Lifespan: Up to 6 petabytes of Writes

Seagate is calling the Pulsar a 5 year drive. If you are absolutely dying to know how many writes you can do to the drive, there is a way of finding out.

Remember the sustained write figures from earlier? Seagate guarantees that you’ll be able to run at those sustained write rates for a period of 5 years before the drive dies.

I’ve done the math below:

Drive Sustained 4KB Random Write IOPS KB Written per Second # of Seconds in 5 Years (1825 days) Total Writes in 5 Years
200GB 10,500 42000 157,680,000 seconds 6167 TB
100GB 5300 21200 3113 TB
50GB 2600 10400 1527 TB


At 1527TB (or 1.49 petabytes) of random 4KB writes in a 5 year period, the 50GB Pulsar has a worse lifespan than Intel’s X25-E (the 64GB drive is specced at 2 petabytes of lifetime random writes).

The 200GB drive however can allegedly withstand over 6100TB (6 petabytes) of random writes before it goes to SSD heaven.

With no standardized method of testing or verifying any of these claims, we can’t do much more than take Seagate’s word for it. Given Seagate’s reputation in the industry, I’d expect that its word is worth it.

Final Words

There’s little more to say about Pulsar than what I’ve already mentioned. Seagate is finally getting in the game and, at least on paper, Pulsar appears to be in the class of Intel’s X25-E.

If Seagate can deliver on its promises, this should be good. Currently the enterprise SSD market is occupied by Intel, Samsung and a bunch of other contenders with unproven track records. Using Indilinx drives in a server environment is very tempting, but also potentially dangerous. There isn’t sufficient data out there today to say how long their drives will last under constant random writes. I tend to believe Seagate when they commit to Pulsar being a 5 year drive capable of over 6PB of random writes.

Pricing is another major unknown, but I’d expect the drives to be no cheaper than Intel’s X25-E: at least $11 per GB.

Even more exciting is the promise of consumer level SSDs from Seagate, possibly as early as 2010. Western Digital is next, whom I expect to join the race in 2010 as well. Once all of the major HDD players are in the race, we’ll see some real competition in both the high end and mainstream client SSD markets.

Seagate Goes Light on the Details


View All Comments

  • semo - Friday, December 11, 2009 - link

    try doing the above simultaneously. HDDs are not good at multitasking. Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Friday, December 11, 2009 - link

    That's what the "Fresh Test" is. 4.7x. Reply
  • DukeN - Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - link">

    This could be good
  • AnnonymousCoward - Thursday, December 10, 2009 - link

    I thought they had a joint Flash venture with Intel, so now they will be competitors? Reply
  • Genx87 - Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - link

    Once WD and Seagate enter the markets we may see these things start approaching Raptor like pricing. Which is good enough for enthusiasts. And eventually filter these things closer to mechanical drives. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - link

    They already provide a much greater boost for the additional cost over standard HDDs than the Raptors do. Reply
  • ClagMaster - Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - link

    I am not sure it is wise to write an article about SSD performance when the author does not have the actual article in his hands that he can personally test. Then, he can precisely tell us the make of the controller, its efficiency, and the true performance of the Pulsar SSD. Until that happens, I respectfully submit that most of this article is conjecture. I wish more concrete facts about this SSD were published.

    I think its great that Seagate is advancing the capacities of the Enterprise SSD over that of the Intel X25 products with the Pulsar. Even though its OEM, this drive will soon make its way to Newegg (which sells plenty of OEM products) to the hands of consumers. We need information ASAP on this product.

    However, I think Seagates behavior with the Pulsar Enterprise SSD says a lot about its confidence with this product. Surely Mr Shimpi certainly pulls enough weight as a credible hardware reviewer to be entrusted with an Engineering Sample prototypical of the actual OEM product to perform performance testing.

    After Mr Shimpi's dealings with OCZ last March with the Vertex(leading to his most excellent article on SSD performance), perhaps Seagate is afraid of what Mr Shimpi might uncover with the Pulsar.
  • Casper42 - Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - link

    So it seems to me that they are simply using the same size NAND modules and then amping things up using parallel channels.

    2 channel / 50GB
    4 channel / 100GB
    8 channel / 200GB

    I am wondering if there is a reason why they didn't make a 6 channel / 150GB model as this would be a direct competitor (based on size only) to the standard 146GB SAS drive that are found in MANY Enterprise servers.
  • notty22 - Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - link

    I'm curious that if after 5 years, performance had degradaed enough to warant retiring s 50 gb drive. If you wrote data say precious pictures and stored the drive, would they be there 5 years later, say 10-20 ? Reply
  • mcnabney - Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - link

    From the article:

    "...but perhaps Seagate has input into the firmware design."

    Ah hah hah hah hah


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