This new hybrid hard drive combines up to 500GB of storage and 4GB of flash memory to maximize performance. But does it have what it takes to place in between traditional hard drives and flash-based storage? We test on a desktop and notebook to find out.
The idea isn’t particularly new: why not combining a non-volatile, high-speed silicon memory with rotating storage to combine the best of both worlds, meaning maximum speed and maximum storage capacity? Hybrid hard drives (H-HDDs) arrived in 2007, and they disappeared soon after because there was hardly any real benefit. Today, Seagate unveils a new type of hybrid that is similar to the initial H-HDD concept. However, the new Momentus XT does not rely on operating system support, and hence should be more versatile.
Momentus XT is a Hard Drive!
You can combine flash memory and a physical hard drive in one of two ways: either add rotating storage to flash memory or vice versa. Seagate did the latter, and placed 4GB of flash memory onto its Momentus 7200 2.5” hard drive design. Of course, the implication is that, in a worst-case scenario, this drive will behave and perform like a conventional hard drive. This isn’t bad, but it’s important to keep in mind as we move through the benchmarks.
Despite all of the advantages that exist in theory, H-HDDs were frankly a disappointment when they first emerged. Therefore, Seagate has to be given credit for launching a product into this still-undefined market space. On the one side there are flash SSDs, which deliver maximum performance at significant cost. And on the other side you can get 2.5” hard drives at up to 750GB, but these can't even come close to the performance experience you get with a flash-based SSD. For the folks in the middle, a hybrid type really appears to be the way to go.
Seagate made sure that the Momentus XT is suitable for seamlessly replacing an existing hard drive design. It looks and behaves like any other 2.5” hard drive (9.5 mm z-height), it requires similar power, and it has a SATA 3Gb/s interface. We also like that Seagate adds its five-year warranty on top, which we believe is important for a new product that still has to find its way. Let’s get started.
- Seagate’s Solid State Hybrid Drive Reviewed
- HDD + Flash = Seagate Momentus XT
- Adaptive Memory Technology
- Test Setup And Throughput Diagram
- Benchmark Results: Throughput And Interface
- Benchmark Results: Access Time And I/O Performance
- Benchmark Results: PCMark Application Performance
- Benchmark Results: MobileMark 2007 And SYSmark 2007
- Benchmark Results: Power And Efficiency