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  • truthbeacon - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    I am stumped. If you are comparing this Hybrid HDD to HDDs and SSDs, why didn't you throw 'high-performance' drives in the test metric, such as a Scorpio Black or Velociraptor? Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    The regular Momentus 750GB is a 7200RPM 2.5-inch drive, that covers the high performance 2.5" drive segment. My VR200M has unfortunately died since the original review, but I threw the 3.5" Barracuda XT as a representative from the 3.5" high performance category.

    Note that in the areas where the Momentus XT really shines, even the VR200M wouldn't be enough to close the gap.

    Take care,
  • deputc26 - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    "Drive Power Consumption - Sequential Write"

    both are identical on page 6
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Fixed! Thanks! Reply
  • dagamer34 - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    I feel like the true enthusiasts have poo pooed solutions like this because they've moved to pure SSD-based systems in the 2.5" firm factor and then have huge 2-3TB HDD arrays for media storage. While certainly there will be plenty of hard drives sold with a 2.5" slot, I just get the feeling that because of laptops like the MacBook Air, Intel's ultrabook initiative, and the general crappy pricing of mechanical HDDs right now, this technology is a bit too little, too late and may never really go mainstream. Certainly improvements can be made to get near SSD levels of performance while having a large amount of storage, but the 5-10year future is clearly SSD only, and it must be troubling for Seagate to be aware of that eventual possibility. Reply
  • Jedi2155 - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    I currently have a 256 GB SSD on my main home system, and I'm debating swapping that out for this due to the space limitations on my SSD. All those high end games take up a whopping amount of space as does Steam.

    It would be better to have an SSD on my work machine or laptop than my home desktop at this rate. This seems like a good downgrade/replacement. I wonder if prices might drop anytime soon to under $200. I don't really feel that its worth $250 although the market is still really bad...
  • A5 - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    The solution to that is to use an app like Steam Mover to store the games you aren't playing at the moment on your mechanical disks instead of the SSD. No reason to have more than 1-2 games on your SSD at a given time. Reply
  • Jedi2155 - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    I play at random between 3-10 games depending on the situation as my friends are varied which as caused me to just install it all on the main SSD. I have a separate HDD for other games. I will look into Steam Mover as I've been meaning to do something of the sort but Symbolic Linking is too much work for the games I have installed and having to do it for each individual game. Reply
  • Ammaross - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    Get an Z-series Intel chipset and use the drive caching capabilities of it. Then you can have a 60GB MLC (or SLC since you're willing to pay for a 256GB SSD) as a disk cache to some high-performance WD Black 2TB spinner. Basically it's a build-it-yourself Momentus drive. Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    As you mentioned, the ideal use-case for hybrid drives is for notebooks where you want to combine better speed with large capacity. However, it should be noted that the Momentus XT is 9.7mm thick, just over the standard 9.5mm of most 2.5" drives, which could makes it's use problematic on notebooks with little space tolerance.

    On another note, one of Seagate marketing features is FAST Factor Boot, which is supposed to be a dedicated partition on the NAND for caching OS boot files so they can't be evicted by other file activity over time. Would you know how well this dedicated OS cache works for dual boot systems? Can if figure out your primary OS and only cache that, expand the partition to accommodate both OS or do the two OSs thrash each other?
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    According to Seagate the drive is still 9.5mm thick, just like the non-caching Momentus drive. I took a pair of calipers to the drive as well as a regular Momentus and both came up at just under 9.5mm (although my calipers aren't the super accurate variety, there could be some play in the numbers there). Do you have a reference to the 9.7mm figure?

    Still digging into FAST boot. If it works the way I think it works, it should be able to cache boot data from multiple OSes. Will find out for sure soon...

    Take care,
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    Seagate provided a response to your second question:

    "The Momentus XT will learn multiple boot activities and retain the boot information for them in the boot partition. There should be no problem optimizing 2 or 3 different boot scenarios, but more than that may degrade the performance of the last first boot activity learned."

    It's my understanding that it's not too hard to determine when a system is booting, the access pattern is fairly unique. The boot optimization simply looks for that pattern and has a small amount of NAND set aside for data that fits that pattern. Multiple OSes should trigger the optimization, but once you get beyond a certain threshold you do risk evicting useful data from the cache.

    Take care,
  • b_flat - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    No mention of the reliability?

    Head to the Seagate Forums or visit to see a list of continual problems with this drive
  • b_flat - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Seagate Forums
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    I mentioned the reliability issues in the video but I've added them to the conclusion as well. For what it's worth, both the old and the new Momentus XT have done well in my testbeds but as we've seen with SSDs in the past, that doesn't mean much.

    Take care,
  • Jonijc - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link


    I only 5 star reviews on the new one:

    And 4 stars on the 500GB older one.

  • kmmatney - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    I've had a 500GB XT drive for about a year - working great in a desktop computer. The $99 price seems like a steal now. Reply
  • applestooranges - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    C'mon, the first Seagate Hybrid (released over a year ago?) was pretty much a joke, barely better than a normal 7200 rpm HDD. Anybody/everybody in the know could see this, but it somehow got praise from certain reviewers. Now, they release basically the same "non-innovative" and "non-effective" design, and it somehow gets a passing grade?
    50% better than nothing is still nothing.
    I could spend half this much on an OCZ cache drive + a 1 TB HDD, and get twice (or 3x) the performance and more capacity.
    these HDD guys just don't get it... how many years will it take them...
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    I wouldn't say it's barely better than a normal 7200RPM hard drive, our numbers alone prove that's the case. As I mentioned in the conclusion however, my preference is still for an SSD + hard drive where possible. The Momentus XT really addresses the niche where you can only have one 2.5" drive and you need more capacity than an SSD can offer for whatever reason. In that case it does a decent enough job, but even then my preference would be for an internal SSD + external mass storage.

    Take care,
  • JNo - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link


    don't often comment but really want to mention some possibilities that many seem to lack awareness of.

    Firstly, I've read no mention, let alone review, of OCZ's Synapse Cache SSD on anandtech or of the NVELO dataplex software that drives it. It allows an entire SSD to cache an HDD but seems better than Intel SRT to me as faster and fewer limitations (no need for Z68 mobo, no SSD size limits). You can almost get a 3TB HDD to bench close to SSD speeds. I think they're looking to release the software one day too so you won't even need the proprietary OCZ SSD. Reviews:

    Secondly, you can get cheap optical drive bay HDD adaptor for laptops nowadays (ebay) so you can slot a second SSD/HDD where the optical was. This allows classic boot SSD + data HDD combo in laptops without mSATA. In fact it's a reason for me to look for lappies *with* an optical drive even though I'd otherwise prefer not to have one. Obviously this solution won't work for ultrabooks etc but still much more preferable to the Seagate Momentus for me.
  • wagsbags - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Is that even a niche market anymore? Lots of people use laptops for their primary systems now (most?) and not very many sport 2 drive bays (unfortunately) without taking out the optical drive. Looking at the benchmarks these drives are getting close enough to SSDs for casual use that we may soon get to the point where it's simply not worth the effort to set up a SSD+HDD system. $245 is a bummer though. Reply
  • Alien959 - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    You are right, if you have place to put two hard drives, but most notebooks/netbooks have just one HD bay so there is a market for this kind of technology. Also there are media boxes, network appliances granted they can be serviced with regular hard drive but more performance is always good :))). Reply
  • Tetracycloide - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    The price point on the new drive is the big issue I think. If you've only got ONE 2.5" drive and you need 500 GB or more and the budget is under the $700+ that would likely cost for an SSD then what else are you going to buy? Honestly the main reason I think they put the price where the did instead of something that seems more reasonable for a HDD seasoned lightly with NAND is because the gulf between HDD and SSD prices is so huge there's plenty of room for them to expand into. Reply
  • hechacker1 - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    I'm guessing that ultimately the Raptor drives will be more consistent in random read and write performance purely due to the 10K RPM speed?

    I'm still stuck with a Raptor here as I need the space, my personal files simply cannot fit or be easily partitioned onto my separate RAID array for media storage. That is until SSD prices come down so I can afford a larger SSD to replace the raptor.

    How far has 7200RPM compared to the 10K drives? I'm talking about random read/write workloads. I'm guessing that once the XT gets write caching, it may be a contender?
  • erple2 - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Every performance number I've seen for random read/write on the fastest spindle drives (random, not sequential) shows that the Raptors (and the like ~ 1.5 MB/s) are approximately 2x as fast as a "normal" mechanical drive (at around 0.8 MB/s). Looking at the numbers above, that means you can expect >5x slower performance than an SSD (>80 MB/s), at least in things like random write performance. As a result, you can see that the performance of a 10k drive is "crummy" compared with any modern SSD.

    Personally, I always thought the performance increase of the Raptor wasn't worth it over the standard (well-designed) 7200 RPM drive. Doubling the cost per gigabyte to buy a 10% improvement in performance just didn't seem to be worthwhile. Is an SSD worth it? I dunno. But I can say that I enjoy using my laptop (with an SSD) over my wifes (without an SSD). Hers has stronger hardware (other than the SSD). It was the best "$50" upgrade I've ever spent...
  • tipoo - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    The raptor takes the space of a 3.5' drive though, this is a 2.5 inch 9mm high drive. They aren't really direct competitors. Reply
  • SonicIce - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Hi Anand, do you expect hard drive prices to lower after the nearly 3x hike? Reply
  • zanon - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Naturally having it all be together can both decrease cost and, not unimportantly, mean the drive can fit in a single bay. However, even on many notebooks there are often multiple 2.5" bays available (either directly or through an add-on like the OptiBay), which opens the door to software hybrid approaches like what ZFS offers (an SSD can be added to a pool and designated as cache). There are a lot of different approaches racing right now, and it will be interesting to watch how it plays out. Will the cost of SSDs and capacity improve fast enough to simply mostly do away with mechanical before anything else really gets going, or will we see a few different hybrid approaches develop? Reply
  • james.jwb - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Surely the price is affected by to flooding issues, no? I didn't see thismentioned in the review, so just checking. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Maybe. That was my first guess; but the 500GB model is selling for $139/159 on newegg, the 750 is $239. For comparison, 2.5" 7200 RPM 500GB drives are $99-$149, and 750 GB models are listed at $149/159/229. Reply
  • murakozi - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    I surely hope this iteration of Momentus XT is better than the original. I have had my share of the "performance" of that.

    Scenario: trying to migrate a WinXP system on a HP6910p from 2,5HDD to Momentus XT. Methods: Arconis, Norton Ghost, complete reinstall.

    Result: epic failure. at first boot: sunshine and happyness. Than: BSOD, BSOD, non system disk..., NTFS failure, worse at every restart. Some digging in forums revealed serious issues with some SATA chipsets (note: this is a mainstream notebook, bot some nieche product).

    Tried to reuse the drive in a desktop (Dell Optiplex 775), results: the same. A weekend of trial and error, resulting in error.

    RMA-d the drive, got a Sandforce SSD instead (128 GB, for additional payment of course), living happily since then.
  • fuzzymath10 - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    I migrated a Dell D630 from an 80GB X25-M (running out of space) to a 500GB Momentus XT and it worked perfectly on the first try, and has been working ever since.

    Despite the user not being of the "power" type, the drive has held up well, and I was impressed by how fast it felt in use despite the mess of applications running/installed.
  • Xajel - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    In Notebooks, some guys need fast hard drive like an SSD but they still need bigger storage space... but the lake of space stops them.. they can't go for desktop like configuration ( SSD for OS, normal HDD for storage & media ) coz of lake of space and slots and weight also...

    Hybrid thought to be nice and better than regular HDD's but still very far from being SSD class performance...

    I'm wondering why not separating the SSD part from the regular HDD part from this hybrid and use a SATA port multiplier to use the single SATA port with two drives but in one physical package... the drive will be normal, like a single platter 500GB drive but will have a port multiplier and an 128GB SSD within the drive... the drive will looks like 2 separated drives to the OS...

    we can use SATA 6Gbps and split the bandwidth to 3+3 and still have plenty of bandwidth !!

    the concept will be nice but expensive ( SSD + port duplicator + HDD in one package ) but it can do what Hybrids can't...

    The only method to do such configuration is to use miniPCIe SSD drives on the laptop along with the regular HDD... but this will be limited to larger size of laptops as some smaller one does't have miniPCIe slot, or have but used by WiFi/Bluetooth module...
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Physical space constraints most likely, 2.5" HDs don't really have any extra volume to spare. You'd probably need to fall back on 1.8" platters meaning anything not in the SSD would take a large performance hit. Reply
  • freezervv - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    This article is pretty amazing. ;)

    1) A nice reference to a general form of Amdahl's law
    2) Useful "These are how the industry tenets / trends intersect in this product" summary in the video
    3) Super sexy mic
    4) Lost in Translation quote

    As was noted in the article -- this drive isn't as fast as SSDs / high-density disks. Which is to say it's for products that a) require more space than SSDs can cost-effectively provide (so > 120GB) & b) can't physically accommodate 3.5" drives (or arrays thereof).

    That's a not insignificant market -- virtually every laptop sold.


    One big question, though, re: moving hybrid technology into the 3.5" form factor:
    -- How do you see large, cheap NAND cache being reasonably deployed in the next decade?

    From memory, we've currently got the following solutions...
    -- Convention HDD buffers (e.g. 64MB)
    -- Hybrid drives (similar, except with enough NAND capacity to do heavy predictive caching)
    -- Intel Z68-style SRT (SSD in front of a disk array, tied in with chipset)
    -- ZFS-style L2ARC / ZIL (same, except via the filesystem)
    -- "Install OS to SSD, everything else to HDD" approach
    -- Windows 7 SuperFetch

    ... which all add "memory" between RAM and the disk subsystem. And furthermore, which all try to pretend they're just "faster disk".

    The issue, being illustrated by the following pathological (but not completely unreasonable) example:
    -- Windows 7, running full SuperFetch
    -- in an Intel Z68 SRT system
    -- backed by hybrid SSHDDs

    Assuming they're all running the same algorithm (or at least a similar one: some mix of locality, frequency, stride pattern, etc.) you could have Win7 caching an address in RAM, Intel caching the same thing to the SSD, and the hybrid drive caching the same thing in its NAND.

    Which seems... ... ... "suboptimal"?
  • freezervv - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Or I guess, to put it another way, the same problem the IETF people are running into where TCP and large buffers lead to less-than-possible bandwidth.

    How do you design an oblivious (because we have to support legacy OSs), but still optimal (because we want performance) algorithm when the parts above and below you are in constant flux?
  • nicwillemse - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Hi Anand,

    Thanks for the review! Im currently using the previous verion in my mac with no issues what so ever, do you think I would have problems if I upgraded to the new one ?
  • poohbear - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Is this drive $245 due to the Thailand flooding and hdd shortage issue? I can't imagine paying $245 for 750gb HDD & a measly 8gb SSD. Reply
  • Stahn Aileron - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    So I'm guessing with this push for NAND-based storage, we'll start seeing a bigger push for a DRAM Buffer/NAND Cache/Platter Storage scheme versus the current Buffer/Storage scheme?

    Even Intel is kinda pushing it with their SRT feature on select chipsets.

    Anand, do you think we'll see more adoption of this type of technology at the system level (like Intel SRT) or more at the integrated device level (like the Momentus XT here)? Or maybe even integrated at the Motherboard level, perhaps? I don't really it happening at the MB level, since the onus would be on the MB manufacturers to support and validate it.

    Also, any thoughts on the future about pure Flash storage versus magnetic storage? We're seeing these enterprise-grade, TB-sized drive available. Do you think hybrid schemes like the Momentus XT or Intel's SRT will make in-roads in that market? I'm curious about the future of storage and whether or not we'll all slowly move to viable all-flash storage mass solutions as flash memory costs drop. This barring any major advance in other longterm storage technologies, like holographic systems.
  • freezervv - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Check comments page 2. ;)

    It really does beg the question...
  • kyuu - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    First of all, overall, a great review Anand.

    However, a few points:

    1) The high price point is obviously because of the Thailand flooding that has affected all HDD pricing. If it wasn't for that, I'm quite sure the MSRP would be well south of $200 (not to mention the actual selling price, like the previous Momentus XT 500GB was going for $99 before the flooding, and sometimes even lower than that with specials). Not sure why this wasn't pointed out in the review.

    2) Why oh why doesn't anyone ever address the market for these drives as a secondary HDD paired with a primary SSD? That's how I'm using my Momentus XT 500GB in my desktop setup, and it's been great. My SSD is not large enough to fit all my applications/games, so the ones that don't fit (like all my damn Steam games) go on the Momentus XT. Still miles better than a regular HDD, and much, much cheaper than buying more SSD capacity (or at least it was before HDD prices went through the roof). Doesn't hurt to have the performance for all my media files as well.

    3) This isn't specifically at you, Anand, but at those saying these drives are pointless/underperforming/too expensive/whatever -- These drives beat the heck out of a Velociraptor and have pretty much obsoleted them. You get better performance in pretty much any real usage scenario with a lot less power, heat, and it's still way cheaper per GB. Further, I would recommend this drive to anyone I know with a laptop or who even to anyone putting together a desktop if they aren't savvy enough to deal with managing data between a small SSD and a larger HDD or if they're building a performance rig with an SSD + this drive as the secondary HDD for apps/games that don't fit and media -- once the price comes down, that is.

    4) Anand, you said you got an early version of the firmware with write caching enabled. Any chance of getting some more details about your experiences with that? I would assume they'd set aside a small portion of the drive for write caching so it doesn't negatively affect the read caching too much.

    5) You also failed to note the FAST Boot feature that actually sets aside a portion of the NAND for boot files so they are never expelled by other LBAs. Now, I'm curious about a couple things that maybe you could clear up with Seagate: first, how does this work with dual-boot setups (such as Windows/Linux on the same drive)? Second, what if this drive is used as a secondary HDD and it is not used for booting an OS? Is the NAND set aside basically wasted or is the controller able to recognize this and allow that NAND to be used for caching other data?
  • kyuu - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Oh, and --

    6) This drive would be a great upgrade for a PS3, methinks... again, once the price comes down (though again, it's the whole Thailand mess and the HDD market in general, not just this drive).
  • BPB - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    From what I've seen of reviews elsewhere, the PS3 does not take advantage of any HDD faster than 5400RPM. Even a 7200RPM upgrade does little to nothing to effect performance, so you would be wasting your money. Just Google the idea and you'll see plenty of sites have tested it out. Reply
  • WeaselITB - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    I'm also really curious about how this drive would compare in that scenario. I currently have a 128GB SSD boot drive in my desktop, and a crummy old 500GB drive for data. I'm really curious what the performance advantages / comparisons between this SSHDD and something like a traditional 7200rpm 2TB drive would be ... especially even more so in a RAID-0 or RAID-1 configuration.

    I do know that Seagate is also planning a new Barracuda XT 3.5" SSHDD, but haven't heard anything further on that since the initial annoucement in early November. I would love to know more about that scenario and drive as well.

  • Hrel - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    So I saw 8GB of DDR3 on newegg today for 10 bucks. Which begs a couple questions, first how on earth can you justify 200+ dollars for 8GB of nand? I was under the impression nand was both slower and less expensive than RAM. So I do not understand the price at all.

    Second, if I can get 16GB of RAM for 20 bucks, why can't I just allocate that as a cache instead of using an SSD? I could easily put 32GB of RAM in my laptop and give 20GB or so to cache. I don't need more than 8GB of RAM for anything I do; ever, even HD video editing.
  • freezervv - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    I think the simple answer is "OS compatibility".

    Neither Windows or Mac support this in any smoothly integrated way, to the best of my knowledge.

    Yes, you could (can) do that, but what percentage of the market is able to? Vs. everyone can buy a "go faster" hard drive.
  • xSSei - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Totally different technologies. RAM is volatile memory (the moment you turn it off, all the data is lost, which makes the caching thing kinda useless if you gotta rewrite all the data to the flash when you boot it up) while NAND flash is non-volatile. The added fact that they use SLC flash, as opposed to MLC flash also makes it a bit more expensive, although I guess Seagate is trying to let their drives last as long as possible. Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    I forgot about the volitility thing. You could still create tags to reload the most used info on boot; I almost never turn off my computer; RAM isn't cleared in sleep state so that'd be fine. I like that they use SLC, I just don't think it justifies a 750GB hdd costing more than 140 when I can get 2+TB for under 100 bucks. Reply
  • melgross - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    SLC costs a good deal more than MLC, so there's that expense. Then there are different speed parts, just like RAM modules, so there's that dependency as well.

    Too many people make the mistake of looking at the lowest quality parts, and compare them to high performance parts and question the pricing.
  • Meaker10 - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    How does this drive act in a raid0 configuration, does it break or do you see a benefit of more NAND in there? Reply
  • kyuu - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    RAID0 does not "break" these drives. They work just fine, and you see the usual advantages of RAID0 and essentially will have a 1.5TB drive with 16GB of NAND cache.

    If you google, you will see plenty of reviews of the previous gen drive in RAID0.
  • Springfield45 - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Are these drives capable of supporting RAID arrays?
    If so, could an array of four of them in RAID 5 have an effective 24GB cache?
    How would that effect performance?
  • kyuu - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    1) Yes.
    2) Yes.
    3) Google for reviews of the previous model in RAID0.
  • wharris1 - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    I'm currently using the first XT in my laptop and have been very happy. Much snappier resumes and loading of chrome/email. Couldn't rationalize spending ~$4-500 for a decent sized SSD that might still get tight with all my pictures/media and the 500GB size for I believe around $150 was great. I do have a 240 GB OCZ vertex 3 in my desktop with a 2 GB WD black for storage but couldn't do that with my laptop, thus the XT was perfect. I also liked the prior poster's idea of using the new 750 GB XT as a desktop storage disk paired with a SSD, but at $245 seems a little expensive, but then, every HDD looks ridiculously expensive right now. Great review and I really like the overall price/GB/performance of these drives. Reply
  • RP94805 - Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - link

    I agree with Current Owner...

    I actually have two of the 500 gig XTs - the first in my 6 year old duo-core notebook that I purchased when the XTs first came out (and yes that made a huge difference in keeping the computer usable for the last couple of years) and the second I just added to a brand new 14" i7 QM Notebook that I bought that had a regular 500 gig 5400 rpm drive as standard.

    I bought the i7 and one of the few things I thought was limiting was the 5400 rpm drive - so since I needed the storage space and was happy with my first XT i looked to the 500 gig XT as it was only $50 on sale (timing was just right, at purchase there was mention of an additional $30 savings if purchased by 11.21.12.) This was by far the best $50 upgrade I could make to the system.

    As to reliability, I have never encountered anything at all wrong about my first XT drive and it is still running strong - don't know if the very first batch were ok, then a bad batch, then "fixed" and that is what I bought now.

    I definitely could not justify the additional $75-100 (on sale) for the additional size and slight increase in performance (and yes my i7 could make use of the Sata 6gb/sec speed of the newer model). Maybe in a year or two when prices drop the 750gig XT would then be a possible upgrade to my i7 notebook. But right now, I am a firm believer in the XTs over any 5400 rpm notebook drive and even to me the 7200 rpm notebook drives - the boot and shut down times are very SSD like (in my desktops I have the SSD + Large HDD setups) and for a business notebook where I frequently launch exactly the same applications (Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Chrome, etc) the application launch times are very fast.
  • beginner99 - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    it costs 239. here in local currency.

    An intel 310 80 GB mSata costs 179.

    A laptop usually already ships with a HDD and if it has an mSATA slot, buying the momentus xt makes no sense price and performance wise.
  • sheh - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    What happens when the flash starts failing? Will the drive turn into a standard HDD, or become unusable? What's its life expectancy? Reply
  • Denithor - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    It's SLC so with even a mediocre controller it's going to have a very long lifespan. Plus the fact that you aren't writing directly to the drive - it's writing only your most commonly used files and then reading them back multiple times - so as long as you're repetitive with your usage pattern there will be minimal writes and therefore wearing out shouldn't be an issue. Reply
  • kyuu - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    The drive will essentially be a normal Momentus 2.5" 7200 RPM drive if the NAND ever fails for some reason. Everything in the cache is still on the hard drive.

    Keep in mind it's SLC NAND and you have a 5-year warranty, so, it's not really something to worry to much about.
  • sheh - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Did Seagate officially say anything on the matter?

    Yes, it's SLC (I tend to use drives more than 5 years), for reads only (for now), all the data remains also on the platters. But the drive will fail if the firmware wasn't coded to disable the caching mechanism when the flash starts failing. Doesn't seem likely it was ignored, but who knows.

    It's not that I plan on getting one of these, but I'm curious nonetheless.
  • kyuu - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    Yes, I saw this directly stated by a Seagate rep somewhere. I'm much too lazy at the moment to go hunting for it or another confirmation.

    Rest assured, if the SLC fails before the platter portion for some reason, the drive will work just fine as a regular drive minus the NAND caching.
  • Blaze-Senpai - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    I'd be more worried about the platter-portion of the drive failing first, to be honest. Reply
  • axisofevil35 - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Ok so it's 750GB 7200RPM Momentus XT.... when can we BUY a 1TB 7200RPM Momentus XT model? Reply
  • kyuu - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    Whenever they release the next model. Hopefully they will come out with new XT models on a more regular basis (there was a pretty long hiatus between the previous XT and this one), but who knows.

    We'll likely see a 1GB+ Barracuda XT hybrid before then, though.
  • Arbie - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    I strongly considered a Momentus when they came out, probably based on Anandtech's remarks, but user reports on various forums killed that idea. Sorry to spread FUD, which it is at this point since I don't have any links, but at the time there was no end of bad news. If you're considering one of these, find out what you can on reliability first.
  • golob - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    I'd be really curious how the Momentus XT drives compare to a z68-based SSD-cache--just to get a sense of the performance of the caching algorithms from Seagate and Intel respectively. Reply
  • Toughbook - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    I picked up the 1st gen while trying to decide on a SSD to buy. At the time I had a main stream Hitachi 320GB running in my laptop. I could not notice a difference at all between the two. It was very loud and produced more heat as well. Obviously users of this drive are looking for more performance than a regular HDD. If one were to shop around and spend roughly $100.00 more you can get a Samsung 470 256GB. It will blow this drive away of course, plus the reliability is ten fold. Seagate better watch there pricing as SSD's are going down in cost almost weekly. Reply
  • adamantinepiggy - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Since a striped array is spreading out the read/swrites, the data from/to each drive is smaller and probably fit in the small NAND cache better. Just guessing.. Reply
  • Revdarian - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Just wanted to cheer Anandtech as this is still the best site for real storage reviews.
    You guys have no problem in finding the proper target for your reviews, be it professional or casual use and all inbetween, and after doing so you produce a proper review for the specific target.

  • Proph3T08 - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    When you recommend desktop users get a SSD and an HDD are you recommending that people set up the SSD for caching the HDD or leave the two drive completely separate?

    If we are to set up SSD caching which SSD size would be best for that?
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    2 drives completely separate. Have your OS and frequently used programs/games on the SSD (this obviously can vary widely due to SSD size), and store the remaining media on the traditional HDD. This is how I and many people use it.

    I have a second gen 80GB Intel drive as my boot/programs/select game(s), and then everything else is on a separate drive.
  • mmaenpaa - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link


    Just wanted to chip in. I have installed tens of these (meaning older revision Momentus XT) to our customer's PCs. Normally user's store stuff just where it goes and that place beings systemdrive. Using two different partitons even is usually too advanced for average user. Trust me, I have 20 years of experience from the days we installed 40MB drives into PC's.

    Intel RST (SSD + MECH HDD) solves this nicely, but we have only put one of these out there. And of course one unfortunate power outage meant a trip to our office. As the user did not know how to recover from this (and frankly I had to use a bit of time also). Of course we had only the read caching version enabled but still not very (average)enduser friendly solution.

    Momentus XT also fits very well on normal usage which is suprise suprise:

    power on computer
    wait for desktop
    start outlook (corporate users)
    start internet browser
    start your erp (corporate users)
    do some ligth editing with office

    Read only works wonders with this setup.

    Reliability has so far been excellent. I have about 40 pieces out there and I have possibly one flaky one (not verified yet). I have had problems installing to a few laptops old and new, then again I've had major problems with SSD (SFORCE2 & Intel 320). Most of them bios related, some sandforce related.

    I have sold maybe 30 SSDs. One (Corsair NOVA series 64GB) broke totally (thanks to Ibas & 2500€ almost all data was recovered), one has been rma'd and two more are waiting for RMA process. So in my book I still like mechanical drives, they seldom brick themselves totally like this one SSD did.

    Any way, I'll be putting mostly the older modelMomentus XTs into the machines. At this price point it is just too exepensive for corporate desktop (or home desktop). I'll wait for the write caching and a bit lower price point.


  • Denithor - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Install OS + programs on the SSD, remap Documents/Music/Video/etc into folders on the secondary HDD. That way if the SSD bricks it doesn't affect their "saved" files and there's no user data at risk.

    Of course, the secondary HDD isn't proof against failure, which is why I always recommend people back up regularly. They seldom do, but hey, then I can say 'I told you so.'

  • Denithor - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    Didn't they opt for 16+GB of MLC NAND and enable the random write firmware? With a good (even mediocre) controller writes shouldn't be a problem, the cost would be equivalent and they actually could give true SSDs a run for the money with the writes enabled. Combine this with a large capacity (1-2TB) platter drive and you'd have a winner!

    I'm guessing you guys (Anand) are under NDA for the write-enable firmware results?
  • AMv8(1day) - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    Love the review, unfortunately I think the market landscape has changed enough with the cost of even the most expensive 120/8GB SATA 6Gbit/s SSD's falling below the cost of one of these, and the fact that you can pick up 2 2.5in 1TB external drives for the price of one of these, I only see a few scenarios where this drive could be beneficial.
    1) In a SFF box with 1 3.5 bay, RAID two together in a 2.5 to 3.5 adaptor to have one very fast 1.5 TB drive, provided the read/write caching scales well, that would effectively give most more than enough storage space without having to compromise with separate drive mapping or slower storage access. And it would provide the OS the 16GB of SLC NAND you feel it needs. Oh, and aprox. 380GBs more space than a 120GB/1TB SSD/HDD combo.
    2) I would really like to see a comparison between this setup and all of the different software/hardware caching/Rapid storage technologies (Intel Rapid Storage Technology, LSI's CacheCade software & WarpDrive 2 Hybrid, OCZ's Synapse Cache SSD & RevoDrive Hybrid, and any other versions/implementations I'm missing.

    Thoughts anyone? Anand? Thanks a lot for your articles, I've really enjoyed them.
  • navaneethg - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    So, Processor -> Instruction cache -> L1 Cache -> L2 Cache -> RAM -> SSD "Cache" -> slow drive.

    That's a lot of cache to deal with. I guess in the library analogy above, the library will be filled with help desks within help desk within help desk .. :)
  • AMv8(1day) - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    There's also RAMDisk in there! Reply
  • Denithor - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    You forgot the L3 Cache.

  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    There is no way and no reason a frickin $37 HDD and a $42 SSD should combine to cost $150 more than the sum of their parts. That's just a crock. Who the hell pays $250 for this trash when you can buy 200gigs of pure SSD for that much money? Highway robbery. Reply
  • bse8128 - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    You briefly mention Intel RapidStorage, but unfortunately there's no benchmark of the regular Momentus with RST... Reply
  • JimmiG - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    Will you be doing a review of the 64GB and 128GB OCZ Synapse Cache SSD drives for comparison?

    They are a bit more complex to manage and require a separate driver and software to be installed, but they also cache writes and can be added as a cache to any mechanical drive of your choice.
  • Gidde - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    Do RAID problems related to SSDs also apply to Hybrid HDDs ? Has anyone tested running the 1st gen Momentus XT in RAID 0/1 ? Ive read a few places that the drives break quickly when in RAID... Reply
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, December 15, 2011 - link

    "To gain widespread adoption Seagate needs two things: 1) aggressive pricing and 2) a second supplier of hybrid HDDs."

    Number 3 (but should really be #1) is reliability and the original Momentus XT had HORRIBLE reliability. Honestly it was much worse than Sandforce's Vertex issues and yet got little to no press.

    Take a look at Seagate's own forum, and reviews on Newegg/Amazon. The failure rates are unknown (at least to me), but the amount of firmware updates and dead drives are not insignificant.

    After your first glowing review I was in line to purchase one myself, and recommend in all my builds that couldn't swallow the high cost of SSD's at the time. I'm glad I never bought one....
  • Daniel Egger - Friday, December 16, 2011 - link

    it sucks more power (thus emitting more heat) than the older version which is already problematic in my 2007 MacBook Pro, is barely faster than the older version but considerably more expensive? What on earth makes this drive a winner?

    And then there's still the open question whether they have finally overcome the design problems of generation one where performance may stutter/freeze, the quite disturbing clicking and chirping, the absent proper power management and the nasty vibration...

    Luckily my XT works okay-ish for me (though I had much higher expectation) but clicking, vibration and decreased battery life make me wary about the new generation. I'll probably not do it again...
  • Hrel - Saturday, December 17, 2011 - link

    I really hope Western Digital has a 16-24GB hybrid 2.5" drive in the works. A second player in the market, as you said, would help out a lot. And as far as reliability I've always had better luck with WD that Seagate. Also that amound on on board NAND would actually be usefull, where 4-8 is just barely enough and certainly less than ideal. Reply
  • shady28 - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    I'd really like to see a comparison of these HDDs short stroked to some multiple of the capacity of the SSDs. These days you can get 1000 gig hdd's for ~ $70, so if you short stroked it to 256 gig how would it compare to a 128 gig SSD? Theoretically that should lower the average seek time by 75%, which would significantly improve its random read/write performance.
  • darrengadget - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    Sorry to say it, but its a question I have to ask some of the people posting prior to this.
    This is an elegant solution to the problem of size vs speed vs price that will continue until SSD prices fall considerably.
    It may not be for you, and thats understandable, but I'm pretty sure it fits the bill for crap loads of others, people like me!
    Not every computer user has a custom desktop pc with room for multiple drives, with tonnes of spare time to throw into managing and installing potentially complicated data systems.

    Lets ask a few things to understand the market,

    What is the largest selling computer product in the world?
    the laptop (over 60% of new consumer computer products last year were laptops)

    Therefore, what is the biggest install base for manufacturers/OEM purchasers of consumer hdd's?
    the laptop

    Why do people buy laptops?
    Portability, compact size, and style

    What would most people like to improve with their laptops?

    What is one of the biggest single factors affecting today's laptop operation speeds?
    The hard disk

    Why not go totally SSD then?
    People don't all have gold bars stashed, or shotguns to rob banks (unless you're american of course) ;-)
    But seriously, most people with any stored media (music/video) that are using their laptop as their primary computer need 500gb or larger. So you'll be blowing £800 ($1400 ish) or a lot more.

    So from those questions we ascertained that most computer users basically, need a large capacity, that gets close to the speeds of SSD's, that fits into a 2.5mm form factor, that doesn't require an external box to lug around or lose. Oh, and it can't cost crazy money!

    If only there was a product that did all this.........
  • wintermute000 - Tuesday, January 03, 2012 - link

    Happy owner of 1st gen Momentus XT here.

    Would have upgraded if the price wasn't so horrible, really could do with >750Gb space. However as my laptop is a tertiary PC (desktop, media centre at home + tablet... yeah total tech junkie) can't really justify the massive price hike for a bit more holiday/travel convenience.

    To those who say it makes no difference compared to a conventional notebook drive, you must be terribly unlucky with your usage pattern / hardware combo / specific dud unit?, or really unobservant.

    I also do the standard SSD + massive amounts of conventional storage solution on my desktop and yeah its nowhere near SSD speeds but for laptops with only 1 drive, its the only game in town (unless you either want to drop the price of an entire laptop on a 512G SSD or live with sweet FA storage).
  • wintermute000 - Tuesday, January 03, 2012 - link

    and oh I had a lenovo with a 32Gb Rapiddrive solution that was similar except it was a PCIE flash drive that the BIOS/firmware on the mobo hid from the system. It was bloody lightning with the OS once it cached everything.

    If/when they do a 32Gb cache I'm on it like a rash, its pretty much indistinguishable from a full blown SSD for anything cached - and if its 32Gb basically the entire OS and all your apps are cached.
  • hgurol - Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - link

    Can anyone comment on Virtual Machine performance of this drive please?

    I already have an 7200 rpm hdd on my laptop and Im happy with its performance. I heavily use virtual machines and if this drive is significantly increasing the Virtual Machine performance, then I would not mind an upgrade.

  • alan101 - Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - link

    I've tried Seagate support by they can't seem to understand the question. Perhaps one of you fellow geeks can help?

    I want to buy the Momentus XT and then run OS X with FDE (FileVault 2). I'm curious whether the Momentus XT will still give me a better speed. My understanding is that the drive's firmware optimises by, for example, ignoring AVI files. With FDE, the firmware will not be able to detect whether a file is AVI or not. Will this noticeably affect the firmware's ability to optimise the use of the NAND cache?

    Has anyone tested the performance with FDE? Results?
  • Rick999 - Sunday, March 04, 2012 - link

    Good article by the way. I have read several analysis of the Momentus XT 750GB (and the 500GB - whose firmware was originally frought with bugs) and am now seriously looking at buying one of these, especially as you indicate that future firmware will cache writes (yes, put my swap/page files on that SSD). What I have not heard discussed is whether Windows Defrag (which will change LBA for portions of files) will impact the SSD Cache, especially if Seagates optimizing algorithms are looking at LBA to determine what is being repeatedly used. I.e., will a Defrag basically cause the read cache to need to be refreshed? Also, what impacts will certain applications that scan the entire disk have on the cache (like antivirus scans, search indexes, defrag, disk cleaner, chkdsk, backup, etc.). I.e. just because several of these different scans would seem to tell the drive that it sees file A read multiple times (for example, in a single weekend: antivirus, search index, defrag, backup - all reading file A - and EVERY other file too), so cache it, then file B is read multiple times too so cache it, file c, etc. You get the idea. Could these actions make the cache essentially overwrite itself constantly? Curious on your thoughts... Reply
  • djfourmoney - Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - link

    I've been looking at RAID 0 for the laptop, but then I have a server. So do I really need 1.5TB or more like 1.2TB of space in my HTPC when I already have 1.3TB locally and 4TB in the server????

    I don't think I need a large hybrid drive and I consider myself a technician (A+) and an enthusiast though I am not much of a PC Gamer and a mild console gamer (don't even have a PS3 yet).

    I guess for all the games I want to run on Rom Collector, that might make sense. But all SNES and NES games total are not very big (about 3GB) this would seem meaningless.

    For consumers that use a laptop (and a cheap one, sub $500) for daily use/main use, this is a good compromise between the speed of SSD and the storage capacity @GB per $1 ratio spinning drive.

    It would cost about $120-$150 for 2 SSD's (60-64GB) to run in RAID 0. Now why would you do that? Because a SATA III 120GB SSD say a Samsung is $175. The truth is, I only need 64GB for the HTPC. I will think about RAID 0 to take advantage of speed, but that increases my build budget and frankly I would put a 120-128GB in the Laptop and large drives (when prices come back down) in the server.

  • stdg20 - Saturday, May 05, 2012 - link

    Hi Anand, How would the momentus xt 750gb compare to two 7200rpm hdds n RAID 0 configuration. And also what effect would putting a RAID 0 configuration of either 2 momentus xts or 2 7200rpm drives have on a laptops battery life. Thanks :) Reply
  • FloydT3 - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    I have never set up or used a RAID configuration on my PC and am wondering if the Momentus XT 750 would be a good choice?

    If so, I would like to set up and use the redundant configuration. The one where if a drive fails, no information is lost. Any tips or articles you can suggest for me to read on how to do this would be greatly appreciated.

  • jb510 - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    I loved the Momentus XT line as a value/performance combination while SSD's were just too expensive at large capacity. I suffered through beachballs and stalls with my 500GB Momentus XT while waiting for firmware upgrades (which did finally resolve it) because when it worked it was much faster than a standard HDD... However...

    I figured the 2nd gen would be more reliable so I bought one right away... 2 months later it developed an inordinate number of bad blocks, going from SMART warning to SMART Failure in a couple more weeks. Seagate warranty replaced it only charging me for advanced replacement shipping. 2nd drive same problem 1 month later... repeat... The Seagate tech support rep I talked to when the 2nd drive failed didn't seem surprised and was actually confused because he said these drives were "known not to work with Mac's", however upon further checking he said that was the 1st gen drives but the 2nd gen were supposed to work fine. Trustingly I ordered a 3rd drive. Dead 1 month later....

    I give up, SSDs have come down to what I consider reasonable prices (<$1/GB). Before all this I was of the mindset that the major brands had about equal failure rates and support... Now I'm I'm thinking Seagate isn't what it once was and am doublely disappointed that Samsung is now part of Seagate.
  • tipoo - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    2012 is all but over, Seagate support gave me some useless response about where to find the latest firmware when I asked them, and I couldn't join the Seagate forums due to some bugs in their software. So where is the write caching firmware update?

    The latest firmware is still the one the 750 originally shipped with.
  • danwat1234 - Sunday, October 11, 2015 - link

    I share your pain, I'd love to see new firmware for this 750GB 7200RPM hybrid drive. And for Seagate to release a new one that's 2TB and 32GB of cache or so. But who knows how long it'll be before they get there. Reply

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