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Seagate Hybrid-HDD-SSD Unveiled for Notebooks

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 22 comments

Seagate's new drive will toss your most-used data into its built-in NAND flash memory for a huge performance boost.

Last week we reported that Seagate was teasing the press with a "game changing" device that would be revealed this week. Additional reports indicated that it would be a hybrid drive that combined the capacities and low costs of a hard drive with the speed of a solid state disk. Holding true to its promise, Seagate on Monday revealed the Momentus XT drive, slated to be the fastest 2.5-inch laptop hard drive ever created.

The concept is simply awesome: merging 7200rpm platters (250 GB, 320 GB, and 500 GB) with 4 GB of SLC NAND flash. Seagate's Adaptive Memory technology combines the two by identifying patterns in how often certain digital data is used. The most frequently used data is thus moved to the solid state memory for faster access. In essence, it's tailor made to each individual user while offering a huge performance gain in return.

"We see the Momentus XT drive as a game changer, a product heralding a new generation of hard drives that combine SSD and HDD capabilities so that laptop users don’t have to make trade-offs on speed, cost or capacity," said Dave Mosley, Seagate executive vice president of Sales, Marketing and Product Line Management.

In addition to Seagate's announcement, ASUS said that it will offer the new Momentus XT drive as an upgrade option for its new Republic of Gamers (ROG) G73jh notebook. ASUS said that the drive installs as easily as a traditional 9.5-mm-high notebook drive for new systems or laptop upgrades. And unlike prior hybrid solutions, the Momentus XT operates independently of the OS and the motherboard chipset.

Now we just need a desktop model!

Check out our own review here!

Discuss
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  • 3 Hide
    fpsdominator , May 24, 2010 6:00 PM
    I hope they make it in a 3.5 inch form also
  • 4 Hide
    sliem , May 24, 2010 6:00 PM
    Price?
  • 6 Hide
    insider3 , May 24, 2010 6:04 PM
    Quote:
    Now we just need a desktop model!


    And a price tag!
  • 6 Hide
    MadAdmiral , May 24, 2010 6:08 PM
    I hope they decide to increase the flash part soon. Given the 4 GB size of the flash part, I can't really see how this would make a huge real world difference. The part about identifing the most used data and automatically moving it to the flash section is very interesting. Any word on if that might/will be possible with full sized drives?
  • 3 Hide
    cliffro , May 24, 2010 6:11 PM
    According to Overclockerclub(who reviewed it) it will be ~$156 for the 500Gb model.

  • 1 Hide
    scook9 , May 24, 2010 6:42 PM
    This essentially just adds another level of cache.....I am sure this could be done even better by rewriting the way that the OS uses the system memory
  • 1 Hide
    pharge , May 24, 2010 6:53 PM
    scook9This essentially just adds another level of cache.....I am sure this could be done even better by rewriting the way that the OS uses the system memory


    True... but it is much easier to do it ourselves instead of pushing those big companies (MS, Apple, .....) to do what we want them to do...

    If Seagate can increase the flash memory to 8G and give us the option to keep half of them for the OS start-up... it will be great.... and of course... keep the price $20 within the none-hybrid version....
  • 5 Hide
    hellwig , May 24, 2010 7:13 PM
    This isn't really practical for a desktop version, where you can use more than 1 drive. The speed and storage combination are attractive for laptops (where 1 drive might be the limit), but desktop users generally have more options. A desktop user could probably store their OS on a RAID-0 setup or a small SSD for speed, and slap in a big 1TB+ drive for storage. You don't really have that option in a laptop.

    I worry about the detection mechanism. I mean, I only boot my computer up once a day, but I might start a separate application multiple times in a session. How will this drive know that my system DLLs are more important than my notepad.exe executable? Will it consider the amount of time taken to load the file (i.e. notepad.exe is very small and quick to load) as opposed to simply the number of times a file is accessed?
  • -2 Hide
    wotan31 , May 24, 2010 8:06 PM
    Like any newly released technology, there's probably some technical shortcoming in Windows that prevents it from being used. The PCtards will blame everyone except Microsoft. Meanwhile, newer, bigger, faster hardware, it's all business as usual for Linux and OSX.
  • 2 Hide
    Blessedman , May 24, 2010 8:51 PM
    Honestly if they pushed it to 16GB, the most accessed files would end up being (well should) be OS components and would be loaded instantly. It would be extra clever if they were able to exclude pictures and movies out of the cache. That way it's not wasted on something that can wait.
  • 1 Hide
    proxy711 , May 24, 2010 10:17 PM
    While this isn't a bad idea the review is disappointing. The drive barely out preforms normal drives. you would think with the cheap prices of 16gb flash they could have had more memory and there for better performance without breaking the bank.

    This could be a nice bridge into SSD drives, at least laptop wise until prices of large drives come down...but that's all it will ever be SSD drives are the future.
  • -1 Hide
    NeeKo , May 24, 2010 10:37 PM
    This Hybrids are just so not worth it
  • 2 Hide
    alextheblue , May 25, 2010 2:02 AM
    scook9This essentially just adds another level of cache.....I am sure this could be done even better by rewriting the way that the OS uses the system memory
    Except system memory is volatile RAM. This uses Flash, so when you power on your machine, your most commonly used files are STILL in the cache. Unlike your system memory. Plus Windows 7 is already good at caching stuff in memory.
    hellwigThis isn't really practical for a desktop version, where you can use more than 1 drive.
    It depends. If Hybrids drives get a lot more flash (16GB, we'll say) they could perform just as well as using two seperate drives, assuming they use good controllers. The main difference is that this uses a caching algorithm, so it doesn't eat as much space as having an SSD boot drive. After all, you don't load up every single file on your boot drive constantly. So there's less wasted space on the Hybrid drive's Flash.

    Unfortunetely, I don't think they'll use fast controllers, fast flash, or enough flash, so these hybrid drives will be relegated to laptop use only.
    wotan31Like any newly released technology, there's probably some technical shortcoming in Windows that prevents it from being used. The PCtards will blame everyone except Microsoft. Meanwhile, newer, bigger, faster hardware, it's all business as usual for Linux and OSX.
    Uh, you must have missed the part where these drives don't rely on the OS at all. Probably bounced off your glazed-over Apple-shaped eyeballs. You must still be pissed about how crappy games run on Oh Ess Ex.
  • 3 Hide
    alextheblue , May 25, 2010 2:14 AM
    Just as an example of what these can do, check out the Anand review.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/3734/seagates-momentus-xt-review-finally-a-good-hybrid-hdd

    Different testing, different conclusion. THG's review relies on conventional testing methods, that don't really show its caching abilities.
  • -1 Hide
    anamaniac , May 25, 2010 6:07 AM
    These new drives are reminding me of CPUs.
    You have your first level extremely high bandwidth cache (16-64MB), your decently high output second level cache (4GB) and then your bulky junk (500GB).
    Or maybe I should just get some sleep...
  • -1 Hide
    G-Systems , May 25, 2010 6:53 AM
    hellwigThis isn't really practical for a desktop version, where you can use more than 1 drive. The speed and storage combination are attractive for laptops (where 1 drive might be the limit), but desktop users generally have more options. A desktop user could probably store their OS on a RAID-0 setup or a small SSD for speed, and slap in a big 1TB+ drive for storage. You don't really have that option in a laptop.I worry about the detection mechanism. I mean, I only boot my computer up once a day, but I might start a separate application multiple times in a session. How will this drive know that my system DLLs are more important than my notepad.exe executable? Will it consider the amount of time taken to load the file (i.e. notepad.exe is very small and quick to load) as opposed to simply the number of times a file is accessed?


    Very insightful!
  • 0 Hide
    G-Systems , May 25, 2010 7:10 AM
    AlexTheBlueJust as an example of what these can do, check out the Anand review.http://www.anandtech.com/show/3734 [...] hybrid-hddDifferent testing, different conclusion. THG's review relies on conventional testing methods, that don't really show its caching abilities.


    That was a great article. Thanks!
  • 0 Hide
    rhelme , May 25, 2010 7:31 AM
    There is ALREADY a DESKTOP Model and it works wonders, its call HDDBOOST by Silverstone. Its 50 dollars and lets you choose your SSD and your HDD and combine them both. You don't have to do any OS re-install and it really is amazing.

    I have one is my system and Windows starts up in seconds and it really hauls butt. Write speeds are off a little bit, but read speeds come through at full SSD speeds. I'm surprised that TOM's didn't mention this device because this does exactly what this "hybrid" drive does, and for the person who says, "Where is this for the desktop", its here, and it works, and works extremely well. I have a 1 TB Hitatchi with a 64GB A-Data SSD 230 read,110-130 write.... best of both worlds, no reinstall and a boot time that went from over a minute to 15 seconds.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817997011&Tpk=HDDBOOST

  • 1 Hide
    JonnyDough , May 25, 2010 8:04 AM
    I'd still rather have all my data on flash. Reason being is if you drop your note or netbook your hard drive is still susceptible to shock.
  • 0 Hide
    rhelme , May 25, 2010 9:57 AM
    I think we would all rather have our data on flash, but when my notebook comes with a 640 GB HD, how much will it cost to replace that with SSD???

    I will advocate all day for the Silverstone HDDBOOST. That thing has gone beyond all expectations of load time and ease of use. There are some negatives, such as lack of SMART and such, but Hardware Canucks did a great review of the unit and found it stunning. What you won't find stunning is the canned review suites that write a temp file, and then read it... it will never make it to the SSD drive and you will never see the score. This is all explained in the documentation.

    Overall if you are looking for something like this but don't want to resetup your system, buy the Silverstone HDD boost and the biggest SSD you can afford and enjoy. It is actually so easy to use that to upgrade to a bigger SSD you power the system down, slide out the old ssd and slide in the new one... no cables nothing....

    The windows load time still blow my mind... Never short of using sleep would I think I would see the day that Windows would load in less than 20 seconds... and thats with SQL 2005 and 2008 running in the background for development purposes...

    As I said earlier, to the guy that mentioned he wished it were for the desktop... its here... Silverstone HDDBOOST
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