Fast and Economical Hard Drive

By | 2010-07-30

This is my review of the Seagate Momentus XT (ST950056 20AS) 2.5″ 500GB hybrid hard drive.

It’s a 7200 RPM normal spinning platter hard drive with 4GB of SSD style memory.  What does that mean?  Well it uses common hard drive technology, but is almost as fast as a true SSD (Solid State Drive) that  has no moving parts and is just a block of memory.  But “SSD” drives are still quite expensive, and the average person would never spend the money to get an SSD drive that has the capacity of a common HD yet.  I purchased a 80GB Intel X25M SSD earlier this year, for about $240 on sale.  In comparison, this Seagate Hybrid drive is about $140 at the regular price for 500GB.  That’s 6 times the size for about 1/2 the price.

I’m so impressed with this drive, I don’t know why more vendors don’t carry it, it’s hard to find.  I can only guess that this is the only hybrid HD I could find due to the marketing problems of explaining to people what it is, why pay a little more for it, and that it isn’t a true SSD HD.  It’s too bad because you will definitely see the difference in use if you are a power user, without breaking the bank with buying a true SSD.

I first upgraded from a Western Digital WD5000AAKS 3.5″ HD to a Hitachi HDS721050CLA362 3.5″ HD in my main system.  I felt a noticeable improvement in system speed and load and save times with that Hitachi Deskstar drive.  But moving to the Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid was another definite step up.  I’ll save you the benchmark numbers, as these can be found many places by professional reviewers.  But if you need convincing, go watch this Seagate video posted on the Dailymotion website.  It convinced me, and I have had the same real world speed improvements you will see in this video.

The journalist, John C. Dvorak,  has often commented and complained the past year or so that the fabled “hybrid” hard drive was no where to be seen.  And that has been true.  Well Seagate has finally put one out and I love it.

I am also trying to mainly use 2.5″ laptop size HD’s in my desktop systems now.  Why?  They are smaller so they take up less room in a system and in storage, quieter and put out less heat.  You won’t get the cutting edge capacity you do in 3.5″ drives (which are now up to 2TB in a single drive) but 500GB in a 2.5″ HD is common, and recently 1TB 2.5″ drives have been released, but I haven’t found them for sale yet.  Still I personally prefer the form factor for these 3 reasons, and with stacking mounting plates you can easily fit two 2.5″ HD’s in the space of a 3.5″ drive bay.

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