Back to Article

  • gregounech - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    This is really bad, the gap between 5400rpm equipped laptops (low to mid-end) and SSD is just gonna be even bigger.

    And 5400rpm is just terrible.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    Nah... it's just Seagate. Hitachi and Western Digital are still doing 7200RPM. Still, the gap between 7200RPM and SSD is nearly as large as that from 5400RPM to SSD. A 7200RPM drive on it's own is only about 20% faster than a 5400RPM drive in certain metrics; in stress situations (e.g. random access), SSDs are over 100x faster than a conventional HDD. Reply
  • melgross - Saturday, March 02, 2013 - link

    That 20% is meaningful. And it comes much more cheaply, with much bigger drives. It's just not true that a 20-30Gb caching drive plus 5400 drive is all that close to a complete SSD solution.

    There's a big gap in performance between the caching solution and a full sized SSD. I've tried all the combo's. so e people will still prefer a 1ter 7200 drive rather than a far more expensive, and much smaller SSD, or a combo.
  • euler007 - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    Well the Micron M500's MSRP is 600$ for 1TB, so no matter what people say, it's not about IF these 2.5" hard drive will die out, it's when. Reply
  • jameskatt - Sunday, March 10, 2013 - link

    I prefer Other World Computing's Mercury Electra 1 TB 2.5" SSD. But it still costs $1100.

    The Hitachi Travelstar 1 TB 2.5" Hard Drive on the other hand costs only $115.

    With WD 2.5" hard drives already at 2 TB, SSDs have a HUGE price and storage barrier to cross. In regard to when, it may not occur for the next 8 years. SSD prices aren't dropping that fast at all.
  • euler007 - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    I think 8 years is way off. The high-end market is over for HDD in two years and the low-end in four years. Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Saturday, March 02, 2013 - link

    Kinda reminds me of when Seagate said, "We are leaving the low-power green hard drive market!"

    And then WD was like, "Yay, Red series for everyone! Screw you, Seagate! You want to leave money on the table, we shall collect all of it! ALL OF IT!"

    Aren't all Raptors 2.5" with a spacer? Just seems like to me every direction WD takes, Seagate calls it Opposite Day and does the opposite instead. I'm not convinced that Seagate actually HAS a long term plan here. That's a shame because they'll just slowly phase out of relevance as time goes on.

    You'd think they'd stop flirting and go on, buy OCZ, and get it over with. Everyone knows they were almost an item back in the day, then they got to quibbling over minutiae. Do they keep her dog? (Yes.) Do they keep his cats? (No.) Do they keep her scrapbooking room? (Yes.) Do they keep his media room (No.), garage with advanced building area (No.), or room dedicated to lifting weights (No.)?

    Seagate, you know you always do what the woman wants. She makes the rules you live by and in return you get nookie every now and then. Maybe.

    This is Seagate's future, whether they buy OCZ or buy out Intel's SSD business wing in the future.
  • Alexvrb - Sunday, March 03, 2013 - link

    I agree with most of what you said, but you're slightly wrong about the VelociRaptors. It's not just an adapter, it's a passive cooler (heatsink) as well. It's actually pretty important, these puppies get hot. Not that it matters, VR isn't laptop-friendly in heat or dimensions. It's thicker.

    Anyway, one of the main reasons I would have considered a Momentus XT (I actually bought one for my last lappy) is that you're getting a significant upgrade not only because of the cache, but because most of the time when you're replacing an OEM laptop drive, it's packing a 5400RPM unit. So you get the fast cache, but you also get a huge improvement even on non-cached files.
  • Golgatha - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    Wait what?!

    Velociraptors hardly get hot at all? I have one outside of the cradle mounted in a cramped HTPC, it's about 2°C higher than without the cradle, and still significantly lower temperature than a 3.5in HDD. The cradle (heatsink) is mainly for show. You are right about the height, it is 12mm instead of the standard 9.5mm. Something tells me they could engineer a 9.5mm 300GB, 10k rpm drive; it's just that with SSDs in the market there isn't any point in doing so.

    Back OT. Intel's RST using a 32GB or 64GB SSD cache with a 2.5in large 5400rpm HDD will perform better than anything Seagate can engineer.
  • cjl - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    The bigger issue with putting a velociraptor in a notebook is the power requirement. It pulls massively more power than a notebook drive (though much less than most desktop drives), and it still requires a 12V supply line. Notebooks only supply 3.3 and 5V, so even if you could plug a velociraptor into a notebook, it wouldn't even spin up (due to the lack of a 12V supply from the notebook). Reply
  • SlyNine - Sunday, March 03, 2013 - link

    lol does she take your balls to the board and give them back to you when you come home? Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, March 03, 2013 - link

    Overbearing sheballs driving shaftless fan, nookie maybe - rofl Reply
  • B3an - Saturday, March 02, 2013 - link

    How about reading the article next time.

    Seagate will be making hybrid drives instead, like the Momentus XT. These are faster than 7200RPM HDD's which are still very slow compared to SSD's. So a hybrid will perfectly fill the gap between 5400RPM HDD's and SSD's.
  • Alexvrb - Sunday, March 03, 2013 - link

    Except that Momentus XT *is* a 7200RPM drive and that's a big part of why it's faster than the 5400RPM drives it typically replaces. I know, I've owned one. The cache was great, but it wasn't enough by itself. Reply
  • Kilnk - Saturday, February 08, 2014 - link

    Yeah and please, tell me what happens with that data that's not on the 8GB (lol) SSD part of the hybrid drive? Can't even put a few games on there without most of them being on the slow part of the hard drive. Reply
  • dananski - Sunday, March 03, 2013 - link

    I think my 5400rpm cheapo laptop drive is fine. I was pulling >50MB/sec off it yesterday, and I'm only using it as a data drive anyway, so the OS is nice and nippy on the SSD. I might try to get a faster HDD when I run out of space and need to upgrade it, but I wouldn't pay much extra for it. I think Seagate are justified in abandoning 7200rpm in 2.5 inch drives. Reply
  • andrewaggb - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    5400rpm laptop drives are painfully slow. If you can afford a quality ssd, it's so much faster...

    I replaced the 5400 rpm drive in my laptop with an ssd after a couple days because I couldn't stand it. Launch times, everything where painful. i7, dedicated graphics, 8gb ram, and it ran like garbage. It's almost 3 years old now, but still a decent laptop.

    My wife used to complain about her laptop (i7 quad core, dedicated graphics, etc...) being slow and taking forever to start programs and boot up. She would barely use it. I replaced the 5400 rpm drive with an ssd and windows 8, it's about 10 seconds from power button to start screen, apps launch fast, and she uses it all the time now.

    Get a 160gb+ ssd though. 128gb is not quite big enough in my experience.
  • ilihijan - Sunday, March 03, 2013 - link

    I just got paid $6784 working on my laptop using these simple steps leaked on this web page. Make up to $85 per hour doing simple tasks that are so easy to do that you won't forgive yourself if you don't check it out! Weekly payments! Here is what I've been doing epic2.c(om) Reply
  • phillyry - Wednesday, March 06, 2013 - link

    ^^^^^Post by ilihijan above is SPAM ^^^^^ Reply
  • WaltFrench - Saturday, March 16, 2013 - link

    As the article says, many laptops — e.g., my 2010 MBP — can be retrofitted with a pair of disks; the suggested System+Applications folders fit easily into my 160GB Flash drive, and user data is accessed just fine from my 1TB 5400 spinner.

    Most user data is read in and written out essentially sequentially (especially with system-provided defrag), so access times are pretty fine, not that disk access speed is a huge issue with my zillions of MP3s, JPEGs and MP4s, or my Office files.

    This works much faster than the 7200 rpm drive it replaced, has more capacity, and only required me to put the seldom-used optical drive in a separate case that stays home. Win-win-win.
  • phoible_123 - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    Yeah, but 5400 with a reasonable-sized SSD cache is close to as fast as an SSD (take a look at Apple's Fusion Drive for an example).

    Seagate could replace the 7200 rpm XTs with 5400 and a larger cache, and they would probably outperform the current XT.
  • ImSpartacus - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    Yes, I wonder if this is true. Would performance be significantly impacted if the Momentus XT drives used 5400rpm hard drives? Reply
  • phoible_123 - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    I was thinking of comparing a solution using 7200rpm drives to something identical except for using 5400rpm drives. I would expect that the larger the cache, the less the spindle speed matters, but that's just speculation.

    I still liked this gem, "I’m personally a much bigger fan of going all solid state and manually segmenting your large media files onto HDD arrays, but perhaps that’s me being set in my ways (or just me being right, not sure which one)." That alone made it worth a quick reread.
  • Alexvrb - Sunday, March 03, 2013 - link

    Whenever your cache does fail you, or just when loading/transferring data that is never supposed to be cached in the first place, it's going to be that much more painful when it has to fall back to the 5400RPM platters. If you use an SSD in your desktop, do you want your secondary drive to be a slow-as-dirt 5400RPM 2.5" laptop drive? But in a laptop with one drive bay, the only way to get both decently fast mechanical speeds for mass storage, and fast speeds on your most common files, is a hybrid with platters spinning at 7200RPM.

    One advantage of Momentus XT over other solutions is that it's completely software agnostic. It's all done internally and as far as the OS knows it's just a dumb mechanical drive. The competing devices with more advanced, larger caches use SSD controllers and are a less eloquent blend of hardware and software to make it function as one drive, not unlike caching with a seperate drive. Either way you still would suffer more if you had to fall back to an even-slower 5400RPM mechanical solution for large files that aren't cached.

    At this point I almost feel like they should have gone the opposite direction and discontinued 5400RPM drives instead. :P
  • Wolfpup - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    I think so yes, as the XT when it's not pulling from cache is still the fastest mechanical notebook drive (even faster than the normal Seagate 7200RPM models as it has 2x the RAM cache too). Plus writes aren't cached.

    Now...boost the SLC flash enough, like maybe 128GB up from 8GB and it might be different, but the original 4GB cache model, while that doesn't sound like much, has a huge impact.
  • tipoo - Sunday, March 03, 2013 - link

    Fastest mechanical drive for Seagate, I'm pretty sure the Scorpio Black is faster for HDD functions. But the flash is well worth it imo, as a XT 750 owner. Reply
  • melgross - Saturday, March 02, 2013 - link

    Apple doesn't use a caching solution. It's totally different, and requires an SSD that's at least 128GB. It's much better in performance than a caching solution. Reply
  • tipoo - Sunday, March 03, 2013 - link

    Well, if by "hybrid" you mean a flash component big enough to be a standalone SSD by itself. Reply
  • colinstu - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    7200rpm drives in laptops were always super slow feeling. 5400 is even worse, but it's not worth it. Some kind of well-implemented hybrid drive solution or all out SSD is the best way to go if someone wants speed, want's some REAL speed. Reply
  • madwolfa - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    Why don't they release something like Apple Fusion Drive? Make a real SSD + HDD combo in one 2.5" case. Reply
  • dilidolo - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    That is what they are heading to. No more 7200 rotation only disk
    5400 rpm disk + SSD cache.
  • melgross - Sunday, March 03, 2013 - link

    Again, Apple doesn't use a cache. It's different, and requires a much bigger SSD. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    Why isn't Apple's fusion drive a cache? It's doing the same thing as the Seagate Momentus XT and Intel's RST do. It's a bigger SSD, granted, but the same thing is happening under the hood. Frequently used files are moved to the flash, while large or infrequently used files are pushed off to the mechanical drive. Reply
  • p_giguere1 - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    Because files aren't duplicated onto the SSD, they're moved. Data is either on the hard drive or on the SSD, not on both as with traditional caching.

    As a result, you end up with the total storage capacity of both the HDD and SDD combined, not just the HDD.
  • TSkyline5 - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    This doesn't surprise me. I've read reviews where the performance of higher-capacity 5400 RPM 2.5-inch drives approached that of 7200 RPM drives due to higher storage density per platter. The still-increasing storage capacities/platter densities of mechanical 2.5-inch drives should help narrow the performance gap between 5400 RPM drives and 7200 RPM drives. When you take the lower price points of solid state drives into account, 7200 RPM drives become harder and harder to justify, particularly since (if I remember correctly) 7200 RPM drives use more energy. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    That might be the case if you had a big enough discrepancy in storage, but we don't, comparing the largest 5400 to the largest 7200RPM drives. Like 5400 now is at 1TB, and 750GB for 7200RPM, last I checked at least. 7200RPM has faster seeks, reads, and writes, in any situation. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    This is kind of freaky, BUT the way it reads they're not really discontinuing hybrid drives (i.e. the XT and it's decendants).

    The way things are now, there's not much of a price penalty going with the XT, which has a larger RAM + flash cache, so maybe that's all this means.

    As for the XT not providing SSD performance, well...that depends. I actually notice a bigger difference going from a regular 7200RPM drive (let alone a 5400RPM drive) to an XT than from an XT to an SSD. Why? The XT for me hacks boot times to 1/3. A quality SSD maybe chops off another few seconds. And once thing's are in RAM, it doesn't make much difference. I was actually more impressed with my first XT than my first SSD as a result.

    I'd be really disappointed if they actually got rid of 7200RPM drives too because in a dual drive bay system, I'd still much prefer a 7200RPM drive for my media than 5400RPM. And unless you're willing to shell out $350 or more for 512GB, you probably can't go with an SSD in a single drive bay system, unless you have incredibly modest storage needs.
  • kmmatney - Saturday, March 02, 2013 - link

    I've been pretty happy with the XT, although not enough to use it in my work laptop. I tried it out, but it wasn't enough "SSD-like". However I moved it to a desktop, and it worked out great there. So good, I bought another one for another desktop. They definitely have their place if you need more space than an SSD, and don't want to deal with a separate OS drive. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Saturday, March 02, 2013 - link

    Momentus XT will still be around, don't worry :-) Reply
  • tipoo - Sunday, March 03, 2013 - link

    Will future XTs still be 7200RPM? Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    That's the million dollar question. None of the articles I've read about this have mentioned what spindle speed future XT drives will be. Reply
  • DanaGoyette - Saturday, March 02, 2013 - link

    I once tried a 500GB 7200RPM Seagate Laptop drive, and it vibrated so much my fingers actually SKIPPED across my touchpad instead of sliding. It also threatened to make my hands go numb, but I never gave it a chance to do so.

    I ultimately replaced it in my laptop with a Hitachi 750GB 7200RPM drive. Very little vibration there. As for the Seagate drive, I ended up putting a rubber case on it, and sticking it in my HP Microserver as a system drive. (Yes, even inside the server, it still needed a rubber case.)

    So, I won't miss those Seagate drives.
  • Jinxed_07 - Saturday, March 02, 2013 - link

    Maybe I'm just a fool, but I don't see SSDs because the one and only storage options in the future. The fact of the matter is that flash storage is, and always will be, volatile. Using one is akin to playing Russian roulette, in a best case scenario would keep your data for 5 years then have it blown away. Of course you could back it up several times by then, but the nature of NAND is that it becomes harder and harder for the flash memory to hold it's charge as the size of the chip is shrank to obtain those higher densities.
    I'm not too excited about the release of a theoretical 1TB SSD because it's probably going to be way too unstable to be trustworthy to hold MY data, and OZC already made a PCIe SSD with that capacity (if you can't find it for sale anywhere it was probably discontinued because it was, you guessed it, too unstable.)
  • Kristian Vättö - Saturday, March 02, 2013 - link

    I don't get your point about 1TB SSDs being unstable. Enterprise SSDs are available in capacities of over 10TB per drive and they are not "unstable". Reply
  • ShieTar - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    You seem to confuse RAM-drives with NAND-Flash drives. There is nothing volatile about flash, beyond the fact that all semiconductors are chemically meta-stable and will degrade if you leave them lying around for a few centuries. But thats true for mechanical hard-drives as well, they will demagnetize in the long run just as well. In reality, if you backup data on a SSD, a HDD and a DVD, the SSD has the best chances of those three to still be readable 20 years from now.

    And the OCZ line of PCIe SSD hasn't gone anywhere, you can still buy their 3.2TB R-Drive if you happen to have a 20k$ lying around for that purpose. It's just not the kind of product you find on a "save 20$" kind of sales anouncement.
  • phillyry - Thursday, March 07, 2013 - link

    While NAND may be non-volatile, it does still degrade over time with use. As Anand has stated in one of his articles, the cells eventually cannot hold a charge. This is the reason for 3k-5k p/e (program/erase cycle) ratings and the respective 3-5yr warranties.

    I wouldn't agree with the OP insofar as to say that SSDs become unstable over a certain size or all of a sudden but I think that they may be alluding to the ever decreasing cell size as we step down process nodes and the inherent difficulty that arises from smaller cell sizes, as well as by going from SLC to MLC and now TLC with the 20nm TLC Samsung 840.

    To quote Kristian, "adding more bits per cell reduces endurance and also increases program, erase and read latencies." This is from his article on Samsung's 840 and the move to TLC.

    This trade-off from SLC to MLC and subsequently from MLC to TLC is one of the major factors driving price down and capacities up, so the point is valid, in this respect. That being said, it has also been noted that improvements have been made (to the controllers mostly, I believe, and through over provisioning) that allow us to continue to move down the process node and increase the number of bits per cell, with trade-offs that have proven to be acceptable while continuing to increase the reliability of SSDs over time through controller and firmware improvements.
  • Notmyusualid - Saturday, March 02, 2013 - link

    And it was absolutely wonderful.

    And I'm quite surprised they are dropping 7200rpm, they will just leave the market more open to those producing hybrid drives with 7200rpm internals.

    FYI, they laptop housing that drive was stolen. That is the only reason it was replaced.
  • tipoo - Saturday, March 02, 2013 - link

    I still love my Momentus XT 750 even in the face of SSDs, I was hoping they would release a 1TB one with 16GB or more flash cache. The capacity per dollar is still appealing and the performance is notably better over standard 7200RPM drives. Reply
  • Beenthere - Saturday, March 02, 2013 - link

    2.5" Laptop HDDs are terrible for performance. A reliable SSD should be the norm, but some folks want 47 Terabytes of storage for their laptop so hybrids will serve as hack-ware substitute until SSD prices drop and SSD quality improves. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    By Seagate's OWN spec sheets, the 5400RPM versions of its drives use MORE energy than the 7200RPM drives, if you don't believe it, look it up on their site themselves.

    5400 is obsolete.

    I hope they mean they are discontinuing NON-Hybrid 7200RPM, because if they took the Momentus XT and bumped the NAND to about 30GB, it would be a fine, fine product.

    Disclaimer: I do have a Momentus XT 750GB in my rig as a compromise between SSD and HDD for my giant Steam folder. (Caching the game you're currently playing has to count for something, right?)
  • wclardy - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    Before consigning 7.K rpm drives to the "no longer needed" pile, you folks might want to look at a recent Infoworld article titled "Test your SSDs or risk massive data loss, researchers warn: New study finds 13 of 15 flash-based solid-state drives suffer data loss or worse when they lose power". The URL for the article is

    The key point is that most SSDs tested showed significant data loss or data corruption when restarted after a power failure. Since "most freuently accessed data" usually correlates to "most important data", this has some serious implications for hybrid caching architectures as well as pure-SSD installations.
  • ShieTar - Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - link

    In what world is power failure a relevant problem for a notebook? Reply
  • mtcoder - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    problem I see is no one is looking at any raid option. Sorry but I like a raid option in my laptop just as much as I do in the desktop, and can't raid between a SSD and platter usually.
    And going with two SSD tend to not be a viable option either when looking at cost to size comparisons.
  • ryanmm - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    " In another five years, short of a new explosion in storage intensive files, we will likely reach the point where everything becomes pure SSD because the cost and performance will be better than any conventional or hybrid solutions."

    Won't happen, people were saying this five years ago and it hasn't come close to coming true.

    Enthusiasts shouldn't confuse what they would like to happen with what will happen in the real world. Hard drives will continue to be dominant.
  • ShieTar - Tuesday, March 05, 2013 - link

    Actually, I am already at the point where both my Desktop PC (256GB) and my Notebook (128GB) are pure SSD. Only my fileserver is keeping 4TB of mechanical drives for music and videos.

    Some users may have more data-extensive hobbies then myself, but for the vast majority of youtube-watching standard users, 256GB of notebook-memory are fine, and 512GB will be more than enough. And thats already available at prices below 300$, and falling quickly.
  • Nfarce - Wednesday, March 06, 2013 - link

    Like someone else here, I have the 750GB Momentus XT for my PC gaming rig, mainly for Steam files and Flight Simulator files. It is slower than the 256GB SATA III SSD in my backup gaming rig, but much, much faster than the 500GB 7,200 HDD that used to be in that backup gaming rig.

    And let's not forget about 2.5" HDDs for gaming consoles. I highly doubt a large capacity SSD will be used for the Xbox 720 or PS4. I have a 750GB 7200rpm drive right now in a PS3 for home video movies and other files not game related. Will have the same needs for the PS4. Let's hope WD doesn't decide to go this way of axing the 2.5" drive either.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now