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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  • 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,
    Anand
    Reply
  • deputc26 - Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - link

    "Drive Power Consumption - Sequential Write"

    both are identical on page 6

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5160/seagate-2nd-gen...
    Reply
  • 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...
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply

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