Questions about Seagate Momentus XT - other options?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by DCBass, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. DCBass macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Hey Folks,

    I have a 2010 MBP with the standard 320GB hard drive and 4GB of RAM. Great computer, but the hard drive is getting a bit full, and starting to slow down. So, I'm beginning to rethink my storage situation. Here's what I have in mind. FYI, I mostly surf the web, manage photos in Aperture, and play the occassional game in Steam, and do some light office-type work. Aperture seems to make the computer slow down more than anything.

    Option 1: Upgrade the internal hard drive to a Seagate Momentus XT. I'm leaning toward the earlier-gen 500GB since it's so much cheaper than the 750GB version (and I don't need that much space now anyway). Anyone have any experience putting this into a 2010 15" MBP? Seems like folks on here have had a mix of good and bad luck. Will replacing my internal HD with this void my Applecare Warranty?

    Option 2: Replace internal HD with 128 GB SSD + move current 320GB HD to the optical drive bay + move optical drive to an external enclosure. This seems like it would be really speedy, but the managing the data seems like it would be a pain. I would likely just put the system and applications onto the SSD, but how would I do a backup? Right now I just use SuperDuper to make a bootable clone once a week to an external 320GB HD. What would be the best/simplest backup strategy with a SSD/HD mixed setup? I suppose I could get a large external HD and partition it into a 128GB slice and a "rest of" slice, and just have two backups in one, essentially.

    Lastly, if I do either of the above, will I see any additional benefit to increasing my RAM from 4GB to 8GB (the max my MBP can handle)?

    Many thanks in advance!

    Cheers,

    DCBass
     
  2. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 1, 2011
    #2
    I have this drive, it's currently still in my 13" Macbook Pro.

    My advice to you is to just buy an SSD.
     
  3. DCBass thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Thanks Adamantoise.

    What makes you say that? Have you had any trouble with the drive, or did it simply not meet your expectations?

    DCBass
     
  4. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #4
    You can go option 2) and setup a Fusion Drive (requires some command line tinkering and a clean reinstall, but should be manageable). This way you won't have to do any manual setup as the system will automatically distribute your data over the SSD and the HDD based on your data access statistics.
     
  5. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Well the drive is fine, never had any issue with it.

    It's just underwhelming is all. Honestly, SSD is just the way to go if you're looking for huge speed improvements.
     
  6. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #6
    Neither generation is underwhelming. The drive works perfectly the way it's advertised.

    People who complain don't understand what they are buying.
     
  7. DCBass thread starter macrumors 6502

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  8. Vudoo macrumors 6502a

    Vudoo

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    #8
    I have a 2011 MBP and I did option 2. I replaced my stock HDD with an Intel 520 240 GB SSD and replaced my optical drive with a 1 TB WD Scorpio Blue. The SSD is my application drive and my HDD is my data drive. I modified iTunes to point to the data drive so all my music and videos stays off the SSD. I'm actually only using 20 GBs on the SSD and 438 GBs on the HDD. Data management is easy if you're organized. I just use a single Time Machine drive to back up both drives.
     
  9. DCBass thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Thanks. I read about this, but to be honest I do not have any desire to do this myself. Good to know it can be done, but I would rather it was an Apple-made, and maintained solution as part of the OS.

    Thanks, DCBass

    ----------

    Thanks for the response Vudoo. Do you have your time machine backup partitioned to back up both the SSD and HD, or is there another method? I could easily point iTunes and Aperture to the appropriate library locations on the hard drive.

    Also, what kit did you use to put the HD in the optical bay and put the SuperDrive in an enclosure? I know that OWC has something like this.

    Thanks,

    DCBass
     
  10. ultra7k macrumors 6502

    ultra7k

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    Nov 9, 2012
    #10
    I do this as well, have my OS/Bootcamp on my SSD, and data files running off the 500 gb HDD.

    I bought the optibay caddy off ebay (makes sure it's the one made for the unibody), it cost me something like...$15. Kind of a side note, but if you decided to pursue this option, read below as it will likely save you a headache and a half.

    I did run into a small snag when installing though, the optibay caddy as it stood was simply too thick towards the back part of the optibay caddy.

    It has some sort of raised black plastic platform on it that is removable, so to remove it, I had to remove all the screws off the optibay caddy (I think there were...6-8 or something?) which are all more or less visible, unscrew the rear portion and pull it out.

    I'm not sure why that was included on the optibay caddy, but it almost makes me think it was made for another laptop?

    Anyways, after removing it, everything fit just fine.
     
  11. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Do you know the meaning of the word underwhelming?

    Sure the drive works as advertised, but that's the problem, the idea (and resultant performance) behind the drive is underwhelming.
     
  12. DCBass thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Adamantoise, I should ask, is there anything specifically that was underwhelming? It is my understanding that the Momentus XT allows for faster booting, but I rarely shut down my computer... I usually just close the laptop lid. What I'm looking for is a general speed boost in everyday tasks and in Aperture.

    Cube, thank you for your input as well. I suppose that, despite reading the reviews, I am still not quite sure what kinds of performance boosts I should expect.

    Cheers,

    DCBass
     
  13. DCBass thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #13

    Many thanks, ultra7k. Just curious, is what you got similar to this? It's only $10 on Amazon, much cheaper than the OWC Data Doubler for $58 at Amazon.

    I'm leaning more towards option 2 at this point.

    Following up on another question... if I do get an SSD and put my system and apps on it, I expect to see a huge speed boost overall. Would I get much more benefit from increasing my RAM from 4gb to 8gb?

    Thanks all,

    DCBass
     
  14. Vudoo macrumors 6502a

    Vudoo

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    #14
    My time machine is one single partition and it backs up both drives. This is actually the default setting unless you exclude drives.

    I bought the OWC kit off of Amazon because it was cheaper. I know you can get cheaper kits off of eBay, but I wanted a proven and guaranteed solution.
     
  15. NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a

    NewishMacGuy

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    Aug 2, 2007
    #15
    I have 2 second generation XTs. They do speed things up quite a bit for your most commonly used tasks, more so than the 1st generation 500GB drive because the second generation drives (750GB) have twice the NAND flash capacity, and they spin at 7200rpm, which in itself is a significant improvement over the stock 5400rpm drives.

    However, if you are willing to forego your optical drive, then getting a 128GB SSD and creating a Fusion drive is definitely the way to go. And make no mistake, the ability to do this is an Apple made solution that is part of the OS. All you're doing is typing in a few lines of code to turn it on, just like Apple does.
     
  16. DCBass thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #16
    Thanks, NewishMacGuy. My only hesitation is that since this is not an "officially sanctioned" function in Mac OS, what are my guarantees that the next point update in Mountain Lion won't break this? That's mostly what I'm worried about. I'd prefer just to set something up have that be that and not worry about it too much.

    Thanks,

    DCBass
     
  17. SDAVE macrumors 68040

    SDAVE

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    #17
    Just get a 256GB SSD. They are very affordable nowadays. Also pop in at least 8GB of RAM for your machine. It will feel like a brand new computer.

    Note that 2010MBP does not support SATA III, so technically you won't be pushing the SSD to it's limits.
     
  18. ultra7k macrumors 6502

    ultra7k

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    #18
    lol yep that's the one. Guess I paid a few more bucks for mine, but I can't complain. It is a lot cheaper than local dealers were selling for. Only downside, if it can be called a down side is that it doesn't have the screw into the unibody, but it sits in very snug and doesn't move about so no worries there.
     
  19. sjinsjca macrumors 68000

    sjinsjca

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    #19
    The Momentus XT is a shot in the arm for older machines and is quite a bargain... IF you're running Lion or Mountain Lion. These drives didn't work well with Snow Leopard.
     
  20. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

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    #20
    Why is that? A HDD is a HDD. The caching is seagates own deal on the drive and does not interact with the host OS. So...:confused:
    The best injection is an actual SSD. All these cachers have too little onboard NAND. Price is so low on SSD's now anyway.
     
  21. throAU, Dec 3, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012

    throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #21
    I am 100% happy with my momentus XT.

    I bought it for the following reasons:
    - I have an MBP 2011 15" with the SATA3 in opti-bay issue - my existing HD is SATA3 and new SSDs are SATA3 so won't work reliabily in the optibay. this ruled out a DIY fusion drive for me. YMMV, and you CAN get SATA2 SSDs, but they're not common where I am here.
    - i need more than 256gb of storage, preferably more than 500gb.
    - i don't want to pay $500+ for a big enough SSD


    I get boot times of 12 seconds (from power button push). I have 750gb of storage. It is 100% solid.

    It isn't quite as fast as an SSD, but it's pretty damn close for what I do - and yes, my work computer is a PC running 7 with an SSD and my ex had an MBA, so i'm not inexperienced with using an SSD machine day in day out.

    For 150 bucks for 750 gigs, it is money well spent. It is in a different league to the stock 500gb 7200 rpm drive I replaced with it.

    I'd go for the 750 over the 500. It has read/write cache enabled, more cache, and is generally faster.

    The fact that I get to keep my optical drive is a bonus.

    Unlike a fusion drive, it also speeds up my bootcamp partition.

    Unlike 2 seperate drives (HD + SSD) i don't need to do any manual data management.

    For you, i would suggest that a 750gb momentus XT will give a massive improvement. While you're at it, upgrade to 8gb RAM with the money you saved from not buying an SSD, too.

    Again, on benchmarks it isn't as fast as an SSD. In reality, all the apps I use open up in 1 or 2 dock bounces, my 60gb iphoto library doesn't lag reading from disc, i get fast boot, etc.

    To get the additional space I think it's worth it and don't wish I bought SSD instead.

    In fact, all new drives i buy for the foreseeable future will be hybrids.

    edit:
    and yes i am running ML. If you're on snow leopard YMMV. I haven't tested with that.
     
  22. NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a

    NewishMacGuy

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    #22
    As throAU says above, decent SATA II drives are harder to find these days and more expensive than good SATA III drives. The Intel SSD 320 (maybe the best currently available SATA II drive) is quite pricey, the Crucial V4 appears to be garbage based on the reviews, and the OWC Mercury Electra 3G drives seem halfway decent, but the 480GB drive is over $500. Given that one certainly wouldn't want to buy a used SSD because of the write-wear issues with MLC NAND, that leaves very few alternatives for efficiently upgrading older laptops with SATA II connections. The Momentus XT is one that makes a lot of sense if you're hesitant to buy a small SSD for a DIY Fusion.

    And I still don't understand that hesitancy: Why would Apple break something that they just started touting as the future for large volume desktop storage and selling as an upgrade?
     
  23. robvas macrumors 68020

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    #23
    Get 8GB of RAM. But also get a 512GB SSD - they can be had for $300 if you shop around.
     
  24. noteple macrumors 65816

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    Aug 30, 2011
    #24
    I chose option #1 twice.
    First upgrade replaced the internal drive with the 500gb under snow leopard.
    Later was swapped for the 750 to gain space and currently running Lion.
    Quick boot times. Not as fast as my SSD Air but close.

    Worth the cost and would not hesitate to do it again.
     
  25. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Well, you can "train" your drive to speed up the boot time. However, if you're one of those people that don't shut down their laptops (see: most people), then your drive is simply going to be "retrained" to cache something you use more frequently (in my case Adobe Lightroom).

    My reboots are few and far between, when I do restart my computer I don't get the benefit of the fast boot up time because the boot files are not cached to the flash portion of the drive.

    If you want a quick system, get an SSD and be done with it.
     

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