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Momentus 5400 FDE.2: Data Encryption On-a-Drive

Seagate Momentus 5400 FDE.2 ST9169824AS-FDE

The Momentus 5400 FDE.2 follows Seagate's product naming conventions, which consists of the product family (Momentus), the speed class (5400 RPM) and the product generation (5400.3 equals the third generation). In case of the encrypted Momentus 5400 FDE.2 we're talking about the second generation of encrypted 2.5" Momentus products. However, this cannot be compared to the non-encrypted Momentus 5400.2, as the Momentus 5400 FDE.2 shares its technical basics with the Momentus 5400.3. Hence, the performance is similar as well.

The Momentus 5400 FDE.2 family is available at mainstream capacities of 80 GB, 120 GB and 160 GB, based on first-generation perpendicular magnetic recording. All of them rotate at 5,400 RPM, connect via a Serial ATA/150 interface and have 8 MB cache memory. Our test sample is the 160 GB top model, which is based on two platters. The weight of 102 g is typical for dual-platter 2.5" drives, and we measured a power consumption of up to 3.2 W maximum and 0.9 W idle. This is, not surprisingly, exactly the same as that of the drive's non-encrypting brother, the Momentus 5400.3.

The performance of this product is not on par with the current top models, which are Samsung's Spinpoint M5, WD's BEVS-type Scorpio, the Hitachi Travelstar 5K250 and the new Momentus 5400.4. If you want a fast notebook drive, the Momentus 5400 FDE.2 won't make you happy, as it is one generation behind. At the same time, I want to make clear that the encryption does not have an important impact on performance either, which means that the Momentus 5400 FDE.2 is roughly as fast as the technically equivalent Momentus 5400.3.

As with most other Seagate hard drives (with the exception of external models), this product is covered by Seagate's five-year warranty. Pay close attention to the warranty conditions, though, as Seagate reserves the option to replace faulty consumer models with similar drives. This means that you might get a larger or faster drive, but business users often prefer to get identical replacements.

You do not have to use the encryption feature; it can be activated by deploying the software FinallySecure by Secude. The encryption is based on a TPM-compliant AES algorithm - Seagate doesn't talk about the strength on the data sheet - but Windows Vista's Bitlocker feature is not yet supported. This means that the encryption feature is limited to Windows XP Home or Professional for the time being.