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Maybe not quite triumphal, the return of Seagate Technology to the market of hard disk drives for notebooks was very successful. Disks of the Momentus family with a spindle rotation speed of 5400rpm proved their competitiveness against best models from other manufacturers.

To hold the acquired market positions, it is necessary to be constantly improving the produce, as Seagate did. Back in summer, their press release dated June 14, 2004 announced new members of the Momentus family, one of which is going to be the hero of this review.

Closer Look at Seagate Momentus 5400.2 ST9100823A

So how does this hard disk drive differ from its predecessors? The ST9100823A features a higher capacity (100GB) as it is based on platters with a high data density, 50GB. At the time of writing this review this capacity was the world record for devices of that form-factor. So, there are two platters and four read/write heads in our sample (beside the 100GB drive, the series includes 60GB and 80GB models). As the family name suggests, the spindle rotation speed has remained the same, 5400rpm; the size of the cache buffer is 8 megabytes. The average seek time is 12.5 milliseconds; the average latency is 5.6 milliseconds. The burst transfer rate amounts to 48.5MB/s. The ST9100823A supports the UltraATA/100 interface, can sustain an operational shock of 250 Gs for 2 milliseconds and a non-operational shock of 900 Gs for 1 millisecond.

The acoustic characteristics of the drive can be considered good: the sound pressure level is 2.9 bels in the performance seek mode, 2.6 bels in the quiet seek mode, and 2.4 bels in the idle mode.

The low power consumption of the device should be emphasized, too. The manufacturer claims it to equal the power consumption of 4200rpm drives: 2.3 watts in the seek mode, 2.05/2.1 watts at read/write operations, and 0.99/2 watts in the idle/standby mode. The dimensions of the drive are 9.5x69.85x100.2mm; its weight is 102 grams. The ST9100823A is equipped with fluid dynamic bearings and Giant Magnetoresistive heads, supports EPRML technology. The drive also features the exclusive innovations 3D Defence System and QuietStep ramp load as well as the industry-standard S.M.A.R.T. So, all the positive traits of the first generation of the Momentus family have been inherited by the second generation.


The retail price of the drive was not declared yet at the time we worked on the article.

Testbed and Methods

We used the following benchmarking software:

  • WinBench 99 2.0;
  • FC-Test 1.0.

The testbed was configured like that:

  • Albatron PX865PE Pro mainboard;
  • Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz CPU;
  • IBM DTLA-307015 HDD, 15GB;
  • RADEON 7000 32GB graphics card;
  • 256MB DDR SDRAM;
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4.

We tested the drive using the generic drivers of the OS. The drives were formatted in FAT32 and NTFS as one partition with the default cluster size. In some cases, specially mentioned below, we created 32GB partitions (FAT32 and NTFS, default cluster size).

To have a reference point in our examination of the Momentus ST9100823A, we compared it to hard disk drives of the same capacity (80GB) from the competing companies: Hitachi 5K80 HTS548040M9AT000, Toshiba Super Slimline MK8025GAS and Samsung SpinPoint M40 MP0804H.

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