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Seagate Desktop SSHD review

Richard Easton
22 Mar 2015
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
135
inc VAT (4TB)

A great-value hybrid drive, but its speeds weren’t as impressive as we’d hoped

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Specifications

Capacity: 1TB/2TB/4TB, Cost per gigabyte: £0.06 (1TB), £0.04 (2TB), £0.03 (4TB), Interface: SATA3

Seagate’s Desktop SSHD was one of the first 3.5in desktop hybrid drives to launch. Hybrid drives look to alleviate the lack of storage capacity available from SSDs by combining a mechanical hard disk with a smaller amount of NAND flash memory to speed up access times for frequently-used files. Thanks to technologies such as Triple Level (TLC) cells and vertically stacked chips, SSDs keep getting bigger, but the cost per GB of an SSD is still considerably higher than in mechanical disks and will likely remain so for a long time. Hybrid drives aim to be the best of both worlds in giving you the capacity of a mechanical hard disk combined with some of the speed advantages of an SSD.

Seagate’s adaptive memory technology learns the user’s data access patterns and adds the most-used data to the solid-state memory to speed up your system. The 4TB Seagate Desktop SSHD we tested is equipped with 8GB of MLC NAND for this purpose. The mechanical hard disk component consists of eight heads and four platters, which allows for the large capacity. The hard disk has 64MB of cache and operates at 5,900RPM; a common speed for very large disks.  

The Seagate Desktop SSHD is also available in 1TB and 2TB configurations, and notably these both have faster spindle speeds of 7,200RPM. At 3p per GB for 4TB, 4p per GB for the 2TB disk and 6p per GB for the 1TB model, the disks still offer good value but are fractionally more than Seagate’s Desktop HDD and Western Digital's Green drives.

Seagate only sent us the 4TB model to test; the 2TB and 1TB models should be slightly quicker due to their faster spin speeds. In our file transfer benchmarks the Desktop SSHD had respectable rather than spectacular performance. Its large file write speed of 193.9MB/s was good, and similar to that of the Western Digital Green 4TB disk, but 175.7MB/s read was far behind WD's disk. Small file transfer speeds of 79.9MB/s write and 77.6MB/s read were fine, but nothing special.

We ran a further test on the disk to see if the cache made a difference to the frequently-used files accessed when booting into Windows. We used the Bootracer utility (www.greatis.com/bootracer) to time how long Windows took to finish booting entirely. The first run with the SSHD took 42s (which is similar to the Western Digital Green drive's consistent 41s). However, the second run dropped to 29.5s, and the third to 22.9s as the cache kicked in.

Boot times aside, the Seagate Desktop SSHD's performance isn’t any higher than that of a standard 3.5in drive such as one of Western Digital's Green range. Recommending a 3.5in SSHD is always difficult, too, as most desktop cases have multiple drive bays, so one SSD for your operating system and software and a separate hard disk for your media is going to be the better combination. SSHDs for laptops generally make more sense, as you are limited to just one drive bay.

However, if you don't want the hassle of having your operating system and files on different disks, and value fast boot times, the Seagate Desktop SSHD could be for you. For everyone else the Best Buy-winning Western Digital Green range is a better bet. For that and others, see our Best hard drive 2015 buying guide.

Hardware
Capacity1TB/2TB/4TB
Formatted capacity (NTFS)3726GB
Cost per gigabyte£0.06 (1TB), £0.04 (2TB), £0.03 (4TB)
InterfaceSATA3
Power connectorN/A
Spindle speed5,900RPM (4TB), 7,200RPM (other capacities)
Cache64MB / 8GB SSD
Quoted seek time12ms
Buying Information
WarrantyTwo-year RTB
Prices£55 (1TB), £82 (2TB), £135 (4TB)
Supplierwww.dabs.com
Detailswww.seagate.com
Part codeST1000DX001, ST2000DX001, ST4000DX001

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