You want to speed up your laptop with a faster hard drive, but can’t afford to spend hundreds on a solid state drive (SSD), especially to get a drive that has considerably less storage then your current drive. Well, good news! Seagate’s Momentus XT is a hybrid hard drive that combines the high capacities of a regular spinning hard drive with the performance boosts of a solid state hard drive. The best part is, it costs just as much as a regular laptop hard drive.
The Seagate Momentus XT is a 2.5″ hybrid drive with 4GB of solid state flash and a 7200 RPM spinning disk with capacities up to 500GB. A 2.5” drive is the standard hard drive size for a laptop. The XT uses Seagate’s Adaptive Memory to logically distribute frequently used data into the flash memory for faster access. The Momentus XT can turn your computer on up to 40% faster then traditional 7200 RPM laptop hard drives. It will add a noticeable improvement in performance on day-to-day computer activities. It is also supposed to offer improved laptop battery life, less power consumption, and less heat generation over the traditional laptop hard drive.
My 13” Unibody Macbook saw a very nice performance boost from the Seagate Momentus XT compared to the stock 5400RPM Toshiba drive I had been using. My laptop starts up quicker, applications open faster, file browsing is speedier, and it offers my laptop a new overall zippiness. Prior to any performance tests I cloned my original hard drive on to the Seagate Momentus XT so that it was an exact replica. I used SuperDuper! for Mac to clone the drives.
The speed boost was almost always consistent with Seagate’s “40% faster” claim. Though the Momentus XT is supposed to run cooler and quieter then standard laptop hard drives, these enhancements were not nearly as noticeable as the speed boost. Considering the XT drive spins faster, I was just happy that it was not louder or hotter then the 5400 RPM drive. Neither hard drives ever get very loud, but they both get pretty warm with extended use.
The Momentus XT Adaptive Memory Technology relies on usage patterns, it learns how you use your laptop and optimizes appropriately. For this reason, hard drive benchmarks will not give an accurate portrayal of the performance enhancements. Either way, the Momentus XT still blew my standard MacBook Hard Drive out of the water with benchmarking. It had read and write times that were almost twice as fast!
AJA Test Results
XBench Test Results
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
If you’re anything like me, you may be dying to jump on the SSD bandwagon, except you don’t want to downgrade your capacity, and you don’t want to pay $500++ for an equivalent capacity. The Seagate Momentus XT is the perfect hard drive to hold you over until SSDs come way down in price. Though the speeds are not quite that of an SSD, they are certainly a big improvement over most any traditional hard drive. The hybrid drive is supposed to offer some improvement in power consumption, heat, and overall laptop battery life, but not nearly as much as an SSD would. Seagate’s Momentus XT Hybrid Drive is available in 250GB, 320GB, and 500GB capacities with MSRPs of just $113, $132, and $156 respectively. The 500GB can currently be purchased on Amazon for $99.99, which is really a killer deal! Compare that to a 512GB solid state hard drive and you’re looking at a $1300+ pricetag. Seagate is an extremely reputable and reliable hard drive manufacturer. If storage capacity is a factor, and you’re looking for a performance boost, this one is a no-brainer.
The Good: Inexpensive, high capacities, performance boosts
The Bad: Not quite SSD performance, does not run nearly as cool as an SSD