AnandTech Storage Bench 2011

Admittedly most of the benchmarks on the previous page really portray the Momentus XT in the best light possible. The workloads are light enough to mate well with the 8GB cache and none of them are really write intensive. Over time however you'll encounter more varied workloads, including those that are write intensive or those that only access data once or twice. In workloads that aren't perfectly tailored to the Momentus XT's cache, the honeymoon is over before it began. We'll start with our light storage bench:

AnandTech Storage Bench 2011 - Light Workload

Here overall performance is definitely higher than any of the 2.5" drive offerings, including last year's 500GB Momentus XT. However compared to the 3.5" Barracuda XT, the newer Momentus XT is tangibly slower over the course of our test. If you look at performance compared to the Intel SSD 510, there's simply no competition.

Our trace based Storage Bench suites were designed to really stress SSDs, thus being more write intensive than your typical client workload. Not being able to cache writes at this point, the Momentus XT is penalized (perhaps unfairly) in these benchmarks. The results are valid however - when it comes to writing or non-repetitive workloads, the Momentus XT will perform like a good 2.5" hard drive rather than in the realm of SSD performance.

Our Heavy Storage Bench workload is even more write intensive. Furthermore, having been recorded on a Windows 7 pre-SP1 install, we see some of the potential penalties from moving to a 4KB sector drive. Most writes are 4KB aligned in Windows 7, however pre-SP1 there were still some significant cases where alignment could be an issue. Here we see the 750GB/4KB Momentus XT actually fall behind the 500GB drive with 512B sectors because of this difference:

AnandTech Storage Bench 2011 - Heavy Workload

I included these results because if you formatted your drive with Windows 7 and later applied SP1 to the install, you may see this sort of performance regression when moving to a 4KB sector drive. The only way to avoid this is to reformat your drive using Windows 7 SP1 and install from a Windows 7 SP1 DVD/image. In place upgrades won't avoid the alignment issues that are exhibited here. For a greater understanding of why 4KB sectors are necessary and why alignment can be problematic on these drives, have a look at our coverage here.

Once More, With Feeling PCMark 7 Performance
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  • 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!
  • 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.
  • bse8128 - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - link

    You briefly mention Intel RapidStorage, but unfortunately there's no benchmark of the regular Momentus with RST...

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