There are two ways of looking at Seagate’s new Momentus XT. If you know that the drive pairs rotating storage with 4GB of SLC NAND flash memory, then you probably expect a lot from this new product. I have to admit that this happened to us atfirst, because we started with low-level testing due to lack of sufficient time. The benchmarks on Windows and application startup time were added a few days later and these change the game.
However, looking at the product name allows us to take the position and standpoint that is most appropriate when looking at this product: the Momentus XT is a hard drive! It just happens to utilize flash memory in an effort to improve performance. Once we treat it like a hard drive, then we shed the performance expectations to which it can't live up. Yet, the Momentus XT is one of the most innovative storage products in years, and it delivers in real life.
All performance numbers we’ve seen are at least good, as the Momentus XT outperforms all 7,200 RPM 500GB competitors in the majority of our benchmarks. It is the fastest 2.5” drive when it comes to throughput and I/Os, it has good application performance and it delivers great scores on SYSmark 2007 as well, which is based on real applications. There are a few benchmarks in which the drive shows a few small glitches, which may be the price we pay for Adaptive Memory trying to optimize. We also have to mention that power consumption of this drive is slightly higher than other drives on average, which results in shorter battery runtime on notebooks.
Many of the test results should be seen be seen as worst-case results, as the numbers can only get better over time. In the end, we don’t see real disadvantages for the Momentus XT, except the somewhat-higher power requirements compared to competing 500GB drives. However, the drive aims at the segment of enthusiast and workstation laptops, and it delivers excellent performance for a hard drive.The concept of pairing a hard drive with a bit of flash memory works well. We tasted blood with the Momentus XT and we can only recommend true enthusiasts to go for this one instead of a conventional drive.
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