIR RM650 (650 Watt 80 PLUS Gold Certified Fully Modular PSU)
Graphics Card MSI NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti

So, why do you need this crazy read/write speed? For gamers and creative professionals, having a fast drive is the core of everything they do. Gamers that play huge, open-world games like Fallout 4 have many loading mechanics (loading screens, seamless map section loading in the background, unpacking models & sprites, etc). Having the games installed on the FireCuda 520 means less seeing the loading screens and zero stutter as games try to load all these pieces in the background.

Even seeing how fast can the FireCuda 520 write files made me excited like little boys getting a new toy.

FireCuda 520 writing files

For content creators like myself, the FireCuda 520 can also be used as the working drive for 4K video editing. 4K video files are huge and can take ages to be imported and processed on a video editing software like DaVinci Resolve Studio or Adobe Premiere Pro. Things are definitely much faster and more responsive on the FireCuda 520. And if you are upgrading from a SATA SSD, going from a read speed of 500MB/s to 5,000MB/s is a huge difference!

Seagate FireCuda 520 Review Conclusion

Seagate FireCuda 520 Review

Seagate FireCuda 520 M.2 NVMe SSD running on PCIe Gen4 is a luxurious storage with blazing fast performance. It offers big jump in terms of performance from the standard PCIe Gen 3 NVMe SSD like the FireCuda 510, or from a SATA SSD like the Seagate IronWolf 110 which is limited by the Sata 6 Gbps interface. The gap in terms of read and write speed is quite tremendous and you’ll have to pay for it.

If you are looking for the fastest drive, this is it, folks (just make sure your system can support it).

Seagate FireCuda 520 has a 5-year limited warranty, available now, and retails for AU$179 (500GB), AU$359 (1TB), and AU$669 (2TB).

Disclosure: Seagate FireCuda 520 review sample was supplied for reviewing but all opinions are mine and not paid

Seagate FireCuda 520
Overall
5

Summary

Man, this thing flies. This thing really flies. Did I just repeat myself? If you have the money and want the fastest drive possible, just take your wallet out already

Pros

  • Super fast as a gaming drive
  • Super fast as a media post-processing drive
  • Luxurious performance

Cons

  • Requires motherboard supporting Gen4 ×4, but not this guy’s fault
  • Pricey

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