A few years ago, Seagate made an attempt to release a hybrid hard drive, combining normal disk platters with a small bit of NAND flash to bring the best of both the speed and capacity/price worlds. Unfortunately, this attempt failed due to the higher prices of flash of the time. Now it seems they are ready to have another go.
Seagate have announced the the Momentus XT hybrid 2.5" laptop drive. This drive slaps 4GB of SLC NAND flash onto a 7200RPM laptop platter drive to act as a sort of large cache. With Seagate's Adaptive Memory technology algorithms, a tech similar to Microsoft's ReadyBoost, the drive moves data for the user's more frequently used programs to the flash for faster access.
"For notebook PC users looking forward to faster PC performance without sacrificing storage capacity or affordability, now there’s an option,” according to John Rydning, IDC’s research director for hard disk drives. “Seagate’s new Momentus ® XT drive is the first storage device for notebook PCs that raises the bar for affordable capacity and performance."
"We see the Momentus ® XT drive as a game changer, a product heralding a new generation of hard drives that combine SSD and HDD capabilities so that laptop users don’t have to make trade-offs on speed, cost or capacity,” said Dave Mosley, Seagate executive vice president of Sales, Marketing and Product Line Management. “The feedback we’ve received from customers, industry experts and early reviews has been overwhelmingly positive, and Seagate will continue to drive innovation that provides more value and a better computing experience to consumers."
Already a several reviews have popped up and the results look fairly enticing. In BigBruin's review it easily outpaced a WD Scorpio laptop drive and in Benchmark Reviews' look at the drive, it brought the current desktop platter drive king, the Velociraptor, to its knees in a number of applications. Coming in at prices of $113, $122, and $156 for 250GB, 320GB, and 500GB capacities respectively (according to DailyTech), these new drives certainly look like they could be a great buy for those looking to bring top-notch speed to their laptop with out shelling out for a SSD.
The Momentus XT will make its first OEM appearance in the ASUS ROG G73JH as a RAID'ed pair on Wednesday and Seagate is expected to ship the drives to retail channels this week. Also announced with this release was the addition of a 750GB drive to Seagate's mainstream Momentus line, the largest currently available 7200RPM 2.5" laptop drive.