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.

11 comments

  1. 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

    • 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.

  2. 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 to the table. In that scenario this will probably mean the best of both HDD and SSD worlds.

    Thank you for this review and the many other informative articles. 🙂

    • 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 🙂

  3. “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.

    https://goo.gl/oXQL1

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

  5. 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!

  6. Different model, but I have had the Momentus XT 500GB for about a year now and it got painfully slow after six months making new slowness records each month.. Maybe it’s just me getting partially spoiled by the SSD part, but still.. Sometimes I think I must be infected with everything bad crawling the web, bots, trojans and all sort of viruses hogging my system, but I am afraid it’s just a growing feeling of slowness. When the SSD part works it’s great, but it’s too small, only 4GB on this model, and when it switch to HDD it’s horribly slow. I think all that this drive and other hybrids really do is to wet your appetite for a total HDD-free SSD solution.. Which kind of explains why I am lurking around here; I think it’s time to go fully SSD.

  7. I will be first in line to buy 2-4 Hybrid HDD/SSD 2.5″ drives when there comes a version with a combination of 32-64GB SLC NAND Flash + 1TB 7200RPM (1TB platter, single platter) HDD + 64GB ECC DRAM. I am all for using 2.5″ form-factor drives in my desktop, as I can fit a lot more drives in a relatively limited space, and to be able to have MORE drives without sacrificing speed but rather enhancing it, is a dream come true!

    WD just announced a 2.5″ Drive with 64GB NAND that looks to be a “one up” of Seagate’s Momentus XT, and if they really pan out well, I will be buying at least two to start with and throwing them into a RAID0 array. Although I have a 256GB Samsung 830 SSD, and will soon have a second, I want large-capacity storage for uncompressed audio files (tens of thousands) and 1080p video files, not to mention games. 2-4x 1TB single-platter 2.5″ hybrid drives with 32-64GB SLC NAND each would make THE fastest RAID array that actually uses spinning disks.
    We’re talking 64-128GB/128-256GB of Solid State Storage with 2-4 Terabytes of disk storage! Combined with good detection algorithms, I don’t see why it couldn’t perform so close to actual SSD’s as to be imperceptible!

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