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Seagate's Momentus XT hybrid drive worth the money

June 13, 2010 06:27 AM ET

A standard VelociRaptor with 150GB of capacity, sells for $185 at Newegg.com.

The VelociRaptor, with a 10,000rpm spindle speed, is considered by most to be the fastest consumer hard drive on the market. But, the Momentus XT's platter rotates at 7,200rpm, and still beats the VelociRaptor for write speeds. So you can see how that drive's SSD really can boost performance.

It bears noting that I did not test the Momentus XT for its affect on the laptop's battery life. After testing more than a dozen SSDs for this, I've found very little difference between a hard drive and an SSD.

Overall, I like the Momentus XT for several reasons. It is a very fast drive, particularly for data writes, and it has a very attractive price that is likely to only get better as Seagate ramps up sales. Would I recommend this for a tablet or other device that would be left running while in transport? No. In the end, it's still a hard drive with an actuator arm that can damage a disk platter if bumped hard. But I would not hesitate to buy this drive for my laptop for the faster boot-up times, application loads and overall better performance.

Functional Drive Data Comparison

  Capacity Buffer size Spindle speed Interface
Intel X25-M 160GB NA NA SATA 3.0Gb/sec.
OCZ Apex 120GB NA NA SATA 3.0Gb/sec.
Seagate Momentus XT 320GB 32MB 7,200rpm SATA 3.0Gb/sec.
Western Digital Velociraptor HDD 300GB 16MB 10,000rpm SATA 3.0Gb/sec.

HD Tach Throughtput Speed Tests

  Burst Speed Average Read Random Access CPU Utilization
Intel X25-M 230.7/sec. 190.3 0.1ms 12%
OCZ Apex 219MB/sec. 156.6MB/sec. 0.2ms 7%
Seagate Momentus XT 213MB/sec. 83.7MB/sec. 0.3ms 8%
Western Digital Velociraptor HDD 250.3MB/sec. 105.6MB/sec. 7.0ms 2%

Boot-up Times (in seconds)

  Cold Boot Restart
Intel X25-M 00:17 00:21
OCZ Apex 00:22 00:25
Seagate Momentus XT 00:18 00:43
Western Digital Velociraptor HDD NA NA
Testing software: Simpli Software HD Tach

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at Twitter @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed Mearian RSS. His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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