Performance: 37 out of 40
While it is does not boast of having the absolute fastest theoretical performance, the FireCuda 540 is still blazing fast. So much so that a very, very good argument can be made that due to its cooler running nature it can be considered one of the fastest consumer SSDs available today when used in the real-world. Some will say that is being too optimistic. Either way the FireCuda 540 is blazing fast, and yet a lot easier to cool than some other PCIe 5.0 options.
Technological Innovation: 20 out of 20
When you combine cutting edge technology, a cutting-edge controller, and customized firmware that makes life easier for most consumers… well… the result is as close to perfection as one can find these days.
Build Quality & Warranty: 20 out of 20
Seagate almost always make good kit and the FireCuda 540 is a perfect example of that. It is robust. It is fast. It is user-friendly (by PCIe 5 standards). Mix in a warranty that is arguably one of the best, and possible the best, and we have no nits to pick with this drive… beyond 3 vs. 5-year data recovery warranty coverage. Which most other companies do not even include in the first place.
Value: 15 out of 20
On the one hand you do get a better warranty, better flexibility in build options, and more stable real-world performance when you opt for the FireCuda 540. On the other, when one builds an entire build around the competition… most of those advantages are nearly nullified. As such it will come down to peace of mind vs. sheer performance. Some will think paying basically the same for ‘less’ speed is a non-starter and consider the ‘Cuda 540 a ten out of twenty. Others will not care about minor differences in real-world performance and rather love the stability and warranty it offers… and consider it a perfect 20. We have split the difference and called it a 15. Few will consider it a 15 so adjust your final score accordingly.
Final Score: 92 out of 100
Seagate have always been known for innovation, quality, and performance. That is why they are the granddaddy of the Hard Disk Drive market and why they have seamlessly been able to transfer their institutional knowledge over to NAND based devices. Yes, experience does make a difference. While others just want to tick a box and be able to claim ‘worlds fastest’ Seagate make drives that are optimized for the real world, and real-world buyers… not their marketing department. So, if you want as user-friendly (high-performance) PCIe 5.0 NVMe as you can find, the FireCuda 540 must be on your shortlist. It is just that good.