For many looking to build a PC or upgrade a laptop, buying an SSD can be a complicated endeavour, but Seagate’s Barracuda 510 drive could be the perfect choice – let’s take a look!
SSDs come in a variety of form factors and speeds, ranging from bulky 2.5″ SATA drives (which are typically older and always slower), to newer M.2 drives – a slim PCB which fits into a much smaller form factor than the designs it replaces. You then have various speed standards, namely PCI-E Gen 3 and Gen 4, with this drive sitting in the more affordable Gen 3 bracket.
This makes it a potentially great choice for someone looking to either, build a PC with fast but not ludicrously expensive storage, or someone looking to upgrade an older system that doesn’t support the faster Gen 4 standard.
Despite all of this jargon, the drive still advertises speeds in the region of 3000MB/s (equivalent to about 180GB of data transfer in a single minute!), which is plenty fast enough for the vast majority of users.
Once you’ve seen one M.2 SSD, you’ve basically seen them all! This drive isn’t much different, but that isn’t a bad thing. A slim PCB, with data chips on one side does the job nicely. The only aesthetic gripe you could raise would be the use of a blue PCB, rather than a black one. If you move up the Seagate range, and look at the Firecuda gaming drives that’s when the PCB colour change occurs, to more stealthy black colours.
Seagate advertise a total data lifespan of 640TB on this drive, which is pretty inline with what you’d hope to see, and would (theoretically) allow you to wipe the drive clean and change all the data 640 times! These data lifespans are something which exist much more commonly on SSDs than hard drives, due to the nature of the flash storage used.
Move up to enthusiast or enterprise drives and this lifetime data throughput will increase, but the 640TB here is more than enough for the vast majority of users.
As much as you can discuss the colour of a drive’s PCB or data chip layout, the thing that actually matters on this SSD is speed. We booted up Crystal DiskMark, a great speed test of any drive, to test out performance.
The headline numbers are what we’d recommend you compare against, and here the drive was pretty inline with what we were expecting. 30002MB/s drifted a little from the 3400MB/s advertised, but not by a great deal and this will be impacted by the testing method.
Write speeds did drift further from the read speeds than on pricier drives, but at 3GB/s and 2GB/s respectively the numbers are solid. For most users it is the read speed which matters most, when writing to the drive you’ll often be constrained by external factors, like internet speed or the capability of another drive. The vast majority of applications also won’t touch 2GB/s of write speeds, either.
If you’re looking to compare this drive to other options on the market, the WD Black is probably the closest shout. It is also a Gen 3 NVMe drive, with speeds in and around the 3GB/s or 3000MB/s mark on the read side of the equation.
The Barracuda 510 is a solid choice if you’re after a fast, affordable drive from a reputable manufacturer. We’d have like to see write speeds a touch higher, but in our day to day testing we still managed to get very close to the speeds Seagate advertise on this drive.
It’s a simple, reliable, no nonsense design that works well for the vast majority of PC builders and laptop-upgraders out there!