Seagate’s FireCuda Gaming SSD is a fast solution if games are gobbling up your fixed drive space. It projects your awesome gamer vibes too.
Do You Need an External Gaming SSD? You Probably Do
I’ll begin this review in a different way, by first addressing the question of do you need an external SSD for gaming?
Seasoned, younger gamers will roll their eyes at this question. But since Google included numerous variations of the query in its autofill, you can be sure thousands around the world have wondered about it
For me, yeah, the question was the first thing that came to mind when I was invited to review Seagate’s FireCuda Gaming SSD (price starts from SGD 342.40 on Amazon), and that’s no thanks to the 80s/90s gamer in me. Back then, waiting one to two minutes for a save wasn’t uncommon—you’re just glad you don’t have to change floppy disks twice or something. Few of us have the luxury of being able to play multiple games simultaneously too, not because we can’t afford it or parents are yelling, but because there’s no space in the hard drive.
And so the concept of installing games to a fast portable drive is very foreign to me. I’m long used to waiting for saves and playing one game ONLY at any one time.
But you don’t have to be like silly retro me, do you? Returning to the question, the answer is a resounding yes. If you own a large library of games and you want the freedom of being able to play any on a whim without having to worry about space usage, a portable gaming drive is the go-to solution.
The drive itself needs to fulfil several requisites for everything to make sense. It must be fast—one-minute saves or load screens, hell no! It needs to be portable and sturdy too, and for some, aesthetically representative of the gaming lifestyle.
These are the criteria with which I’d be evaluating the FireCuda Gaming SSD with. In advance, I’ll highlight that the FireCuda SSD exudes a strong minimalist design appeal but is heftier than you would expect for a drive of this size. Though it’s still very portable.
It delivers the advertised speed too. However, whether you get to enjoy the blazing transfer rates much depends on how you connect it.
Seagate FireCuda Gaming SSD Key Features
- Available in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB
- 10.0 mm × 52.5 mm × 104.4mm
- Up to 2000MB/s transfer speed with USB 3.2 gen 2×2 connection. (Reduced speed of 1000MB/s with USB 3.1)
- Customisable RGB LEDs
- Windows (NTFS)
Unboxing and First Impressions
Further on the build and appearance, the FireCuda Gaming SSD certainly feels sturdy because of its weight and polished surface. However, I get the impression that the surface might be prone to scratches. You probably wouldn’t want to pocket it with keys, etc. (Hmm, if only Seagate provides a pouch, like what some earphones packages do)
The corners are pointy too, though they are slightly rounded. You wouldn’t be able to kill aliens with it. But you wouldn’t want to tap someone’s head with them either.
Customisable LED Colours
I ought to leap ahead and review the transfer speed, but since Seagate promotes this as a key feature, I’ll examine this feature first.
It’s for branding. Not branding for Seagate but for you, i.e., to declare your gamer’s vibes and awesomeness to those around you. (Is there a better way to describe this?)
The LED is automatically activated the moment you plug in the drive too. However, if you wish to change the colour or customise it, you would need to download and install the free Seagate Toolkit. I would strongly recommend doing so as the toolkit performs other important functions like firmware upgrades. You can furthermore use it to sync with Razer Chroma™ RGB-enabled hardware for a so-called “connected gaming experience.”
Personally, I’m not too into such lighting effects. But after staring at the morphing colours for this review, I have to admit they exude a certain visual coolness. And kinda goes well with the morphing colours on my AfterShock gaming PC.
What’s important to note is also this. The LED colours are purely for aesthetics. The lights do not serve any warning functions. Don’t expect the SSD to blink red or something if it’s on the verge of a meltdown, etc. It’s not for that.
Transfer Speed of up to 2,000 MB/s
On Seagate’s official product webpage, the FireCuda Gaming SSD is described as capable of transfer speeds of “up to 2,000MB/s.”
The “up to” will make certain consumers frown, but it’s the manufacturer carefully moderating your expectations. Or stating a disclaimer, if you choose to look at it the opposite way.
I’ll put it as this. 2,000MB/s is the commonly cited peak transfer speed for USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 tech. However, whether you can achieve this speed depends on several things, beginning with whether you have the correct port and whether you are using the correct cable.
On the official FAQ, Seagate strongly recommends using the provided cable.
Obviously, your desktop/laptop needs to have a USB-C port that’s capable of 2×2 tech too. Not all gamers enjoy this capability.
If your rig doesn’t have a USB-C port, you could still use a USB-C to USB-A cable. But the speed then takes a significant hit.
On the same product webpage, Seagate states that a C-to-USB 3.0 is only capable of up to 500MB/s speed. I did exactly this connection on my 3-year-old Ryzen 7 3700 and the transfer speed for a 16GB folder of video clips hovered between 350MB/s and 415 MB/s. When I repeated the scenario but with a folder containing over a thousand files large and small, the transfer rate started averaging between 250MB/s and 300MB/s.
From an older HDD to the FireCuda, the transfer took much longer. A 5GB folder of 40 video clips required more than a minute with the transfer rate down to an average of 90MB/s.
It’s a lot of confusing numbers, isn’t it? Thus, real-world tests are perhaps more indicative. With the above worst-case scenario, I play Far Cry 6* and encountered no issues at all. (The game doesn’t have huge save files, though). No lags. Just two to three seconds or so during the autosaves, etc.
On the other hand, playing Spider-Man Remastered* withthe ideal connection yielded spectacular results, as in there were no discernible lags and saves/loads were a blink. Though it’s a matter of seconds, the gaming experience was noticeably faster than my fixed SSD.
The summary is thus this. Unless you have all the right connections, no pun intended, that phenomenal 2000MB/s speed is out of reach. But even without, the FireCuda Gaming SSD pretty much still does what it is made for with admirable speed. It does the best using whatever it has.
* GB ravenous open-world games like these are a good part of the reason why you need an external, gaming-devoted SSD.
Pricing and Conclusion
In summary, the FireCuda Gaming SSD is capable of a “blazing fast” experience but this hinges on whether you have the right ports on your rig. But even if you’re without the USB 3.2 Generation 2×2 tech empowering this speed, this is still a fast drive. With speeds good enough for most gaming/file management purposes.
The customizable LED lights are, well, a lifestyle signature. Purely aesthetic and exactly like those for gamers’ keyboards, mouse, etc. But for some, such aesthetics are important since they are part of the entertainment and identity, yes?
Coming to price, the FireCuda Gaming SSD is frankly not the most affordable drive in the market. At this moment of writing, the same price tag could get you a Samsung T7 Shield with twice the capacity but half the transfer speed.
In view of that, the FireCuda is only a good purchase if you:
- Are able to utilize the higher speed as much as possible, whether now or in the future.
- You want the look and style of a portable gaming drive that’s designed for gamers. One that expresses your gamer’s identity and in some scenarios, complements the look of your rig too.