Seagate IronWolf 510 SSD, hands on: An enterprise-class cache to speed up your NAS Review

The IronWolf 510 is designed to act as an SSD cache in HDD-equipped NAS containers.

The IronWolf 510 is designed to act as an SSD cache in HDD-equipped NAS containers.

Graphic: Seagate

When you want to pack a NAS gadget with storage, tricky drives are however the ideal option for potential. And if you want to strengthen general performance for many customers accessing the identical community storage concurrently, without decreasing potential by supplying up any drive bays, the hottest NAS containers have an M.two slot to accommodate an SSD. If you’re applying Home windows Server Storage Areas Immediate, it will quickly established up any NVMe drive as the generate cache. 

Seagate’s new IronWolf 510 is an NVMe SSD specially designed for this reason, with dynamic overprovisioning for endurance and information protection, 256-bit AES encryption, a controller with capacitors to give the drive further time to generate information if there is a energy loss, and a huge DRAM cache — 2GB on the 1.92TB model we tested. With 1 full drive generate for each working day and a five-year guarantee, the IronWolf 510 ought to have about a few situations the endurance of a usual desktop NVMe drive. 


With 1GiB exam documents, the IronWolf 510 provides the advertised general performance stage for sequential reads and writes.

Graphic: Mary Branscombe / ZDNet

Tests with CrystalDiskMark using 1GiB files arrived shut to the promised 3GB/s read and 1GB/s generate speeds on extensive sequential functions (as you’d assume with the dimension of the DRAM cache), which is a lot more than ample general performance to cache a NAS full of tricky drives: in actuality, it could retain up with an all-flash NAS applying SSDs as all those develop into a lot more inexpensive, and the outstanding endurance means the IronWolf drive ought to be anything you can transfer to a new procedure that you make investments in. 


With 1GiB documents, the Intel Optane SSD beat the IronWolf’s generate velocity, but couldn’t match the Seagate SSD’s read velocity backed by its 2GB DRAM cache. After the exam documents are far too huge for the IronWolf DRAM cache (8GiB), read general performance drops but generate velocity retains up well.

Knowledge & chart: Mary Branscombe / ZDNet

But actual-environment general performance will most likely be different, specifically for more substantial documents or all those not in the DRAM cache. When we tested with an 8GiB file, sequential writes remained close to 1GB/s, sustaining general performance greater than the Intel Optane SSD (tested as an NVMe drive) that we made use of for comparison, but the read velocity dropped noticeably for sequential information. With numerous compact random reads or writes, storage general performance is constantly considerably much less efficient: the IronWolf 510’s generate general performance was a match for Optane, but read general performance was just around 50 percent that of Optane. 

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For the reason that it really is designed for caching, the IronWolf would not be as valuable in other scenarios. Tests it as a boot drive in an Intel NUC file server accessed by many customers and devices on the community failed to perform well, for illustration. However, that was because of to a firmware bug in the NUC motherboard that prompted it to refuse to boot with an NVMe drive it calculated as gradual, alternatively than any issues with the drive by itself. 

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At £459/$519.ninety nine, the 1.92TB model is not low cost although (there are a lot more inexpensive 240GB, 480GB and 960GB options and it really is surely more cost-effective than the M.two SSDs Synology provides for caching). If you review it to a consumer SSD you may possibly imagine the generate velocity is on the small facet, but which is not what it really is meant for. 

This is extremely specially a way to get greater general performance out of a NAS that you’ve got maxed out on potential to provide many customers who are complaining that they want quicker accessibility, specifically to a lot of documents saved in the identical folder. Profile your community storage very first: it really is not most likely to make any variance on other NAS responsibilities like rebuilding the array, but if this form of cache will enhance productivity, the significant price tag tag will be worth it. 

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