Seagate Momentus XT 750GB Hybrid Drive

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Seagate’s first Momentus XT hybrid drive arrived about a year and a half ago. The original drive featured a 500GB hard drive paired to 4GB of SLC NAND flash and a SATA 3.0 interface. At the time of its release, the original Momentus XT turned out to be a rather compelling product. Its price was relatively low and Seagate’s adaptive memory technology “just worked”, which resulted in increased performance that was seamless to the end-user, regardless of the OS being used.

Today Seagate is ready to reveal its next iteration of the Momentus XT. The updated version of the drive we’ll be showing you here today features a 750GB storage capacity, with 8GB of SLC NAND flash, and a faster SATA 6.0Gbps interface. Much of the underlying technology is similar, but this new drive has more magnetic storage, more flash memory, a speedier interface, and its adaptive memory algorithms and hybrid data management tools--dubbed Fast Factor--have been tweaked for better real-world performance versus the original. Full specifications are below, with a performance profile to follow...

Seagate Momentus XT 750GB Hybrid Drive
Specifications & Features


  
The Seagate Momentus XT 750GB Drive

As we’ve mentioned, the Seagate Momentus XT 750GB drive features 8GB of integrated SLC NAND flash, linked to the traditional platter-based storage via an intelligent controller. The drive conforms to the standard 2.5” form factor with 9.5mm Z-Height, and sports a SATA 6.0Gbps interface. 32MB of DRAM cache is also incorporated into the drives, and they feature 7200RPM spindle speeds. Looking at the pictures above, there’s nothing that hints to the hybrid nature of the Momentus XT. They simply look like standard 2.5” hard drives. But, rest assured, they are very different.

Although Seagate hasn’t revealed all of the secret-sauce that makes the Momentus XT unique in the current market, understanding how the drive works is fairly straightforward. The 8GB of SLC NAND flash is used as a high-speed repository of sorts. The controller on the Momentus XT monitors usage patterns and copies the most frequently accessed bits of data from the hard drive to the solid state storage. And it all happens independent of the OS or drivers. According to Seagate, the data on the hard drives has to be accessed multiple times before it is copied to the solid state storage and the contents of the flash memory will dynamically and constantly change over time, based on usage. To put it simply, the most commonly accessed data on the platters gets copied to the much higher performing, SLC Flash memory, which results in a performance boost. And it’s not necessarily full files being copied, but rather the most frequently accessed bits of data. We should also point out that a new feature to the updated Momentus XT called Fast Boot uses a small portion of the solid state cache for data used during the boot process, which resides in a special location and won't change often, in order to maintain quick boot times.

Knowing how the adaptive memory on the Momentus XT works, reveals one of the drawbacks of a hybrid design such as this one—the flash memory will offer no performance benefit to infrequently accessed or new data. So, with large file copies, application installations, and the like, the Momentus XT will perform like a standard HD.
 

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Great review Marco, glad to see Seagate is keeping up with these drives. I have the 500gig momentus xt in my wife's laptop. I love it, speedy with more room than an ssd. We really only use the laptop for basic tasks(internet, office, music/movies) so this drive is perfect, and I would recommend it to anyone who is in the market for space and wants that little extra kick in the pants.

That being said I agree with you Marco, for a desktop there are certainly better options but for a laptop I think it works really well.

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The Seagate Momentus XT was a revolutionary drive at it's time... It was the first hybrid drive that was adorable and in the face of all the competition, it carved a niche for itself.

Today, not so much...

I mean it's nice that Seagate is keeping up by adding a more efficient algorithm and a SATA 6Gbs interact but let's be honest, there are newer SSD's and hybrid drives out there that are more powerful and more efficient then the original Momentus and more surprisingly the newest Momentus. Again, it was the product of it's time and while it may serve some people the same way as the original product did, I think it's about time they took it back to the drawing board.

Still, good review Marco!

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Still good to see that Seagate developed the Momentus Xt series a bit more and for a single HD disk with a bit of storage& is no slouch for a single -drive set-up. very nice to see that the $.31 per GB cost is not to shabby either for the increased boot/ and speed performance upgrade.Be interested to see what the price of a 500GB version like the one Drake mentioned would be to recommend as well.By the time the HD prices get back to normal in a bit be interesting to see what some decent 250GB SSD drives will be going 4 for as well.

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Pretty cool... I don't think this will last all that long though.

The price of SSD's will be going down quickly I think, especially the first generation SSD's that are ~250mbps

Recently bought a 160gb ssd for ~$130... which is a great price.

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A nice evolution but honestly, nothing new. This is still a 1st gen hybrid drive

If this were a 2nd gen hybrid, I'd expect at least 16-32GB of flash per terabyte, and it wouldn't be read-only either.

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cannot wait for these guys to come up with 1TB of those puppies

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I love the idea of this drive, even though im not a huge Seagate fan, ive been pretty curious about them and i wish i could win one rather than have to go buy one.I really like the idea of SSD's too, but im just as leary of those too. I hate venturing into unsure tech and being totally dissapointed with it, and worst of all, being stuck with it and out the cash!!

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I remember the flood in Singapore or Malaysia causes the price to rise in HDD

$200~ for a WD Caviar Black 1TB pretty sad :_(

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That is a sick set of stats for a product fitted to preform, it was created with i7 in mind and the best of the best to be its companions, i am not a little bit irked at the thought of not having one but then again i do love my hardware. it would be quite a great experience to take a top of the line hardware set and connect with this hard drive the only issue would be finding something it couldn't do.

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I had one of the '1st' gen 500Gb hybrid drives. For all intents and purposes it didn't feel any faster than the regular drive it replaced. Now that was in a notebook and its possible the IO was gimped in a similar way that intel does with its netbook chipsets, but you'd still expect a bit faster performance right?

With SSDs continuing to drop in price (though not anywhere near as fast as I'd like) and offering absolutely noticeable performance improvements over spindle based drives, I'm not really sure there is a big enough market for these hybrid devices. Perhaps 5-8 years ago when they were first proposed they would have been amazing, but now.... meh

For me, its a case of too little too late.

Seagate and WD have to get off their backsides and start throwing some big dollars at creating their own lines of true SSDs instead of letting the small fish (corsair, OCZ, etc etc) eat their dinner.

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