Momentus XT Review: Seagate's Marriage Of The HDD And Flash Memory

Update: Everyday Performance

As mentioned in the introduction, we weren’t able to provide all the test results when we posted this review in time for Seagate’s launch. A few more results are now available in the benchmark sections, and these results prove Seagate’s concept right. Repeating PCMark Vantage several times leads to performance increases in the range of 20-70%, which is significant.

We also measured startup time on a fresh Windows 7 installation, plus the load times of a few applications. Boot times were literally cut into half. However, performance also increased a lot on the conventional Momentus 7200.4 because Windows’s SuperFetch feature would also help to speed up launch times. In the end, Momentus XT still is clearly better, though.

In order to get a better picture of how the drive performs on an existing installation, we decided to use one of our production machines, a Dell Latitude D630 notebook, and image the existing Windows Vista installation (which is all congested with drivers and software, and hence starts really slow). We copied the system image onto the Momentus 7200.4 and on the Momentus XT. As you'll see, the results speak for themselves. While the conventional hard drive takes between 1:27 and 2:03 to start the system, as well as an Internet Explorer with an offline version of the Tom’s Hardware home page, the Momentus XT does the same job in between 1:52 on the first run and an amazing 0:38 after the fourth run. Clearly, Adaptive Memory technology makes a significant difference on existing installations that usually feel slow and overloaded.

Finally, we also added the time required to launch Internet Explorer 8, MS Word 2007, MS Excel 2007, MS Access 2007 and MS Powerpoint 2007 (in this order). As you can imagine, the Momentus XT does its job really well and clearly outperforms any other hard drive. You’d need an SSD, which is severely more expensive and doesn’t offer the same 500GB capacity, to get equivalent performance. The downside is the limited 4GB cache memory on the Momentus XT: if you change your habits or work a lot on changing data you should look at the conventional benchmark results or at the 1st runs in our added benchmarks to see what performance could return to.