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Seagate Laptop SSHD review

Richard Easton
22 Mar 2015
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
54
inc VAT (500GB)

Seagate’s Laptop SSHD has plenty of form factors to support different sized laptops

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Specifications

Capacity: 1TB, Cost per gigabyte: £0.06 (1TB), Interface: SATA3

Seagate’s Laptop SSHD hybrid drive combines a hard disk with 8GB of flash memory for frequently-accessed files, to help bring the storage space of a mechanical disk with some of the speed of an SSD to laptops. The hybrid drives are available in different form factors to support a multitude of systems. There's a standard 7mm size (ST500LM000) that will support most laptops, 9.5mm (ST1000LM014) for large desktop replacement models and a super-slim 5mm drive (ST500LX012) for Ultrabooks, so it’s important you buy the right drive for your system.

The 7mm and 5mm drives are only available in 500GB capacities, while the thicker 9.5mm drive is available in a generous 1TB; this is the model Seagate sent us to review. This works out at around 6p per GB, making the drive good value. The 1TB drive has four heads and two platters, which explains the additional thickness. The drive operates at 5,400RPM, which is standard for most laptop disks. All the Laptop SSHD capacities include a cache of 8GB of MLC NAND flash memory.

The SSHD’s controller uses an algorithm to learn which files you use most frequently. It then moves these files to the NAND flash for faster access. This process doesn’t require any drivers, so it should work in Mac and Linux laptops, as well as on Windows.

Overall performance in our benchmarks was excellent. The drive could write large files at 132.1MB/s and read them at 133.9MB/s; the large file write speed in particular is one of the best we’ve seen from a laptop disk. Small-file transfer speeds were also very good, with 82.7MB/s write and a huge 92.7MB/s read, for an average of 87.7MB/s - the best score we've seen from any 2.5in or 3.5in disk.

Due to the way the cache works, we were expecting subsequent benchmark runs to show even faster speeds, but this wasn't the case; even after four or five runs we saw no improvement over the first time we ran our file transfer benchmarks.

The drive's hybrid technology also came into its own when booting into Windows. The first time we measured it, using the Bootracer utility from www.greatis.com/bootracer, the Laptop SSHD booted into Windows in 50.7s. The second time this dropped to 44s, and once we had restarted six times the cache had managed to reduce the boot time to just 28s.

It may be more expensive than other laptop hard disks, such as the Western Digital Green Mobile, but the fast Seagate Laptop SSHD is a solid upgrade if your laptop’s existing storage is a slow mechanical hard disk. Hybrid drives have always made a lot more sense in laptops where you’re limited to one storage disk, need plenty of capacity and are not looking to spend considerably more on a high-capacity SSD. With the added benefit of the faster boot times and general overall responsiveness, the Seagate Laptop SSHD is a fine upgrade choice.  For other options and advice check out our Best hard drive 2015 buying guide

Hardware
Capacity1TB
Formatted capacity (NTFS)932GB
Cost per gigabyte£0.06 (1TB)
InterfaceSATA3
Power connectorN/A
Spindle speed5400RPM
Cache64MB
Quoted seek time8ms
Buying Information
WarrantyThree-year RTB
Prices£67 (1TB)
Supplierwww.scan.co.uk
Detailswww.seagate.com
Part codeST1000LM014 

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