Seagate Firecuda 530 PS5 SSD Expansion Test

Testing the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD on the PS5

Time for another PS5 SSD Expansion Test and this time it is one of the hottest pick for the best M.2 NVMe upgrade drives, the Seagate Firecuda 530. Now that Sony has enabled the ability to expand the storage of the Playstation 5 in the latest software update (in beta at the time of writing), the range of potential PCIe M.2 SSDs that PS5 gamers are able to choose from is surprisingly vast. The minimum requirements of the M.2 update are 5,500MB/s sequential read (i.e big files), no longer than 22110 in length and PCIe Gen 4 M.2 Key interface in architecture. So, that narrows things down a little, but not by a vast amount. I made a master list of current compatible SSDs for PS5 HERE with help from Reddit users, but today I want to focus on the Seagate Firecuda 530, as it is one of the most commercially available, high value and high performing SSDs that are supported by PS5 right now. The Seagate Firecuda 530 is certainly supported by the Playstation 5 and in today’s test, I have opted for the smallest available capacity, as this is quite an expensive drive and I can imagine a number of buyers who choose this drive for its great architecture, will make a saving on the capacity. Let’s take a look.

IMPORTANT – In today’s article we will be testing 4 mid-range PS5 games. Bigger and more exhaustive titles (such as Spiderman Miles Morales, Rift Apart and Demon Souls) will be tested in a FULL comparison between the 6 BIGGEST/Most Popular M.2 NVMes that are compatible with the PS5 Expansion slot. Stay Subscribed for those next week!

PS5 SSD Expansion Seagate Firecuda 530 – Specifications

Seagate originally released the Firecuda series of SSDs a little over 2 years ago, but only the latest version, the Firecuda 530, has only JUST been released in August 2021. The specifications are particularly impressive, even at the 500GB smallest capacity and only got better as you scaled into the larger 4TB level at the top. The specifications are below:

Drive Firecuda 530 500GB

Firecuda 530 1000GB

Firecuda 530 2000GB

Firecuda 530 4000GB

Price 500GB – $149.99 1TB – $239.99 2TB – $489.99 4TB – $949.99
Warranty, Limited (years) 5+3yr Rescue 5+3yr Rescue 5+3yr Rescue 5+3yr Rescue
PCIe Gen M.2 PCIe Gen 4×4 PCIe Gen 4×4 PCIe Gen 4×4 PCIe Gen 4×4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4
NAND Type 176L 3D NAND 176L 3D NAND 176L 3D NAND 176L 3D NAND
Controller E18-PS018 E18-PS018 E18-PS018 E18-PS018
Performance ZP500GM3A013 ZP1000GM3A013 ZP2000GM3A013 ZP4000GM3A013
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7000MB 7300MB 7300MB 7300MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3000MB 6000MB 6900MB 6900MB
IOPS ZP500GM3A013 ZP1000GM3A013 ZP2000GM3A013 ZP4000GM3A013
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 400,000 800,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 700,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
DWPD 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7
MTBF, hours 1,800,000 1,800,000 1,800,000 1,800,000

PS5 SSD Expansion Seagate Firecuda 530 Test – Internal Speed Test

The first test is the easiest. When you boot the PS5 with the Seagate Firecuda 530 NVMe SSD inside the expansion slot, the system will immediately identify that it is installed and format the drive. Then the system makes a performance benchmark check in order to ascertain whether the drive is suitable for PS5 Game use. The Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD achieved 6,558MB/s Sequential Read on the PS5 internal system performance test. This is only a small dip from the reported maximum 7,100MB/s, but I hoped it would be a pinch higher.

PS5 SSD Expansion Seagate Firecuda 530 Test – Moving Games

Moving games from the internal console storage and onto the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD is very straightforward and can be conducted from the Playstation main menu, then on from the settings>storage manager menu. I moved the four games that will be used later in the article for performance and loading tests from the PS5 internal SSD and onto the Seagate Firecuda 530:

Initiating the move of these files is very easy, however when files were being transferred (much like in my testing of the PS5 and other compatible SSDs) it was nowhere near the speed I was expecting and in fact it became very apparent that the PS5 system much performs some encryption, compression or bit-checks as the files are moved. The result is that moving games from the internal PS5 SSD and onto the expansion slot with the Seagate Firecuda 530 took much, MUCH longer than I expects. This is not the fault of the M.2 SSD and more regarding the clear internal handling protocol and security of the PS5 System.

They did move however and once the games were moved onto the Seagate Firecuda 530 M.2 SSD, the data used was clearly visible in the storage manager. Let’s get on with testing the games.

PS5 SSD Expansion Seagate Firecuda 530 Loading Test 1 – Destruction Allstars

The first game to test loading times WITH the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD on the PS5 was Destruction Allstars. Again, I started the timer from the title screen and below is the results on how the internal SSD and m.2 SSD compared:

Both games ran very well, unsurprisingly, near enough identical performance with little or no difference. Both went from title screens, save game, options and match build to full gameplay control in 31 secs.

PS5 SSD Expansion Seagate Firecuda 530 Loading Test 2 – Control

Next was loading the game control directly from the PS5 player GUI and to test loading the game into a save and into direct gameplay would take, comparing the internal storage to the Seagate Firecuda 530 expansion SSD.

Interestingly The Seagate Firecuda 530 seemingly loaded the game a pinch faster at 16 seconds, 1.2 seconds faster than the PS5 internal SSD. This is small beer but worth recording, as ultimately both games took a still respectably short time to load the save file and load into gameplay from the main PS5 library menu.

PS5 SSD Expansion Seagate Firecuda 530 Loading Test 3 – Maneater

The third game to test on the PS5 and using the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD was Maneater. Rather than loading from the main PlayStation user interface, I opted to load the games from their own title screens, as this allowed me to not factor in the publisher and studio logos at startup that is unskippable and therefore would just hamper the comparison. Here is how the game running from the internal PS5 SSD compared with running on the Seagate Firecuda 530:

This was slightly an area of contention, as although both games loaded into the game fat (with the Seagate Firecuda 530 doing ti 1.5secs faster), they did load into different locations and this might have played a part. Nevertheless, load times were very close, and as long as they run at the same pace, that is always going to be a plus!

PS5 SSD Expansion Seagate Firecuda 530 Loading Test 4 – Wreckfest

Next up was Wreckfest. I loaded this on the Seagate Firecuda 530 and PS5 internal SSD from the title screen and quickly skipped through the options and config menus. Only off-line play was selected, to remove any server/internet connectivity delays from the equation.

Once again, the Seagate Firecuda 530 was a clear second or more after, even with the slight differences in menu transition removed from the time difference. It’s once again worth highlighting that although these differences are very small, they are all still important, as later in the system’s life, you are going to want to know that this SSD can stand the test of time and greater demands from the PS5 hardware in future titles.

PS5 SSD Expansion Seagate Firecuda 530 Loading Test 5 – Innocence A Plague Tale

Finally was A Plagues Tale. I selected this larger world title as it has a lot of world assets that need drawing very early on. The game was loaded directly from the title screen and below is both the game running from the PS5 SSD and the Seagate Firecuda 530:

For me, this was the clearest win for the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD over the internal SSD. Although it was barely 1.2 seconds faster, it was the one where there was little to no difference in their loading side-by-side and the Seagate Firecuda was clearly the faster. It’s all relative, as we are talking an odd second here or there, but it’s still good to know that upgrading your PS5 with the Seagate Firecuda 530 will not present any kind of bottleneck. Right now, the best performing SSD for PS5 stands at the Segate Firecuda 530 and the WD Black SN850.

PS5 SSD Expansion Seagate Firecuda 530 – Conclusion

It will not come as a massive shock that I definitely recommend the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD for use in the PS5 expansion slot. Since the M.2 NVMe upgrade and expansion slot of the PS5 was first enabled, there has been ALOT of compatible PCIe Gen 4 SSDs that meet the minimum recommended specifications of the system. So, why should you spend more on the Seagate Firecuda 530? It is good, but is it THAT good? I would say yes. Although at the moment, the focus on write activity is low/none, that might well change in future if recordings, streaming and large scale online services (where drive activity needs to balance read/write simultaneously) allow m.2 SSD access as a target. Additionally, you cannot overlook the added endurance of this drive that will likely outlive your system, or at least withstand the hammering of use from eSports and professional gamers. Finally, there are the 3yrs professional Seagate Rescue Recovery services that allow users to access free data recovery services from the drive in the event of it failing through no fault of your own, power surges and corruption. I have already reviewed this service here and I do genuinely recommend it personally. Seagate is clearly focusing on ENDURANCE and LONGEVITY on their choice of SSD here for gamers and does it, whilst still providing some of the highest performance available from an m.2 PCIe4 NVMe SSD. Impressive.

Drive Firecuda 530 500GB

Firecuda 530 1000GB

Firecuda 530 2000GB

Firecuda 530 4000GB

Price 500GB – $149.99 1TB – $239.99 2TB – $489.99 4TB – $949.99

 


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