Seagate Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid Preview

Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: The Seagate Momentus XT produced some interesting performance results. In the purely synthetic tests designed to look at raw throughput, the Momentus XT generally performed like a high-end, 7200 RPM hard drive--transfer rates typically fell between the WD Scorpio Blue and Seagate Barracuda desktop drive. In the system level benchmarks like those employed in PCMark Vantage, however, once the Momentus XT's adaptive memory technology learned the usage patterns and copied over the most commonly accessed bits of data to the solid state portion of the drive, performance improved dramatically. The Momentus XT was never able to truly match the performance of a true SSD, but its performance when the adaptive memory technology was used was far superior to a standard HD.

Although our benchmarks tell an interesting story, there is still a little more to discuss. Prior to evaluating the retail-ready version of the Momentus XT featured in this article, we had the opportunity to experiment with an alpha version of the drive. The benchmarks with the alpha version of the drive looked much like the ones presented here, but with the alpha drive we had enough time to experiment for a few weeks with the drive acting as a primary boot volume, with an full OS install, etc. It is difficult to say that all of the performance benefits we experienced were due to the drive itself, because Windows 7 also adapts somewhat to usage patterns, but the Seagate Momentus XT seemed to speed up the system, bit by bit, over time. Boot times, application launching, and web browsing in particular performed better after using the Momentus XT for a while, than when the OS was first installed.

While the Seagate Momentus XT doesn't clearly dominate all standard hard drives across every type of usage model, Seagate's hybrid implementation seems to address its intended performance result quite well. We would need to spend much more time evaluating final retail product to truly pass judgment on the effective of Seagate's adaptive memory approach to see how it reacts to being nearly full / cluttered for an extended period, littered with apps and media, etc. However, it seems Seagate is definitely on to something.

The initial three drives in the Seagate Momentus XT line-up will retail for $156 (500GB), $132 (320GB), and 250GB ($113). Those prices equate to roughly $0.31 to $0.45 per gigabyte, which puts these drive within striking distance of a standard HD in terms of price and much less expensive than any SSD. Considering the excellent performance of the Momentus XT when its on-board flash memory comes into play, we're impressed with what these drives have to offer.

If you'd like to learn more about the Momentus XT, Seagate and Asus will be hosting a webcast tomorrow, that's open to the public. And they're going to give away a trio of systems equipped with Momentus XT drives. "On Wednesday, May 26, at 11 a.m. PST, Seagate and OEM customer ASUS will co-sponsor a live webcast unveiling not only the new Seagate Solid State Hybrid drive, Momentus XT, but also featuring the new ASUS ROG G73JH system with two Momentus XT drives. Three lucky attendees of this webcast will win a new G73 system just for attending." Those of you that are interested in attending can do so, by
registering at this link.


  • Good Value
  • Excellent Performance
  • SSD-Like Performance, HD-Like Price
  • OS Independent


  • Solid State Storage Not Always Used
  • Largest Drive "Only" 500GB


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