New To The Game: Seagate SSD/Hard-Drive Hybrid

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The Momentus XT includes a 7,200-rpm spinning hard drive in capacities of either 250, 320 or 500 GB, along with a 4-GB SSD. The integrated package boots a PC in half the time of a standard 5,400-rpm hard drive and increases overall performance by keeping regularly accessed data in the SSD, said Joni Clark, senior product marketing manager at Seagate.

Seagate’s Momentus XT also includes a couple of other technologies to boost storage performance, Clark said.

The drive’s Adaptive Memory technology identifies patterns of usage to keep the most frequently accessed data in the SSD, which means the drive becomes tailored to the individual user’s needs, Clark said.

“So the first time you use it, it acts like any 7,200-rpm hard drive,” she said. “But when you boot up the second time, it starts seeing the files you use. By the third boot, some people are seeing boot time drop by half.”

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The data in the SSD portion of the Momentus XT is also mirrored in the spinning media portion to protect it against any problems with the SSD, Clark said.

In other aspects, the Momentus XT works like any 7,200-rpm drive. “There’s no increased battery life or reliability,” she said. “It’s all about performance.”

No special drivers or software are needed to use the new drives, she said.

The target market for the new drives is power users, particularly gamers, but anyone needing higher performance, Clark said.

Portable PC maker Asus plans to unveil its new Republic of Gamers (ROG) G73Jh notebook PC on Wednesday, she said. That day should also see Tiger Direct and Newegg release the drive to their laptop customers. They are also expected to offer brackets to let the Momentus XT work in desktop PCs, she said.

The system builder community will have access to the new drives within the next couple of weeks, as it will take some time to get system builders trained and distributors to have the drives available, she said.

James Huang, product marketing manager at Amax Information Technology, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder, said a lot of his company’s appliance customers are looking at SSDs as an option and might be interested in Seagate’s new hybrid drive.

This includes customers of Amax’s storage and high-performance computing appliances, Huang said. “As long as it gives better performance, our customers will explore the option,” he said.

The 500-GB Momentus XT hybrid drive is list-priced at $156, which compares to $1,400 to $1,500 for a 500-GB SSD, Clark said.