Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive: Close to SSD performance at HDD price

The performance close of an SSD with the pricing of an HDD; that's what Seagate promise is possible with the new Momentus XT range.  A series of 2.5-inch laptop hard-drives, the Momentus XT use a hybrid combination of 4GB of SSD memory paired with a 7,200rpm HDD: by using the SSD partition with Seagate's new Adaptive Memory technology – which learns typical drive use and prioritises key files – the company reckon users will see around 400-percent performance improvements on regular 7,200rpm HDDs but at a quarter the price of a true SSD.

Adaptive Memory basically monitors which files are opened frequently and which data is regularly accessed, and intelligently shifts those into the faster, solid-state memory.  The first time you open a file, Seagate say, the Momentus XT is on a par with a regular 7,200rpm HDD; the second time, it's more like an SSD.  Over time, the hybrid drive creates a custom partition in the SSD memory suited to how the individual uses their machine.

Since it – and all of the other hybrid functionality – is handled by the Momentus XT itself, it's completely software independent.  That means you can drop the hybrid drive into any 9.5mm bay and be up and running just as though you'd used a regular HDD.  Seagate say users will see around 100-percent faster system start-up speeds, too.

Best of all, though, is the price.  The 250GB Seagate Momentus XT is priced at $113, the 320GB Momentus XT is $122 and the 500GB Momentus XT is $156, all considerably cheaper than you'd pay for a comparably sized true SSD.  ASUS have already announced they'll be offering the Momentus XT as an option in their Republic of Gamers (ROG) G73Jh notebook.

Press Release:


New ASUS Gaming Laptop to Deliver Unprecedented Speeds Powered by Momentus XT Drive

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. — May 24, 2010 — Seagate (NASDAQ:STX) today announced channel and OEM shipments of the Momentus® XT drive, the world's fastest 2.5-inch laptop PC hard drive, combining SSD-like performance with the massive capacity and much lower cost of HDDs. The Momentus XT drive also features Adaptive Memory™ – a groundbreaking new technology from Seagate that learns and optimizes the drive's performance to each user by moving frequently used information into the flash memory for faster access. The Momentus XT solid state hybrid drive boots up to 100 percent faster than traditional 5400RPM drives, the mainstream spin speed for laptop PCs, and sets new benchmarks for real-world system performance for laptops and gaming systems.

Today's high-performance SSDs for mobile computing cost as much as 10 times more than hard disk drives of the same capacity, with the price of a 250GB SSD outstripping even the cost of many laptop PCs. As a result, most consumers and system builders are unwilling or unable to pay the high price for the greater speed and quiet operations of SSDs. Additionally, SSDs offer fewer capacity options than hard disk drives.

The Momentus XT drive is a best-of-both-worlds solution that combines a 7200RPM spin speed, 4GB of solid state memory and Seagate's Adaptive Memory technology to deliver unprecedented hard drive performance. The unique Adaptive Memory technology works by identifying patterns in how often certain digital data is used, and then moving the most frequently used information to the embedded solid state memory for faster access – effectively tailoring hard drive performance to each user and their applications.

"For notebook PC users looking forward to faster PC performance without sacrificing storage capacity or affordability, now there's an option," according to John Rydning, IDC's research director for hard disk drives. "Seagate's new Momentus® XT drive is the first storage device for notebook PCs that raises the bar for affordable capacity and performance."

"We see the Momentus® XT drive as a game changer, a product heralding a new generation of hard drives that combine SSD and HDD capabilities so that laptop users don't have to make trade-offs on speed, cost or capacity," said Dave Mosley, Seagate executive vice president of Sales, Marketing and Product Line Management. "The feedback we've received from customers, industry experts and early reviews has been overwhelmingly positive, and Seagate will continue to drive innovation that provides more value and a better computing experience to consumers."

Momentus® XT Drive Brings Unprecedented Speed to New ASUS Gaming Laptop PC

ASUS has also announced that it will offer the Momentus XT drive as an upgrade option for its new Republic of Gamers (ROG) G73Jh notebook. The system is powered by an Intel i7 720Qm quad-core processor, 8GB of DDR3 memory, and DX11 capable ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5870.

"With the Momentus® XT drive, ASUS gives gaming customers who prefer the ASUS ROG G73 the capacity they need and the performance they crave," said PC Wang, vice president of the ASUS Systems Business Group. "Seagate's innovative solid state hybrid drive hands down delivers the best value, capacity and SSD-like performance to a wide audience."

The Momentus XT drive installs as easily as a traditional 9.5mm-high notebook drive for new systems or laptop upgrades and, unlike early hybrid drives, operates independently of the operating system and the motherboard chipset.

ASUS and Seagate Unveil the Momentus® XT Drive and the ROG G73JH with a Live Webcast

On Wednesday, May 26, Seagate and OEM customer ASUS will co-sponsor a live webcast unveiling not only the new Momentus XT solid state hybrid drive, but also featuring the new ASUS ROG G73JH system with two Momentus XT drives. Three lucky attendees of this webcast will win a new G73 system just for attending*. Special guest speakers will provide an in-depth look at how this drive will transform high-performance computing.