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Seagate Momentus XT 500GB Hybrid Hard Drive Review

Author: AkG
Date: January 12, 2011
Product Name: Seagate Momentus XT 500GB
Part Number: ST95005620AS
Warranty: 5 Years
Purchase at NCIX: | | UK
 
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Conclusion


Unlike certain emerging technology segments, true innovation is hard to come by in mature markets like the one Momentus XT series plays in. Hard drive technology really hasn’t changed all that much for some time but Seagate has designed a product that shatters some longstanding beliefs and ends up setting new standards for performance. The impressive performance in some areas does come with a few pitfalls but for all intents and purposes, the Momentus XT proves itself to be one hell an upgrade for laptop users.

The performance numbers we saw in testing were interesting to say the least since synthetic tests really don’t do this drive any justice. Where it really takes a step away from the pack is in the all-important real world tests. In every application we tested, Seagate’s hybrid drive simply demolished the competition.

With that being said, there are a few caveats worth pointing out here. Under certain circumstances Seagate’s technology can boost the read speeds into the stratosphere but it simply can’t do it for every single file on the drive. To be blunt, 4GB of NAND – even high quality SLC NAND – is simply not enough. Today’s systems have huge storage requirements it would have been great to see at least 16GB for caching often-used files. In addition, the Adaptive Memory Technology doesn’t boost write speeds since the onboard NAND is purposely removed from the equation. It also needs time to learn usage habits so the differences between the XT and a standard hard drive may not be readily apparent from the get-go.

Hard drive technology hasn’t seen much forward progress in the past decade or so but Seagate’s Momentus XT represents an enticing glance into the near future. It leverages technologies from the SSD and HDD worlds in order to build a drive that’s able to successfully bridge the gap between the two. This is the first highly successful step for hybrid drives and once the design is refined, we may be looking at a series of products that can finally offer the perfect balance between price, performance and capacity.


Pros:

- Stunning real-world performance
- Reads vary from good to exceptional
- Decent write speeds for a 7200 RPM “laptop” drive
- 5 Year Warranty
- Reasonable price

Cons

- While still reasonably priced, it still is a lot of money for a 500GB, 7200rpm 2.5” hard drive
- 4GB of SLC NAND is simply not enough
- Write speeds are never boosted by the NAND


 
 
 

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