Seagate Introduces New Hybrid Drives: Promises SSD Performance and HDD Capacity

Seagate Unveils Second-Gen Momentus XT Hybrid Hard Drive

by Anton Shilov
11/29/2011 | 09:34 PM

Seagate Technology has unveiled its second generation hybrid hard drive that uses a special NAND flash cache that is used to accelerate loading of frequently used programs or data. Seagate promises that for $245 end-users will get performance comparable to solid-state drives while having 750GB of capacity.


Seagate Momentus XT 750GB hybrid hard drive comes in 2.5" form-factor, uses Serial ATA-600 interface, 7200rpm motor and is compatible with a wide range of desktops and notebooks. With 750GB capacity on the optical media and 8GB single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash cache, the Momentus XT uses Adaptive Memory technology to identify data usage patterns, and then move the most frequently retrieved information to solid state memory for faster access. Adaptive Memory effectively tailors hard drive performance to each user and the applications they use.

Seagate calls its flash assisted storage technology "FAST Factor" and claims that the firmware can learn and optimize itself automatically over time, thus offering maximum possible performance.

Seagate stresses that since 8GB of NAND flash SLC memory does not necessarily cache all the frequently used data and only stores some of frequently used data from particular LBA locations, 8GB is enough to speed up the majority of applications and larger cache is not necessary. Based on Seagate's demonstration, the  Adaptive Memory tech can speed-up boot time of applications by up to two times compared tom 5400rpm hard drives. Nonetheless, it is clear that while boot sequences can be analyzed and then accelerated, actual real-world workflow is not a set of pre-defined sequences and will thus not be accelerated unless people access particular files very often.

“Laptop users want faster access to all of their content, from gaming, music and video to spreadsheets and documents, creating strong demand for the highest performance. Seagate is excited to answer this need with a second-generation Momentus XT drive that delivers solid state drive (SSD) speed, greater storage capacity and easy installation at an affordable price,” said Scott Horn, vice president of worldwide marketing at Seagate.

Seagate claims that the Momentus XT drive is nearly 70% faster than the prior Momentus drive version and up to three times faster than a traditional hard disk drive.

"High-speed storage devices make a difference when it comes to improving overall PC performance. Seagate’s newest Momentus XT drive gives notebook PC users an economical option for boosting PC performance while at the same time providing spacious storage capacity all in one device," said John Rydning, research vice president at IDC.

Seagate has so far shipped over a million of hybrid drives. Before releasing the new Momentus XT, the company ensured that notebook systems from Alienware, Asustek Computer, Dell, Sony and Toshiba are compatible with the novelty. Those PC makers also plan to adopt the Momentus XT 750GB hybrid drives. Seagate stresses that Amazon, Best Buy, CDW, Staples and Tiger Direct will be among retail/e-tail partners to sell Momentus XT at recommended price of $245. Keeping in mind HDD shortages, it is easy to expect the actual price to be higher the recommended one.