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Seagate Now Shipping 2nd-Gen Solid State Hybrid Drive

By - Source: Seagate | B 32 comments

Seagate has improved upon the original Momentus XT hybrid drive with double the NAND and a SATA 6 Gbps interface.

Monday Seagate said that it began shipping its second-generation 2.5-inch solid-state hybrid drive, the Momentus XT, deeming it as the company's fastest drive ever for personal laptop computers. That's because it comes equipped with double the NAND flash than what was available on the first-generation drive, now packing 8 GB of Single Level Cell NAND. Seagate also cranked up the disk capacity to 750 GB while keeping the drive's pricetag hovering at a not-too-shabby $245 USD.

Joni Clark, Seagate's product marketing manager, said on Tuesday that the company switched NAND flash vendors for this model, thus the new drive will have 1.5 times better performance than the first-generation model. The company also switched out the drive's interface, replacing the slower SATA 3 Gbps connector with a zippier SATA 6 Gbps pipeline. This makes the new model 70-percent faster than its predecessor and up to three times faster than a traditional 750 GB hard disk drive.

Also new to the table is what Seagate calls FAST Factor technology. This feature "blends the strengths of SSDs and hard disk drives" and enables faster access to applications, quicker bootup and higher overall system speed. There's also "tweaked" Adaptive Memory technology which identifies data usage patterns, and then moves the most frequently retrieved information to solid state memory for faster access. It effectively tailors hard drive performance to each user and the applications they use over the course of three boot-ups.

Clark said that the new drive will write data on the hard drive platters first and then to the NAND so that data isn't lost if the NAND happens to fail. "If the NAND ever fails, you'll still have a perfectly good 7,200rpm hard drive," she said. "You'll still be able to boot up just like a regular hard drive, but you won't be able to take advantage of the NAND flash."

The Seagate product marketing manager also added that the company conducted performance tests against an Intel consumer-class 320 series SSD. Intel's drive beat Seagate's hybrid on boot times only by two seconds. "The Intel SSD works out to $490 for 160 GB," she said. "Ours costs [$245] for 750 GB. For those two seconds [better boot up time], you'll end up paying an extra $300."

On Tuesday Seagate said that seven original equipment manufacturers are gearing up to ship laptops packing the new Momentus XT drive. It's now available for consumers at online retailers Amazon, Canada Computers, CDW, Memory Express, NCIX, Newegg, and TigerDirect. But buyer beware: Seagate's new second-generation Momentus XT is a 4K sector drive, and will not play nice with Windows XP or earlier operating systems that only support 512 Kb drives ("tuning" instructions are here). However Apple's Mac OS and recent Linux distributions are equipped to work with 4K drive sectors.

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  • -5 Hide
    robisinho , November 30, 2011 2:23 PM
    I thought hard drives at that capacity were going for way less.

    Intel SSDs are a crappy comparison price wise. You could get those two seconds from less cost by pairing a 128GB SSD with a half tb $100 drive for maybe $50 more.
  • 6 Hide
    de5_Roy , November 30, 2011 2:25 PM
    $245 for a 750 gb drive with 8 gb flash cache... it's cheaper compared to a fullblown ssd but too costly for a hard disk drive of the same capacity. besides i heard a rumor that this drive was supposed to be priced much less then got bumped up because of thailand's flood.
  • 1 Hide
    AndrewMD , November 30, 2011 2:42 PM
    @de5_roy - The floods in Thailand has effect a number of manufactures including Toyota, Mitsubishi, Honda, Western Digital, Asus, and others that do much of their manufacturing.
  • 0 Hide
    vilenjan , November 30, 2011 2:56 PM
    WTB a desktop 3.5 variant that uses a sngle 1tb platter and 16gb SSD cache. AMD and older (pre z68) Intel users would love these drives :p 
  • 3 Hide
    jacobdrj , November 30, 2011 3:07 PM
    Price is too darned high... SSD cache is too darned low...

    Dang those floods... When will manufacturers learn to diversify their supply chains... Hire some freggin logtistics people, sheesh...
  • -1 Hide
    danwat1234 , November 30, 2011 3:20 PM
    This new Momentus XT beats a 600GB Velociraptor! Pretty impressive and makes sense. It would be exciting if Atom netbooks started using these drives instead of slow 1-platter 5400RPM drives that they usually come with.
    Good for desktops too.
  • 2 Hide
    jacobdrj , November 30, 2011 3:22 PM
    @dawnwat1234

    I agree, but the price makes using these in netbooks prohibitive...
  • -1 Hide
    kyuuketsuki , November 30, 2011 3:37 PM
    vilenjanWTB a desktop 3.5 variant that uses a sngle 1tb platter and 16gb SSD cache. AMD and older (pre z68) Intel users would love these drives

    That would be whenever they roll out the Barracuda XT.
  • -1 Hide
    jacobdrj , November 30, 2011 3:47 PM
    jacekringI want to see this as a 500gig 10k rpm drive with 32gigs of cache. With both smart cache and "reserve" cache. So if I want, I can move specific files/apps to the cache regardless of what I use the most...This way you could move your OS to the cache permanently, and a few games or apps you use sparsely (or recently installed) but want to boot fast when you do and have the rest of the cache be smart and self allocate as needed.

    But how do you do that without breaking partition information? If someone can figure out how to make this an option, but keeping it idiotproof... you have quite a product on your hands...
  • -2 Hide
    wiyosaya , November 30, 2011 3:48 PM
    I can't say I would spend that much for this drive. If it had maybe 64GB SSD, I might. Personally, I think I would be much better off buying a 64 GB SSD and an 2TB SATA drive. I could easily do this for this price and end up with enough pocket change for a good game.
  • -2 Hide
    bison88 , November 30, 2011 3:59 PM
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't a speed boost using traditional HDD systems be better if you had more RAM and could off-load temporary or most used applications/files to the RAM instead of on a NAND chip in the hard drive? Would give us a reason to finally upgrade RAM and push for more system memory which consequently would push the entire industry to make use of it. Not too keen on the whole SSD tech so maybe that sounds ignorant.
  • -1 Hide
    digiex , November 30, 2011 4:39 PM
    If the mechanical part (platter) dies, can I still use the SSD part?

    Quote:
    Clark said that the new drive will write data on the hard drive platters first and then to the NAND so that data isn't lost if the NAND happens to fail. "If the NAND ever fails, you'll still have a perfectly good 7,200rpm hard drive," she said. "You'll still be able to boot up just like a regular hard drive, but you won't be able to take advantage of the NAND flash."


    Ooops

    I still can't comprehend that the mechanical part (platter) is more durable than the SSD part. (NAND).

    I wonder if these new drives are cheaper than the non hybrid types since the skyrocketing of hard disk prices.
  • -2 Hide
    GoldenI , November 30, 2011 5:12 PM
    Instead of shipping out these overpriced pieces of hardware, why don't they focus their money on producing MORE regular HDDs in the wake of these floods? Oh, wait - I know why: because Seagate wasn't in the affected area. They're just using the floods as a marketing tactic. What a piss-off. I want my 2TB HDD for $89.99 please.
  • -1 Hide
    tuffjuff , November 30, 2011 5:18 PM
    robisinhoI thought hard drives at that capacity were going for way less.Intel SSDs are a crappy comparison price wise. You could get those two seconds from less cost by pairing a 128GB SSD with a half tb $100 drive for maybe $50 more.


    The Momentus XT are hybrid drives. They offer the storage (and overall speed) of a traditional hard drive but combine it with a 4GB (on the original) SSD cache which speeds up overall day to day operation. They make a pretty big difference, although I agree the price on this one is a bit high. When I picked up my 500GB original XT it was I think $100 or $105.

    That said, hard drives seem to have jumped in price lately. I had to wait for a cyber monday "deal" to get a 500GB hard drive for $70. I could've swore a year ago you could get a 1.5 TB hard drive for not much more...
  • -1 Hide
    orbitron , November 30, 2011 5:40 PM
    So the 500GB (ST95005620AS) version is only 3Gb/s? I went to seagate.com it says 6Gb/s but when I visited Amazon.com it shows 3Gb/s only.
  • -1 Hide
    billybobser , November 30, 2011 6:33 PM
    other than space, what saving is there from buying a dirt cheap 16gb ssd and a 1tb 7200 disk?

    Also!

    What does this make so much difference when having 16gb (for example) of ram makes hardly any? Since ram is not really a bottleneck, and normal users are making hardly any use of the extra ram. Are chipset / ram manufactures being lazy and not trying to utilize this wasted space?
  • -1 Hide
    RaptorHunter , November 30, 2011 6:45 PM
    or I could buy a 120 GB for less money and have all the space I need without compromising performance with a hybrid drive.

    Hybrid drives would have made sense a year ago when SSD space cost more and the flooding in thailand hadn't caused a price spike in spinning drives. Now there's no reason not to just get a ssd that's big enough to hold your OS and all your apps and then add on a spinner if you need the extra space.
  • 0 Hide
    mcvf , November 30, 2011 7:08 PM
    It is 512 B not kB.
  • -1 Hide
    anti-painkilla , November 30, 2011 7:22 PM
    bison88Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't a speed boost using traditional HDD systems be better if you had more RAM and could off-load temporary or most used applications/files to the RAM instead of on a NAND chip in the hard drive? Would give us a reason to finally upgrade RAM and push for more system memory which consequently would push the entire industry to make use of it. Not too keen on the whole SSD tech so maybe that sounds ignorant.



    Again correct me if i am wrong, but RAM tries to be as efficient as possible, keeping as minimal as possible on it, only what is needed. It relies too much on the HDD/SSD for more ram to be useful. The bottleneck is happening on the HDD. Also booting up/ loading programs would take the same time, just in the application responses would be faster.
  • 1 Hide
    dthx , November 30, 2011 7:39 PM
    I see many people missing the point here. A cheap ssd for the os and a spinner for the data is not a solution that works in laptops. This drive will never be as fast as putting your system on a ssd, but in a laptop, it realy makes a big differrence compared to a standard drive (even on the previous model that only has 4Gb cache). The price tag is too high on this drive though.
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