Seagate hybrid drive approaches solid-state speeds at hard-disk prices


    A new hybrid drive from Seagate can approach near-solid state drive speeds in opening programs and booting up a PC, according to benchmarks from Laptop Magazine and ExtremeTech. The second-gen 750GB Momentus XT uses adaptive memory to store your most used files on a small bit of flash storage, giving it a huge speed jump on your most frequently performed tasks.

    The 750GB hard drive combined with 8GB of flash memory is designed to learn which files you most commonly use and cache them on the flash storage, allowing it to open programs very quickly. Laptop Magazine tests showed that after a few iterations, the Momentus XT was able to open Excel in 5.8 seconds, compared to 4.2 seconds for a Samsung SSD and 14 seconds for another 7200RPM HDD.

    The flash memory also has a reserved section for Windows boot files, to crank up boot speeds. ExtremeTech found that the Momentus XT could boot in 14 seconds, nearly matching the 11 seconds of an Intel 320 SSD and soundly beating the 54 seconds of a 7200RPM HDD.

    But the drive does have a significant weak point: performance under stress. Laptop Magazine clocked the drive at 22.6 seconds to open Excel while running a stress test, the same time it took a standard 7200RPM HDD. The Samsung SSD took only 6.7 seconds to open the same program under stress.

    While the Momentus XT hybrid won’t provide a massive speed-up in all situations, it will likely fill a niche for those looking for affordable speed without compromising on storage space. It’s priced at $249, about $100 more than a standard 7,200RPM drive and $40 more than a 128GB SSD.

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