Seagate Momentus XT 750GB Solid State Hybrid Drive Review – SSD Performance With HDD Capacity

MOMENTUS XT PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The Seagate Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid Drive does not really have anything unique in the looks department. The drive looks essentially identical to other 2.5 drives:


The usual SATA and power connections are present as well. While it is meant for 2.5 laptop settings, it can easily fit into a desktop system as well:

For a size comparison, here is the Momentus XT paired next to a Motorola Grasp WX404 and an OCZ Vertex 2 60Gb SSD respectively:

As we can see, it has fundamentally the same dimensions as the Vertex 2, while being slightly heavier when weight by hand.

The underside of the drive is where we see the true meaning of hybrid. Both platter and SSD outlines are present.  For the SSD cache, an 8GB Single-Layer Cell (SLC) NAND flash memory rests by two disk platters, which have a rotational speed of 7200 RPM while being combined with 32MB of DRAM buffer memory:

The Momentus XT is termed as a Solid State Hybrid Drive, but it leans more towards the hard drive side than the SSD side. The size is a giveaway in itself, but there is another really innovative feature. If the 8Gb SLC SSD cache malfunctions, the Momentus XT will continue to operate as a normal hard drive. Additionally, the data will remain intact regardless, which speaks highly of its reliability and durability.

SPECIFICATIONS

What makes this marriage between tradition hard drive and SSD work is complex, but one of the main contributors is Seagate’s F.A.S.T. Factor Technology which will be outlined next.

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Anonymous
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Anonymous

The m4 ssd is one of the most reliable ssd out there. the 64 gig version can be purchased now for $109 free shipping no tax from newegg add a terabyte hd for mass storage and you get a faster, higher capacity and cheaper solution!
the 128 gig version is $199

Mrxfrost
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Mrxfrost

You can’t fit that configuration in most laptops. This is a 2.5inch drive perfect for laptops. If space isn’t an issue you could even look at a RAID system.

I have used the 500Gb XT for a year now and am impressed. Not just with the real world usage but in particular with Seagates commitment to sorting out the early issues with this drive. They are actually listening to these reviews taking onboard the criticism and working with its customers to progress the technology further and releasing regular updates.

Deepak Sharma
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I can vouch wholeheartedly with this!

XacTactX
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XacTactX

I think this is one of those situations where there has to be a paradigm shift in the priorities and what is being measured. A drive like this was not made to run benchmarks, it was made to learn and adapt to the usage scenario at hand. The fact that most benchmarks showed a small improvement, or no improvement at all, but the author was still raving about the product, is a testament to that. I think benchmarking the loading times of a suite of programs over consecutive runs would be a much better indicator of what this drive brings… Read more »

Deepak Sharma
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Thanks, and thanks a lot for the informative post!

While I didn’t push the fact, I was hoping readers such as yourself would figure out that there aren’t really any benchmarks that can effectively test the Momentus. I provided all of the benchmark tests one sees with essentially every drive, but they just don’t work due to the adaptive properties of the Momentus.

Again, thank you for the insight 🙂

Jay Perkins
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Jay Perkins

“The SSD bond really shows here, as traditional hard drives do not use firmware.”

Somebody needs to tell Seagate, they are distributing firmware updates to all those drives that don’t even USE firmware.

http://goo.gl/oXQL1

Mr SQL
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Mr SQL

“traditional hard drives dont even use firmware”. This statement is false.

Benjamin_500
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Benjamin_500

Anyone notice that from the Boot Time Comparison chart that Quicktime is rubbish no matter what system you have!

Ricky Lake
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Ricky Lake

Thanks! A really top review. Just confirms what I thought though; that these hybrid drives are largely pointless, or at least that they’ll have a very limited lifespan. I can’t see how SSDs can cost more to produce that mechanical drives, over the long term there’s no argument for having one of these drives. As it is they still can’t compete with SSDs, but whether they compete with a setup like I have which is 128GB SSD for O/S with a 1TB IDE for storing data, I’m still largely unconvinced, particularly given their price!