Seagate Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid Preview

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Solid State Drives are all the rage with PC Enthusiasts these days. Although relatively expensive in comparison to standard hard drives, Solid State Drives have gotten very popular and have earned a reputation as one of the most significant performance upgrades available to enhance general system responsiveness. Capacities are relatively low in comparison to standard hard drives, but access times and transfer rates are in a different league altogether. And it’s a good SSD’s quick access times and speedy transfers that dramatically impact the end user experience, for the better. Solid State Drives are simply different beasts versus traditional hard drives and the performance difference is easily perceptible to the end user.

Although there has been some noise over the years about hybrid drives that somewhat bridge the gap between hard drives and solid state drives, but they haven’t had a significant impact on the overall market. Hit your favorite on-line retailer and you’ll find a slew of SSDs and hard drives available, but nothing in between. If you need large amounts of storage space, a hard drive is a necessity (unless you’ve got an unlimited budget). But if it’s maximum performance you crave, only an SSD will do. Today, however, Seagate aims to change that with the release of the new Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid.

The Seagate Momentus XT mates 4GB of solid state storage with a traditional 2.5” hard drive in an attempt to bridge the current gap between hard drives and SSDs. Seagate claims the Momentus XT can offer the same kind of enhanced user experience as an SSD, but with the capacity and cost of a traditional hard drive. That’s a pretty tall order. Does the Momentus XT deliver? Let’s find out…

Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid Solid State Drive
Specifications & Features


Looking at the Seagate Momentus XT’s features and specifications, it’s only the “Solid State Memory” entry (second from the top) that reveals that this drive is somehow different than a traditional hard drive. Other than that, the Seagate Momentus XT’s specs read like those of a modern, 7200RPM, 2.5” SATA hard drive. And as you’ll see on the next page, it looks like a standard HD too.

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Any insight on boot time\resume\etc speed with Windows 7?  Supposedly Windows 7 was designed to work more efficiently with hybrid drives.  Supposedly.

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The problem with boot testing and Windows 7 is that Windows also optimizes for faster boot times, over time. During initial testing it was impossible to tell whether it was specifically Windows or the Momentus that was actually improving the boot time. And the optimization starts immediately. If there was a way to disable the integrated flash, restart Windows X number of times over the course of a few days. Then enable the flash and check for boot time improvements, we could give some hard data. But as it is, it's difficult to say how much the adaptive memory helps with boot times.

If you look at the Vantage test results, however, the Vista startup benchmark shows that there would be boot time improvements thanks to the Momentus' adaptive memory.

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It would be interesting to see how this drive compares to a similar hard drive paired with 4GB of fast flash (SDHC, class 10, etc.) and Microsoft's ReadyBoost under Win 7!

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@Xylo - Readyboost has shown to provide little to no real-world performance benefit. A standard HD paired to some flash memory using Readyboost wouldn't compete with the Momentus XT's adaptive memory technique.

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I don't know. I would of liked it if they used the SSD more, made it 10,000 RPM, increased the capacity and if the HD would of used SATA 6GB's. Otherwise it's a good hard drive, just not one people would like to put in their gaming systems.

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I like the performance of it. The prices are manageable too. This may be something worth considering until SSD prices come down out of the Stratosphere.

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