Hot off the heels of the Seagate Momentus 750GB hard drive review, we’re following that up with the Momentus XT of the same capacity. If you recall from our review on the Momentus XT 500GB a little under two years ago, the this line of drives are hybrids of SSDs and HDDs that are intended to give SSD-like performance with HDD price and capacity. It’s been a popular design as Seagate has informed us that they’ve sold over 1 million hybrid drives word wide. We felt the drive held a lot of promise and value but still had a ways to go before approaching the performance numbers across the board of an SSD. Now that the newest generation is out, we’ll see how that compares to a number of different drives from pure hard drives to pure SSDs as well as the original 500GB XT drive we tested. According to Seagate, we should see a 1.5x increase in performance.
Using the catchy acronym infused term “FAST (Flash-Assisted Storage Technology) factor” is what Seagate uses to describe the fusion of spinning platter and solid state components to enhance the user experience. This is new for this generation. Just like the previous generation, the drive employs what Seagate calls Adaptive Memory Technology which uses algorithmic based self-learning to selectively cache the most frequently accessed and time-consuming data to retrieve on the 8GB SSD portion of the drive to serve it up with speed that cannot be matched by the spinning platter portion of this or any drive. The result is faster boot and file/application loading times and the results are definitely noticeable. Seagate actually states that it’s up to 300% faster in this configuration, with “up to” being the key words. The nice part is that this is all OS agnostic and is handled on the drive itself so there are no worries about incompatibilities. Also, fears of data loss can be allayed since the cached data is archived on the hard drive portion for redundancy. At $245 MSRP, its performance rivals that of a 10k RPM drive which currently run over $500 for a drive of comparable size.
Here’s a nice little video Seagate produced comparing the Momentus XT 750GB versus a 10K RPM SATA drive:
We mentioned the on board NAND capacity is now 8GB, up from 4GB of the previous generation but the cache has remained the same at 32MB. Also new on this iteration of the drive is the SATA 6Gbps interface which allows ample bandwidth to handle the speeds offered by the SSD portion of the drive. The previous generation had the the 3Gbps interface which may have limited performance in some instances. Seagate has also upped the warranty to 5 years which is terrific.
So all of this sounds nice but how is it in practice? We’ll see. But first, we’ll note that this drive is not optimized for a lot of synthetic benchmarks so the results may not show how the drive will perform in real world situations. However, it at least gives a good starting point.