Seagate announced a new drive--the Momentus XT--which combines features both a traditional and SSD drive to deliver a hybrid that is better than either drive architecture alone. Seagate's last foray into hybrid drives failed to impress, but there are a number of compelling reasons why your next laptop should have a Momentus XT drive, or for why you should consider replacing the drive in your current laptop.
The Momentus PSD (power saving drive) was focused on being green--running more efficiently and extending battery life. The low capacity and marginal performance increase doomed the Momentus PSD, but with the Momentus XT Seagate looks to redeem the hybrid drive.
1. Speed. The primary advantage of SSDs over traditional hard drives is speed. With no moving parts, the SSD is capable of booting the operating system and loading applications in the blink of an eye relative to traditional drives. The Momentus XT drives combine 4Gb of solid state memory and a 32Mb drive cache to achieve speeds comparable to true SSDs.
2. Adaptive Memory. This is actually an extension of the first point--speed. Adaptive Memory technology is a Seagate innovation that learns from the way the computer and hard drive are used in order to optimize performance. Adaptive Memory allows the Momentus XT to intelligently choose the applications and functions to run primarily from the flash memory in order to maximize performance.
3. Capacity. As fast as they are, capacity is a limitation of true SSD drives. SSD drives are significantly lower capacity than traditional hard drives. Many are less than 100Gb. That may be OK as a second hard drive to house the operating system and key applications to improve performance, but its not enough for most business professionals. The Momentus XT basically takes the advantages of that two drive concept and combines them into a single drive--delivering the benefits of SSD with the drive capacity of traditional drives. The Momentus XT will be available in 250Gb, 320Gb, and 500Gb capacities.
4. Cost. The other disadvantage of SSDs--and arguably the one that has kept them from becoming more mainstream--is cost. A Corsair 256Gb SSD drive costs $639 from Amazon, compared with $79 for a Western Digital Scorpio drive using traditional hard drive architecture. The Seagate Momentus XT drives will cost $113, $122, and $156 respectively.
Putting it all together, the Seagate Momentus XT drives offer the capacity of traditional drives at a cost comparable to traditional hard drive architecture, but with the speed and performance of an SSD. Seems like a win-win certainly worth considering for your next laptop drive.
Follow Tech Audit on Twitter.