Seagate Momentus XT 500GB review
Hybrid hard disks are a fantastic concept; they combine the high capacity of a hard disk with the super-fast transfer speeds of an SSD. Seagate’s Momentus XT puts this technology in the 2½in form factor, combining a 500GB mechanical hard disk with 4GB of flash memory.
The small amount of solid state storage isn’t designed to be user-accessible; instead, frequently accessed files are automatically transferred to it from the hard disk to speed up read times. The disk learns quickly, so after one or two reboots it should be noticeably quicker at loading Windows. The Momentus XT won’t be as fast as a modern SSD because it uses SLC flash memory, but it should still be faster than a conventional hard disk at particular tasks.
Our benchmarks didn’t benefit greatly from the hybrid memory, but average transfer speeds of 97.6MB/s and 58.5MB/s for large and small files respectively are still slightly above average for a 2½in disk. Loading a level in Crysis took a reasonably fast 34 seconds.
As most desktop PCs have room for an SSD as well as conventional storage, there’s not a high demand for 3½in hard disks that also have flash memory. In laptops that only have room for a single disk however, they make perfect sense. As a middle ground between SSDs and hard disks, the Momentus XT is only slightly quicker than other 2½in disks in most tasks. The Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB is almost as fast, yet costs slightly less and has 250GB extra capacity, so is the better choice.
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