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  • BernardV - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I was in the market for one of the first generation drives about 6 months back, but during my research on the drive I went onto the Seagate forums, needless to say my mind was quickly changed about buying one of these drive. There seemed to be endless complaints about reliability?

    On another subject is 8GB read cache perhaps still not large enough? Or does it come down to prices that will skyrocket?
  • mevans336 - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I suspect, (as Anand did back in his original article) that 8GB sufficiently increased read performance, but it's really the write cache that is going to be the killer.

    After all, for an average user, what are they going to write that is anywhere near 8GB in size?
  • iGo - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    When I bought the 500gb Momentus XT, I was literally taking up a gamble as after reading the complaints on Seagate forums I was in two minds too. But it's been running just fine in my 13" Macbook (late 2008 model) and I had kept close watch on firmware updates for the drive from Seagate. It's definitely not as fast as SSD, but the improvement is there. I always felt that 4GB cache is way too low, especially after seeing even Intel SSD caching falling short at 20GB SSD for caching lot of content.

    Although I've to say, that after using my GF's 11" macbook air, I really feel my 13" macbook with better processor is still dog slow thanks to the mechanical drive. But then I just focus my mind on how my friends' laptops are even slower with 5400RPM and even 7200RPM drives and it makes me love the Momentus XT drive in mine. :)
  • mwarner1 - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I bought a 500GB XT when it first came out to replace the internal 5400rpm 250GB of my 11.6" CULV netbook. I could not justify a huge SSD in such a machine for cost reasons (I need at least 250GB) and thought this would be an ideal compromise.

    I have also read of the issues with the drive over at the Seagate forums, but have never had any issues worth noting myself. It certainly does not offer the performance of an SSD, but is a notable, if fairly small, step up from a standard 7,200rpm drive and a marked improvement over the 5,400rpm drives that ship with pretty much all laptops & netbooks.

    I doubt I will be upgrading to this larger capacity drive myself, but I can certainly recommend the XT line for laptop users who only have one drive bay and require a reasonable capacity, which is likely the majority of the market these days?
  • TrackSmart - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    In some laptops you can swap the optical drive for a second hard disk or SSD. It's a nice compromise, since you can purchase a cheap 64 GB SSD and still have the HDD for extra storage. Not useful for your laptop, which lacks an optical drive.

    I'm guessing that it won't be long before you'll see a single-drive-bay solution that mimics the above. Heck, if I had the means, I'd produce this myself. In my simplified world, all you'd need to do is mount a RAID controller and the SSD chipset/NAND onto a small board and combine this with a low profile hard disk (i.e. single platter 320GB or 500 GB drive). Are there any venture capitalists out there ready to fund this project for me?
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    The problem with forums is that you will only see people who have problems. I've had no problems at all with my 500GB XT, and I know a few other people who haven't had any issues either. Reply
  • Operandi - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    If Seagate wanted these drives to be relivent they have to move a hell of a lot faster than this. This drive should have been out 12 months ago, and we should have a 1TB (and higher 3.5" drives) with 16GB of NAND cache as well as write caching. At this point does anyone care about something like this? Reply
  • kyuu - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I absolutely do. Though I'm more interested in the Barracuda XT hybrids since I don't really use a laptop, I would definitely use a hybrid drive as my mass storage drive over a traditional HDD along with my primary SSD (since I also store applications that I can't fit on my relatively small SSD that can still benefit from increased IO performance). And, I would still recommend the Momentus XTs to anyone I know who uses a laptop and isn't going to spend a couple hundred dollars for a much smaller SSD drive. I'd also love to use one of these for a PS3/Xbox 360 HDD.

    The reliability issues you see on the forums are the minority complaining loudly. The people who have no issues don't generally pop into the forums to report everything working smoothly. I've been using the 500GB Momentus XT in my desktop rig as my secondary HDD for a quite a while now with nary a hiccup.

    I do hope it's cheaper than the MSRP. If HDD prices in general don't relatively quickly, I don't know if they'll be able to price these cheap enough to be competitive.
  • stopclips - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I care. I'm an electronic musician and I've wanted to get one for my touring laptop, however 500GB doesn't cut it for media storage for me. 750GB will suffice just fine. I'm looking forward to the review. Reply
  • FaaR - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    Why not just keep your media on a portable USB drive? There's 1TB 2.5" units today (or maybe more) that run bus powered. You don't need fancy flash caching for music data, when a dog-ass slow CD drive from the early 1980s can deliver uncompressed music data just fine a regular mechanical drive serving MP3 or whatever will suffice just fine. :) Reply
  • stopclips - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    Touring with a portable HD with the chaos of live shows? No thank you. It's yet another essential piece to fail/break/lose/depend on. Not an option. External hard drives are nice when you have a cozy office, not when you're out in the real world. Reply
  • erple2 - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    Interesting. If 500 GB is insufficient for your needs, then what makes you think that 750GB won't (quickly become) also be insufficient for your needs? At least enough to think about a dual HDD solution (faster, smaller SSD + large, slow HDD for media files)?

    I think that if you're already filling 500GB with media files, an extra 250GB won't last as long as you think it will.
  • stopclips - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I have plenty of experience in this realm and basically 500 GB is what I use for just regular work (ie, having every essential audio file I need for performance and DJ'ing). Additional 250GB is just space for the etc.

    I don't acquire or produce new material on my touring machine at a very fast rate, so a 250gb buffer is plenty for me.

    Obviously 1TB would be great, but that's not really an option at the moment. 750GB on my touring machine is the sweet spot for my needs.

    Thank goodness I don't do much video, then I'd really be hurting for space! ;)
  • Peskarik - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    What's with complaining? Do not like it - do not buy it, it's that simple.

    I like these drives a lot, run perfectly fine and fast enough, so yes, I care.
  • Peskarik - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I really like these drives, have two 512GB ones, one as main drive in laptop, one as data drive in desktop (combined with 60GB SSD for OS and a few other programs).

    Can't wait for the reviews. I hope you compare with normal 7200rpm drives and with SSDs (but not only large and expensive ones, I'd like to see some smaller SSDs in 60GB range in the comparison).
  • Taft12 - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    If Seagate is going to charge $245 for this thing, Anand damn well better compare it to 160GB SSDs with their superior performance to the small entry-level ones

    Yeah we get it, floods devastated your industry. Now that violin solo has finished, your industry was the one that chose to manufacture everything on a flood plain.
  • etamin - Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - link

    I'd also like to see comparisons with 10k rpm WD velociraptors. Those used to be on the benchmarks but have disappeared once SSD reviews started popping up regularly. I'm kind of lost as to where my velociraptors (SATA 3gbps) stand in relation to these newer parts. Reply
  • bmgoodman - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I put one of Seagate's hybrid Momentus XT drives into my HP netbook last Christmas and it made a noticeable difference in responsiveness. Startups, shutdowns, and resume from sleep/hibernate took roughly half as long as before. I'm very pleased, so far. Reply
  • hechacker1 - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I'm glad they are finally moving ahead with this technology. I wasn't too impressed with the first gen's numbers compared to the regular 7200 RPM 500GB Segate drive.

    I almost jumped on the Momentus XT on black friday for my Macbook, but the existing 7200 drive I have seems to work just fine, even if loading IS really slow in certain situations.

    OS-X Lion tends to be much slower than Windows on the same laptop. At least Windows preloads everything in RAM, but Lion seems to just use RAM for no reason (8GB worth). Perhaps the excessive RAM usage is related to using Filevault 2. I'm thinking Filevault keeps all the encrypted pages in memory for quick decryption. Or Lion is just poorly optimized compared to Snow Leopard.
  • ExodusC - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I've had bad luck with Seagate's desktop line of hard drives, with about four or five dying in the past few years (all Barracudas I think). I actually had similar luck with WD's Raptor hard drives (the first generation 74 GB drives).

    I haven't had any problems with the Seagate 500GB 7200RPM drive in my laptop (presumably a Momentus), nor with any of the WD Caviar Black drives I've used (or the one laptop drive I've used).

    Basically I'm not too inclined to trust the failure rate on any Seagate desktop drives (looking at you, Barracuda XT). Is Seagate really the only (current) hybrid drive manufacturer?

    I guess I'll be happy with my SSD boot/program drive and my 1.5TB WD Black storage drive. These as a laptop solution make sense, though.
  • etamin - Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - link

    Technically OCZ has a hybrid drive, but it is PCIe and beyond the commoner's wallet. Reply
  • mikemayousa - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    With the prices of SSD's falling so quickly, it just makes no sense to sell me a 250 dollar hybrid drive when I can buy a small SSD and a mechanical drive(external for laptops) for the same price and get insanely better performance. Reply
  • jb510 - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    YMMV, but in testing of the 500GB XT drive Anand showed it was reasonably close to SSD performance for real world light desktop loads and while i've never worked daily on an SSD equiped computer, my personal experience having briefly gone back and forth is that my 500GB XT is way way way faster than 500gb 7200rpm and 750gb 5400rpm drives.

    Personally I've tried many configurations over the years and never been happy with external solutions to my storage needs, they are both physically cumbersome and SLOW (even the fw800 drives I use).

    My 500gb Momentus XT has served me well for a year moving from my 2008 MBP to a 2011 MBP. I've been considering a 512gb SSD now that they are under $1k to replace it. Smaller than 500gb would just never work for me, as I already offload files (photos/media) to a network every couple months which is inconvenient. This new 750gb drive at $250 though is very attractive to get me and comfortably get me through another year as SSD prices continue to drop.
  • tester1 - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    Just wondering if anyone has tested the new 750GB XT vs the old 500GB XT to see if they notice any performance difference.

    Also I am wondering if anyone has tested the performance while running Full Disk Encryption software like BitLocker etc.
  • kyuu - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    With twice the NAND, improvements to the firmware, and the inclusion of write caching in a firmware update in the next couple months, these should be significantly faster than the 500GB Momentus XTs. Reply
  • kyuu - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I hope to see Anand doing a review on these soon! Reply
  • phoible_123 - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I was super-excited about the hybrid drive when it came out, but that was because SSDs were $2-3 per Gigabyte, so a 256GB SSD would literally double the price of your laptop (or increase it by 50% if you run a Macbook Pro). I had a hybrid drive in my last work laptop, and it was definitely faster, although nothing compared to an SSD.

    Over the following year, the prices of SSDs dropped enough that cost became much less of a factor. I bought a 240GB SSD for around $300 when I got my new MBP this summer. You can now get a 240GB drive for about $240 if you get a good deal. Sure, it won't be SATA3, but you can get an Agility 3 for as little as $300 if you get a great deal. The prices of SSDs are dropping to the point where they will soon obsolete HDDs.

    Most people just don't need 750GB of capacity. I kept buying 500GB drives, and found that I never filled up more than 200GB. I even bought the sled that would let me take out my optical drive and replace it with the original drive from my system (or another SSD). I never bothered. I bet that, within the next year we will see 480GB SSDs for reasonable prices.

    The big downside of these hybrid drives are that they are complicated. If either drive fails, you are SOL (kind of like running a RAID setup). The original Momentus XT got lots of complaints on Newegg (of the 3 we had at work, 1 failed). I suppose that when they can enable write caching and up the SSD size significantly, you will see performance equivalent to an SSD. OCZ's Revodrive hybrid is pretty much the same speed as an SSD (faster even because it has 2 controllers for double the channels), but it has a 100GB SSD cache drive, and it would likely be impossible to put 1TB + 100GB in a 2.5in case.

    Overall, for enterprise customers who need lots of storage space, the hybrid approach could make sense, but for the rest of us, it was an interim solution that has seen its time.
  • anactoraaron - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    Since really these drives are just "enhanced" and not true hybrids. I think to earn the "hybrid" terminology performance would be 50-75% of your traditional SSD in EVERY performance benchmark. These drives don't quite do that and the 1st gen wasn't even close. I am looking forward to the review, however, I doubt there will be more than a 5-10% improvement over the 1st gen. Even with 8gb nand you will still be using the platter portion way too often and performance will not be close to being as good as a SSD.

    Are they better than your traditional 5400or7200 RPM drive? Yes. But not by that much and you have a small premium to pay for it (not counting the current HDD prices).
  • alcalde - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    8 GB would be almost enough to cache my entire OS and every program installed along with logs, temp files, etc.. Why would you be "using the platter portion way too often"?

    Your performance WILL be as good as an SSD on those items that are cached in the NAND. Just as studies have shown that most users with numerous apps installed on their smart phones only use five or six regularly, the same is no doubt true of most users' laptops (and a lot of the OS is probably composed of libraries that rarely or never get used).
  • Hubb1e - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    These drives only cache small files that are randomly accessed as that is the traditional weak spot on a mechanical drive. They may never be as fast as an SSD, but the benefits of a mechanical drive without the big random access drawback are where it counts. As long as the read cache is big enough for these small files, your machine will perform faster and more consistent. Sequential performance on a mechanical drive is still within an order of magnitude of an SSD so that's not the weak link. Reply
  • Hubb1e - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I'm glad they are sticking with this tech. The old XT solved my nearly 10 minute Vista bootup issues where Vista would take forever to stop hitting the harddrive. It caused my computer to be completely unresponsive after bootup and bootup happens often enough that it was a major issue for me. Rather than reinstalling all my software to windows 7 this simple $85 drive boots Vista64 in 3 minutes now. I don't care that much about absolute performance on this machine, but 3 min vs 10 min is a great upgrade for me.

    I studied my use case and the XT was perfect for me. I'm glad they are improving it but $250 is ridiculous. I'll wait till they are less than $100 to drop in my other machines.
  • alcalde - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I don't understand the appeal of a write cache (other than for benchmark junkies). Are laptop users routinely hampered by needing to wait for disk *writes* as opposed to disk reads? Drives already have a standard buffer for this and the OS can use system memory to cache writes as well. In fact, for power-saving reasons, it's beneficial to delay writes on a laptop as long as possible (with a tradeoff in data safety).

    It would seem to me that real-world (as opposed to benchmark) performance would decrease if the NAND read cache capacity was diminished to set some aside for write buffering. Under normal use the user isn't going to notice write buffering (as it's likely rendered superfluous by a modern OS already caching writes and employing extra-long delayed writes on laptops) but will miss the extra read cache.

    The only scenarios I can see it being noticeable would be page/swap file use if the laptop was using all of its available memory and suspending to disk being faster (although this is again not something the user probably cares about anywhere near as much as resuming from disk).
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    26 - 34% faster than the old 500GB model, depending on the workload.
  • kyuu - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    Very nice. Now I just have to wait for HDD prices to drop back down to reasonable levels so I can consider these... Reply
  • ezinner - Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - link

    I just bought the first generation 500 GB model for my laptop. The stock drive was starting to make a lot of noise and my boot time was too long. I was wondering if Seagate would be coming out with a larger drive with more NAND since this drive has been out for a while now, but I couldn't wait.

    I must say that I do see an improvement in my boot time and I love the added capacity.
  • etamin - Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - link

    I think a comparison of hybrid drives with Z68 SSD caching would be really interesting to see in the review as they appear to be physically similar solutions. Reply
  • 2in1hdd - Monday, December 05, 2011 - link

    USA Patent

    Field of the invention
    The present invention relates to hard disks, and particularly to a composite single structured hard disk drive capable of receiving more than one recording disks. Moreover, in the composite single structured hard disk drive of the present invention, the RAID0 structure can be used. Furthermore, more disks and R/ W heads can be arranged in the machine casing of the present invention so that the speed is increased and the backup copy can be prepared. Furthermore, as comparing with other RAID array, the number of hard disks is decreased.
  • 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

    Seagate still hasn't released any write-caching firmware for this awesome drive! Does Anand have the early version of the write-caching firmware as a file and post it? Reply

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