Seagate Ships 750GB Momentus XT Hybrid Hard Drive, Boosts NAND Flash
November 29, 2011 7:48 AM
comment(s) - last by
Seagate performance testing (click to enlarge)
The next best thing to a SSD gets better
Solid State Drives
have really come into their own over the past couple of years, as evidenced by the fast growing adoption rate amongst enthusiasts and prosumers. Hard drives have traditionally been the bottleneck in a PC, and fast NAND flash access speeds can make even an obsolete system shine. However, not everyone can afford the pricey cost of SSDs or their capacity limitations. The answer for this is
hybrid hard drives
Hybrid hard drives combine high-density, large capacity platters with NAND flash memory. This allows it to combine the fast access speeds of NAND with the cheap bulk storage of magnetic media while keeping costs under control. However, the secret sauce is in the NAND flash controller and the firmware; if either is not up to par, the entire drive will underperform.
Seagate is one of the few companies in this market, and is releasing today their third generation of hybrid hard drives for the laptop market. The Seagate Momentus XT is a 2.5 inch 750GB hard drive paired with 8GB of Single Level Cell (SLC) NAND flash.
Seagate's first attempt at a hybrid hard drive was the
in 2007. That product was a disastrous flop. It had only 256MB of NAND flash, far too small to be useful. Its 5400RPM platters led to lackluster access times. The NAND controller and firmware were problematic, and costs were high. The resulting low performance kept customers away.
The company tried again last year with the
all new Momentus XT
. A 4GB SLC cache, new proprietary controller, and rewritten firmware showed off a whole new direction. The NAND was used as a fast cache, with new adaptive algorithms powering the drive to near SSD performance levels. In many ways, this is the strategy used by Fortune 500 companies which have adopted tiered storage solutions. SSDs are used to cache frequently accessed data, while much cheaper hard drives store long-term data.
The second generation Momentus XT doubles the SLC cache to 8GB, while dual platters provide 750GB of storage. This will be the only version of the drive, as capacity trumps cost in this segment. The 500GB Momentus XT accounted for over 90% of sales in the first generation, and will continue to be sold.
A proprietary NAND flash controller has once again been used, but it incorporates evolutionary improvements made by Seagate. This combined with improved "Adaptive Memory" firmware has led to boot speeds comparable to current generation SSDs. There is no TRIM support, but the NAND controller provides a similar function during its garbage collection. The magnetic storage portion itself has a dedicated 32MB DDR2 cache, but we were unable to get details on the NAND controller's RAM. A
6Gbps SATA connection
is needed for optimal performance thanks to an improved data burst speed.
The 2.5-inch drive has a height of 9.5mm, which will limit its use in netbooks and tablets. The drive come formatted for the Advanced Format 4K (4096-byte) sector size, and will require a clean installation for best performance.
The original price was supposed to be set at $189, but was raised in the middle of last week to $199. Now the price has been set at $245 due to extreme demand. Seagate has been shipping in volume for the last week, but the huge demand has caught the company off guard. Normally the company would be able to increase production, but resources are strained due to component shortages caused by the floods in Thailand.
The drive is available today in volume at online retailers Amazon, Canada Computers, CDW, Memory Express, NCIX, Newegg, and TigerDirect. Channel orders have been high, with many e-tailers expecting these drives to be used as performance upgrade alternative to a new laptop due to tough economic times.
Seven OEMs are in the process or have already qualified the Momentus XT. This is a bit surprising considering the conservative nature of OEMs, but
has been told by Seagate that these OEMs see the drive as a major competitive advantage in their designs for high-end gaming laptops, while keeping costs in control.
Seagate has sold over 1 million hybrid hard drives already, and has plans for a third generation Momentus XT using Multi-Level Cell (MLC) NAND flash. This will allow it to greatly increase the amount of NAND while keeping costs in check.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Way too much money
12/4/2011 3:23:10 AM
Ugh a 60GB.. whats that formatted like 50GB or something ??
Would never buy that thing, still waiting for cheap 500GB SSD ;)
"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
Seagate Tries for Hybrid Hard Drives Again With Momentus XT
May 24, 2010, 7:20 AM
Seagate Enters SSD Market, Shipping Pulsar Series for Enterprise
December 8, 2009, 12:12 PM
Seagate Ships First 6 Gbps SATA Drive to Channel
September 21, 2009, 9:29 AM
Seagate Hybrid Hard Drives Ship and Disappoint
October 8, 2007, 1:41 PM
Samsung Ships World's First Hybrid HDDs
March 7, 2007, 2:43 PM
Supermicro Looks to Shake Up Server Market
May 20, 2013, 9:00 PM
HiPerGator Supercomputer is Florida's Most Powerful Supercomputer
May 17, 2013, 7:08 AM
5/7/2013 Daily Hardware Reviews
May 7, 2013, 12:02 PM
Seagate Unveils New SSD Line for Consumers, Enterprise
May 7, 2013, 10:23 AM
5/6/2013 Daily Hardware Reviews
May 6, 2013, 10:54 AM
Intel Appoints Brian Krzanich as New CEO
May 2, 2013, 9:49 AM
Most Popular Articles
Windows 8.1 Will Be Free; Microsoft Holds Onto Struggling ARM Variant
May 14, 2013, 2:57 PM
Google Announces "Pure" Galaxy Nexus S4 for $649, Android Updates
May 15, 2013, 1:42 PM
Bill Gates Gets Teary-Eyed While Discussing Steve Jobs, Shows Off Life-Saving Tech on 60 Minutes
May 13, 2013, 12:30 PM
U.S. Federal Traffic Board Wants to Make Drunk Driving Threshold Far Harsher
May 15, 2013, 11:32 AM
Google's Eric Schmidt: "Don't Be Evil" was Stupid
May 14, 2013, 11:00 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Quick Note: Sony "Teases" PS4 Ahead of Xbox Reveal in New Video
May 20, 2013, 12:33 PM
Nokia Introduces Instagram-Like App of Its Own to Help Lumia Sales
May 20, 2013, 7:10 AM
Parents of Pre-Teen Drivers Commonly Practice Distracted Driving Says Study
May 9, 2013, 7:16 AM
Apple's iOS 7 Running Into Internal Delays Due to Massive Overhaul
May 1, 2013, 4:26 PM
Elon Musk Willing to Spend More Money on Widening of 405 Freeway
Apr 26, 2013, 7:28 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2013 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information