Seagate Momentus XT 750GB Review
Hard Drives are becoming increasingly easy to fill up these days, and that’s not a good thing. A nearly-full hard drive leads to a slower computer and a frustrated user. It’s never fun to delete stuff. If you know the feeling then it’s time to upgrade to a larger and faster hard drive, and that’s where Seagate’s Momentus XT 750GB comes to the rescue. The Momentus XT is a hybrid drive combining the speeds of an SSD with the extreme storage size and affordability of a spinning disk drive (HDD).
There’s no doubt that Solid State Hard Drives are the future of computing: they’re substantially faster, safer, and lower power than traditional spinning hard drives. The down side? They cost a lot, especially if you’re looking for a solution with more than a 128GB of storage.
It’s been a year since we reviewed Seagate’s Momentus XT 500GB and they’ve just released their 750GB, which isn’t just larger in capacity, but faster too! It’s one of the best affordable upgrades to a laptop that we can recommend. It’s also compatible with virtually any computer, laptop, and operating system — no special drivers required.
What is Momentus XT? Seagate calls the Momentus XT a Solid State Hybrid Drive (SSHD) that uses Flash-Assisted Storage Technology (FAST). It’s a 2.5″ hard drive, which is the standard size for most laptops. It spins at a speed of 7200RPMs, a fast speed for laptop drives, which are normally 5400 or 4200rpm. The 750GB Momentus XT has 8GB of NAND flash built-in, an upgrade from the 500GB XT. Another upgrade from the 500GB model is the SATA interface, which supports the newer 6.0Gb/s standard and is completely backward compatible with the 3.0Gb/s standard.
Benefits Of Momentus XT: Seagate designed the Momentus XT to be intelligent. It learns from the user and decides when and what to write to the built-in 8GB SSD. It maximizes the overall efficiency and speed of the drive by using “adaptive memory” and storing your most frequently used files and programs in the flash memory for very speedy retrieval. When there’s background metadata being transferred to and from your drive, the solid state drive steps in as an intermediary and limits the need to mechanically use the spinning hard disk. This improves the speed and power efficiency.
A faster hard drive equates to a faster computer. Even something as simple as web browsing is affected by hard drive speeds. The Momentus XT is up to 3 times as fast as traditional laptop hard drives. The computer’s boot up time will also be drastically improved. Since the built-in SSD reduces the reliance on mechanically reading and writing to and from the hard disk, less energy is being used and your computer can run quieter, cooler, and on less battery.
The performance upgrade after installing the 750GB Momentus XT was very much noticeable. I was coming from Apple’s (2008) Unibody MacBook Toshiba 5400RPM hard drive and immediately noticed an overall zippiness that I had been missing. I copied over all of my data, via Time Machine, to the XT. Even with a heavily cluttered drive full of randomness, my MacBook felt like it was brand new again. Applications open quickly, file transfers are less tedious, and I’m able to sort through my immense amount of high resolution photography.
Unfortunately, my Macbook is old and doesn’t support the 6Gbps SATA interface. For this reason I was expecting the speed of the 750GB to be right on par with the 500GB Momentus XT. I was wrong. The 750GB was faster than the 500GB in most real-world use scenarios. Instead of housing a 4GB SSD, the 750GB XT houses an 8GB and also features FAST Factor Boot and FAST Factor Flash Management. The FAST Factor Boot explains why my boot-up time was over 30% faster than the 500GB XT….which is already substantially faster than my stock Toshiba drive.
While, the power savings isn’t really noticeable, and the volume and heat were only slight improvements, the performance boost is extreme. It definitely feels to be on par with Seagate’s “3X as Fast” claim. The performance gets better over time as it learns from your usage behavior. While it is close to SSD speeds, the XT is not quite there yet. But good luck trying to find a 750GB SSD!
If you’re either running low on hard drive space or you’re looking for an affordable performance boost, the Momentus XT is a great upgrade. The install process is no different than any other hard drive and there’s no special drivers or software to worry about. The Momentus XT was an awesome idea by Seagate. Consumers buy SSD’s for performance, they’re not meant for storage. The XT combines the best of both worlds. Seagate’s Momentus XT retails for $189.99, but can be purchased for $178.99 on Amazon.com.
Now compare that to about $700 for the cheapest 512GB SSD. The XT is the perfect solution for enhancing your laptop/computer and waiting for SSD prices to fall.
Check out our Momentus XT 500GB Review
The Good: Fast (Even Faster than Momentus XT 500GB), Learns From You, Affordable, Enhanced Start-Up Speeds, No Special Installation/Drivers/Software, 6Gbps SATA interface, 8GB SSD Built-In, Immense Amount of Storage (750GB) for a Laptop Drive, 7200RPM
The Bad: Doesn’t Run as Cool or Quiet as SSD