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Published on February 29th, 2012 | by Deejay Knight, Editor/Founder

Seagate Momentus XT 750GB Review


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Since its inception, GAMINGtruth has been first and foremost about video games. We’ve leaned heavily toward consoles and portable consoles, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get down and dirty on the PC. I’ve got a dedicated gaming PC that I use for games you can’t get on console, and it’s always a beautiful thing to behold.

If you follow PC gear, you should be well aware of SSDs, hard drives using solid state memory just like in a USB flash drive or cell phone. They come as standalone drives or you can customize a purchased PC with them (when custom ordering one, of course), and Ultrabook laptops such as Apple’s MacBook Air are only available with an SSD to keep their power usage down and functioning speed up. The greatest aspect of them is their speed, and the difference between a SSD and a regular HDD is instantly noticeable.

Last month at CES, we connected with Seagate Technology, LLC, to get our hands on their hottest new piece of tech: the Seagate Momentus XT. It’s a Solid State Hybrid Drive, which takes the best of both worlds from SSDs and HDDs. How does it work? Let’s get into that, shall we?

Tech Stats At A Glance

At first glance, you’d think the Momentus XT is a standard laptop HDD. It’s a 750GB, 7200 RPM HDD with a 32MB cache and using a SATA 6Gb/s interface. What it adds is an 8GB flash chip inside the drive that, on paper, boosts speeds up to 3x regular HDD speeds.

One of the major features of the Momentus XT is that it tracks the files and applications you use most often and saves the related files to the flash drive, boosting performance. You can notice a difference in as little as two or three times opening an application. When I got the drive in the mail, I wasn’t sure whether or not these claims would be factual, but I was definitely ready to give it a try!

Test Bed

All tests on this hard drive were run on a 2010 MacBook Pro with a 2.53 GHz Intel Core i5, 8GB of 1067 MHz DDR3 RAM, with an NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M 256 MB graphics chip, running on Mac OS X Lion 10.7.3. The original HDD is a 500GB Toshiba MK5055GSXF with an 8MB cache, 5400 RPM access speed and uses a SATA 2.6 300 Mbit/s interface.

For these tests, after I installed the drive, I opened each program at least three times each and rebooted the computer three times.

With that out if the way, let’s get to the goodies.

Performance

To test the drive’s performance, I opened just about every application I normally use and timed how long it would take to open and be fully functional. Without further ado, here are the stats: [easychart type=”horizbar” height=”550″ width=”720″ title=”Momentus XT 750GB Review” groupcolors=”000000,45BFE6″ groupnames=”Toshiba 500 GB, Momentus XT 750 GB” valuenames=”Startup, Mail, Firefox, Lightroom 3, Photoshop CS5, Flash CS5, NetNewsWire, iTunes, Steam, Torchlight Open > Title, Torchlight Title > Game, L4D2 Open > Title, L4D2 Title > Game, Shutdown” group1values=”69,112,77,25,65,39,9,10,52,34,15,44,38,7″ group2values=”56,35,8,6,5,20,2,3,19,26,14,32,30,7″]

As you can see, performance is boosted across the board with some programs definitely beating out the 3x speed increase that Seagate suggests. While some of the speed could be attributed to the upgrade from 5400 RPM to 7200 RPM, the major boost to speed in some of these applications is far more than you’d find from such a slight speed increase via RPMs.

Long story short, whatever calculations Seagate are using to keep the flash updated with your most recent programs, they’re working nicely. Those calculations do allow for your tastes to change, however. When your usage of an application slows, the same algorithms that add those files to the flash drive will remove them. So if you start using an app more than one that’s on the flash portion of the drive, the old app will be replaced. You know what they say, out with the old and in with the new!

Bottom Line

When it all comes down to it, Seagate has created an awesome monster. Merging the best of the HDD and SSD worlds is an amazing idea, and the Momentus XT is proof of it. You get the speed of an SSD in the applications you use the most, combined with the size and price range of a standard HDD. The 750 GB Momentus XT is $178.99 on Amazon.com right now, while a comparably sized 600 GB Intel 320 Series costs $1,069.99. You could build an awesome gaming PC with the leftover $891. That’s what I’d do!

Final Truth:

[xrr label=”Rating: 9.5/10″ rating=9.5/10]

+ SSD Speed in some apps at a portion of the price
+ 2.5″ form factor perfect for gaming laptops
+ Hybrid flash is continually updated with your most frequently used apps
+/- Still trying to find a ‘con’

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About the Author

Deejay has been a gamer since the Atari 2600, has wrestled–and defeated–alligators with only his toes, and once aligned all the planets in the Solar System by uttering the words "Coo Coo Ka-Choo". In his sleep. He currently bides his time behind the scenes here at GAMINGtruth.com, streaming at http://www.twitch.tv/deejayknight and teaching.



2 Responses to Seagate Momentus XT 750GB Review

  1. Mike says:

    If anything, I’m not sure this is as relevant to gamers as it is for photographers and designers using Photoshop, Bridge, etc heavily.  Good stuff.

    • DeejayKnight says:

      Thanks for the comment, Mike!

      I put the other applications in there to show that the overall benefit of the drive fits more than just games. Whatever program is used the most will run faster, and the drive tracks it. If that program happens to be a game, so be it!

      Luckily I’m into photography and design, so I can show the difference in load times across the board. Those apps did catch the brunt of the benefit! 😀

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