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

BOOT (WINDOWS 7) AND LOADING (ADOBE CS 5.5)

Adobe Creative Suite (CS) is a collection of graphic design, video editing, and web development applications made by Adobe Systems. The collection consists of Adobe’s applications (e.g., Photoshop, Acrobat, InDesign), that are based on various technologies (e.g., PostScript, PDF, Flash):

Time was calculated starting from POST and ending when the desktop appeared:

Again, with the FAST factor revving up, the Momentus XT produces excellent results, mirroring yields posted by the two closest SSD’s, and backing Seagate’s claim that the Momentus XT “can cut your system start-up time by up to 65% over a traditional HDD.”

REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS

As a person who owns and uses various SSD’s and the first-generation Momentus drive, I am very happy with the new Momentus XT. It delivers around 120/120Mbps read/write performance, directly competing against like drives on the market, and even challenging SSDs as shown in a few tests.

Fast Factor and Adaptive Memory Technology really help the Momentus XT shine, especially after looking at the PCMark 7, compression and transfer tests, and boot/loading benchmarks. Not only that, but for the Momentus XT to learn and adapt as fast as it does is astounding. For a hybrid to achieve SSD-like results is an amazing achievement and really shows how far Seagate has come in developing  hybrid-drive technology based off of the first Momentus.

The creators over at Seagate have themselves admitted that the Momentus XT  line is more of a learning process. It is an innovation in every sense of the word, but that does not make it perfect. There are a few issues, especially with the NAND processing as shown by a plethora of tests that outweigh its normal capability. An 8Gb SLC is just too small for today’s standards; it should be at least 32Gb, with 64Mbs of DRAM. This is also the reason as to why FAST is not capable of influencing write tasks. Among garbage collecting, Adaptive Memory, and FAST Management, the NAND just has too much to do with too little.

The other two downsides have nothing to do with the Momentus XT itself, but they do have a direct influence on it. With the recently flooding in Thailand which affected production of over 50% of the world’s hard drives, the prices of hard drives have risen dramatically. The 750Gb Momentus XT was priced at an MSRP of $189, but is now $250, with the 500Gb flavour being $160. Not only that, but Seagate has reduced the warranty from five years to just one. Just as an extra kick, SSD prices have begun to drop. While SSD’s may not have the same Gb/$ value as tradition hard/hybrid drives, many people are taking this opportunity to dive into the SSD market and buy into the hype.

Personally speaking, the Momentus XT would be perfect at $150 for the 750Gb version. With recent events however, one will have to make a conscious decision on which type of drive to buy. Speaking strictly of Momentus XT’s results though, I am honestly blown away. The concept of a hybrid drive was very intriguing to me, and to see it come into fruition as it has makes me confident for the future of hybrid drives. Anything that can lower the GB/$ value and acquiesce SSD-like speeds is a win-win in my book. If you’re on the fence on whether or not to get a hybrid drive, strike while the iron is hot and go for it. You will not be disappointed.

PROS
+ Large capacity
+ Hybrid solution performs like SSDs in boot and file transfer tests
+ Supports Native Command Queuing and SMART
+ FAST Factor and Adaptive Memory Technology pick up slack and substitute for exclusive SSD technologies
+ SSD/NAND failure allows the hybrid drive to function as a normal hard drive without the loss of data
+ Exceptionally high shock durability
+ SATA 3.0 compliant

CONS
– Price and warranty (post-facility flooding situation)
– Needs more than 8Gbs SLC NAND
– Needs 64Mb DRAM
– Results vary from test to test (non-constant performance)

Overall, I give the Seagate Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid Drive a solid and well-deserved 9/10 score, and would like to once again thank Seagate for providing this unique innovation for testing and reviewing.

Thoughts or Comments?

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Nick LeksanJan A.Ricky LakeBenjamin_500Deepak Sharma Recent comment authors
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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!