It's been over a year since I reviewed Seagate's first hybrid hard drive: the 500GB Momentus XT. At the time I felt that it wasn't nearly as good as an SSD, but likely the best 2.5" hard drive money could buy. Armed with only 4GB of SLC NAND acting as a read cache, the original Momentus XT delivered VelociRaptor performance in a much more power efficient package. 

Since then Seagate hasn't updated or expanded its line of hybrid HDDs at all. I kept hearing rumors of new drives coming but nothing ever surfaced. More recently Seagate announced that the next version of the Barracuda XT will be a hybrid drive as well.

Today Seagate is announcing availability of its second generation Momentus XT. Now at 750GB with 8GB of SLC NAND (once again, as a read cache), the new Momentus XT is a definite evolution over its predecessor. With a larger NAND cache Seagate can be more aggressive with its caching, not to mention the improvements to the mechanical side of the drive as well. The entire package is still not nearly as fast a value SSD, but it's doing much better than mechanical (3.5" included) hard drives in our tests.

Write caching is still not enabled on the NAND, however Seagate is planning on enabling it via a firmware update sometime in 2012. I've seen results from an early version of the write caching firmware and the improvement is tangible. 

The 750GB Momentus XT will be available at a MSRP of $245.

We're still hard at work on our review of the drive, expect to see it later this week!

Update: Our review is live!

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  • stopclips - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    Touring with a portable HD with the chaos of live shows? No thank you. It's yet another essential piece to fail/break/lose/depend on. Not an option. External hard drives are nice when you have a cozy office, not when you're out in the real world.
  • erple2 - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    Interesting. If 500 GB is insufficient for your needs, then what makes you think that 750GB won't (quickly become) also be insufficient for your needs? At least enough to think about a dual HDD solution (faster, smaller SSD + large, slow HDD for media files)?

    I think that if you're already filling 500GB with media files, an extra 250GB won't last as long as you think it will.
  • stopclips - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I have plenty of experience in this realm and basically 500 GB is what I use for just regular work (ie, having every essential audio file I need for performance and DJ'ing). Additional 250GB is just space for the etc.

    I don't acquire or produce new material on my touring machine at a very fast rate, so a 250gb buffer is plenty for me.

    Obviously 1TB would be great, but that's not really an option at the moment. 750GB on my touring machine is the sweet spot for my needs.

    Thank goodness I don't do much video, then I'd really be hurting for space! ;)
  • Peskarik - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    What's with complaining? Do not like it - do not buy it, it's that simple.

    I like these drives a lot, run perfectly fine and fast enough, so yes, I care.
  • Peskarik - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I really like these drives, have two 512GB ones, one as main drive in laptop, one as data drive in desktop (combined with 60GB SSD for OS and a few other programs).

    Can't wait for the reviews. I hope you compare with normal 7200rpm drives and with SSDs (but not only large and expensive ones, I'd like to see some smaller SSDs in 60GB range in the comparison).
  • Taft12 - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    If Seagate is going to charge $245 for this thing, Anand damn well better compare it to 160GB SSDs with their superior performance to the small entry-level ones

    Yeah we get it, floods devastated your industry. Now that violin solo has finished, your industry was the one that chose to manufacture everything on a flood plain.
  • etamin - Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - link

    I'd also like to see comparisons with 10k rpm WD velociraptors. Those used to be on the benchmarks but have disappeared once SSD reviews started popping up regularly. I'm kind of lost as to where my velociraptors (SATA 3gbps) stand in relation to these newer parts.
  • bmgoodman - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I put one of Seagate's hybrid Momentus XT drives into my HP netbook last Christmas and it made a noticeable difference in responsiveness. Startups, shutdowns, and resume from sleep/hibernate took roughly half as long as before. I'm very pleased, so far.
  • hechacker1 - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I'm glad they are finally moving ahead with this technology. I wasn't too impressed with the first gen's numbers compared to the regular 7200 RPM 500GB Segate drive.

    I almost jumped on the Momentus XT on black friday for my Macbook, but the existing 7200 drive I have seems to work just fine, even if loading IS really slow in certain situations.

    OS-X Lion tends to be much slower than Windows on the same laptop. At least Windows preloads everything in RAM, but Lion seems to just use RAM for no reason (8GB worth). Perhaps the excessive RAM usage is related to using Filevault 2. I'm thinking Filevault keeps all the encrypted pages in memory for quick decryption. Or Lion is just poorly optimized compared to Snow Leopard.
  • ExodusC - Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - link

    I've had bad luck with Seagate's desktop line of hard drives, with about four or five dying in the past few years (all Barracudas I think). I actually had similar luck with WD's Raptor hard drives (the first generation 74 GB drives).

    I haven't had any problems with the Seagate 500GB 7200RPM drive in my laptop (presumably a Momentus), nor with any of the WD Caviar Black drives I've used (or the one laptop drive I've used).

    Basically I'm not too inclined to trust the failure rate on any Seagate desktop drives (looking at you, Barracuda XT). Is Seagate really the only (current) hybrid drive manufacturer?

    I guess I'll be happy with my SSD boot/program drive and my 1.5TB WD Black storage drive. These as a laptop solution make sense, though.

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