Seagate Momentus XT 750GB vs. Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB

k.na

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 12, 2008
33
0
New York
Seagate Momentus XT 750GB (hybrid)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00691WMJG/

Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB (HDD)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004I9J5OG/

I'm looking to upgrade the hard drive in my mid-2009 15" Unibody MacBook Pro. I'm a graphic designer so the programs I use most (in addition to the standard web/video player/iTunes/etc. use) are Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Aperture, iPhoto, etc.

Which of the two drives would be best? My biggest priority is compatibility with Mac and long-term reliability. I'd especially be interested in hearing reviews from people who have tried both.

On a separate note, I'm running Snow Leopard now and would like to upgrade to Lion. Should I upgrade my OS first and THEN replace my hard drive, or vice versa?
 

BasilFawlty

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2009
437
3
New Mexico
The Seagate is a Hybrid - meaning it has (in the case of the 750 version) 8GB of "smart" SSD ram. The SSD remembers the files you open most often (like files accessed when you boot up) and thus greatly improves performance. I installed the 500GB version of the Seagate Hybrid drive and couldn't be happier! My boot times (from power on) went from somewhere in the 40-second range down to 15-20 seconds.

(Added): Note that the Seagate is a hybrid (like having a small 8GB SSD drive with a regular mechanical drive). The WD drive is just a drive. ALso, note that the basic cache size is double on teh Seagate Drive (32MB versus 16MB), so even without the on-board SSD, the Seagate would be my choice. The price is a bit more, but the performance gains IMHO are more than worth it.

By the way, that looks llike a decent price on the 750GB version. OWN sells it today for $229.
 
Last edited:

chrisvee

macrumors regular
Jul 2, 2010
209
0
Winnipeg, Canada
I just bought my Momentus XT 750GB for $189.99 (+tax) CDN at Memory Express.

I only managed to put it into my MBP. I haven't been able to use it too much yet, but so far so good! For you, I think the Momentus XT would be a good choice. Seeing that you're a graphic designer that will be using programs over and over. I think the cache would be helpful.

Perhaps I'll post back with some results soon.
 
Last edited:

squeakr

macrumors 68000
Apr 22, 2010
1,547
1
I have the Momentus XT 500GB, so I can only comment on that version, but even with the Hybrid SSD, the WD 500 Scorpio was still a faster drive in the end. The 750 Momentus XT has a larger SSD and runs at faster SATA speeds so this may make a difference, but the WD Scorpio black was the fastest laptop platter drive available at the time bar none (cache and all taken into account). If speed is the factor, I would check the actual user reviews on technical sites that can give an unbiased comparison. I don't think that you will be disappointed in either of these choices. Warranty could also be something to compare as well.
 

k.na

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 12, 2008
33
0
New York
The Seagate is a Hybrid - meaning it has (in the case of the 750 version) 8GB of "smart" SSD ram. The SSD remembers the files you open most often (like files accessed when you boot up) and thus greatly improves performance. I installed the 500GB version of the Seagate Hybrid drive and couldn't be happier! My boot times (from power on) went from somewhere in the 40-second range down to 15-20 seconds.

(Added): Note that the Seagate is a hybrid (like having a small 8GB SSD drive with a regular mechanical drive). The WD drive is just a drive. ALso, note that the basic cache size is double on teh Seagate Drive (32MB versus 16MB), so even without the on-board SSD, the Seagate would be my choice. The price is a bit more, but the performance gains IMHO are more than worth it.

By the way, that looks llike a decent price on the 750GB version. OWN sells it today for $229.
I know that in theory, the Seagate's hybrid technology should be the superior option. I just worry that this feature could pose a greater risk for potential problems down the line (for an analogy, think of analog vs. digital. sure, one's more "techy" but with analog, it is what it is and there's no extra components that could go wrong). I've read about the Seagate Hybrids' many firmware updates and while the latest update seems to be good from what I've read, I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of having to routinely update my hard drive firmware.

Also, I've read that Western Digital's reliability is superior to Seagate. I've never had a hard drive fail on me (knock on wood) but I'd like to be as confident in my next hard drive's quality as possible.
 

BasilFawlty

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2009
437
3
New Mexico
I have the Momentus XT 500GB, so I can only comment on that version, but even with the Hybrid SSD, the WD 500 Scorpio was still a faster drive in the end. The 750 Momentus XT has a larger SSD and runs at faster SATA speeds so this may make a difference, but the WD Scorpio black was the fastest laptop platter drive available at the time bar none (cache and all taken into account). If speed is the factor, I would check the actual user reviews on technical sites that can give an unbiased comparison. I don't think that you will be disappointed in either of these choices. Warranty could also be something to compare as well.
The advantage of the Seagate XT is that it has SSD onboard. I don't think the WD does. The basic read/write functions may be better on WD versus the XT, I don't know, but the XT will put common accessed info in SSD, thus greatly speeding up common tasks. For example, booting Win7:



That chart only compares the 500GB versions. The Xt 500GB has 4GB of SSD onboard, while the 750GB version has 8GB SSD (not to be confused with the regular cache, which in the case of the 750 XT is 32MB versus 16MB for the WD 750.

Here's an article that talks about the WD Scorpio Black with Some Benchmarks. For some reason, they compare the 750 WD with the 500GB XT Hybrid (not sure why they didn't compare apples to apples). In these tests, the XT beat the WD in read speed, but write speeds were a little better for the WD (SSD I would not think would make much if any difference for write speeds). The 750 XT has twice the SSD onboard compared to the 500GB XT, so I'd expect that would make some difference on the read side mainly.

----------

I know that in theory, the Seagate's hybrid technology should be the superior option. I just worry that this feature could pose a greater risk for potential problems down the line (for an analogy, think of analog vs. digital. sure, one's more "techy" but with analog, it is what it is and there's no extra components that could go wrong). I've read about the Seagate Hybrids' many firmware updates and while the latest update seems to be good from what I've read, I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of having to routinely update my hard drive firmware.

Also, I've read that Western Digital's reliability is superior to Seagate. I've never had a hard drive fail on me (knock on wood) but I'd like to be as confident in my next hard drive's quality as possible.
I've read about those early firmware issues with the seagate too, but I bought mine with the latest and so far it seems to work great. As for reliability - I can't speak to that, but I make sure everything is backed up (in my case on a 2TB iosafe fireproof/waterproof hard drive).

I have the Seagate XT 500GB as my primary drive on my 13" MBP. However, I am thinking about pulling my Super Drive and installing a second drive for data storage. In this case, I am seriously considering the WD 750 Black since it will be primarily just for storing media data.
 
Last edited:

squeakr

macrumors 68000
Apr 22, 2010
1,547
1
The advantage of the Seagate XT is that it has SSD onboard. I don't think the WD does. The basic read/write functions may be better on WD versus the XT, I don't know, but the XT will put common accessed info in SSD, thus greatly speeding up common tasks. For example, booting Win7:

Image

That chart only compares the 500GB versions. The Xt 500GB has 4GB of SSD onboard, while the 750GB version has 8GB SSD (not to be confused with the regular cache, which in the case of the 750 XT is 32MB versus 16MB for the WD 750.

Here's an article that talks about the WD Scorpio Black with Some Benchmarks. For some reason, they compare the 750 WD with the 500GB XT Hybrid (not sure why they didn't compare apples to apples). In these tests, the XT beat the WD in read speed, but write speeds were a little better for the WD (SSD I would not think would make much if any difference for write speeds). The 750 XT has twice the SSD onboard compared to the 500GB XT, so I'd expect that would make some difference on the read side mainly.
I don't disagree with your charts or data, but in a real world setting the WD smoked the Seagate. I found this first hand with two exact clones of the drives. The latency of the WD is slightly less, thus making it faster if I remember correctly. I had the XT and a coworker the WD.

We cloned and used in his system and my system, and the overall performance of the WD was night and day compared to the Seagate for our real world situations. For repetitive tasks, such as booting and shutdown, or repeated lauching of the same programs, the Seagate shined like a diamond, but when utilizing in real world situations (which for us are running several VM images concurrently generally 2-4 at a time) along side the host OS, the WD would run circles around the Seagate (and this was reproduced on his and my system with the same results).

Since I rarely restart my system, the added bonus during boot was a moot point. I preferred the real world difference. According to the test sites at the time, they all found the same results that the WD was slightly faster than the Seagate in the ratings, and that slight difference made all the difference in a real world setting.

These results are my findings based upon 2 drives, and others may find different result in their situations and usages.

If all one is doing is rebooting (something I almost never do with OS X) or launching the same programs then the Seagate is possibly the better choice.
 

k.na

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 12, 2008
33
0
New York
I don't disagree with your charts or data, but in a real world setting the WD smoked the Seagate. I found this first hand with two exact clones of the drives. The latency of the WD is slightly less, thus making it faster if I remember correctly. I had the XT and a coworker the WD.

We cloned and used in his system and my system, and the overall performance of the WD was night and day compared to the Seagate for our real world situations. For repetitive tasks, such as booting and shutdown, or repeated lauching of the same programs, the Seagate shined like a diamond, but when utilizing in real world situations (which for us are running several VM images concurrently generally 2-4 at a time) along side the host OS, the WD would run circles around the Seagate (and this was reproduced on his and my system with the same results).

Since I rarely restart my system, the added bonus during boot was a moot point. I preferred the real world difference. According to the test sites at the time, they all found the same results that the WD was slightly faster than the Seagate in the ratings, and that slight difference made all the difference in a real world setting.

These results are my findings based upon 2 drives, and others may find different result in their situations and usages.

If all one is doing is rebooting (something I almost never do with OS X) or launching the same programs then the Seagate is possibly the better choice.
That's an interesting point, as I too rarely reboot.

I'm not a hugely well-versed in this subject, but what role does the cache play (since the WD has 16MB and the Seagate has 32MB)?
 

BasilFawlty

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2009
437
3
New Mexico
If all one is doing is rebooting (something I almost never do with OS X) or launching the same programs then the Seagate is possibly the better choice.
The boot time was just one example because it's something most people can relate to. I also found my commonly used apps open MUCH faster (but I'm only comparing it to the stock 320GB drive that came in my MBP).

Everyone's needs are different I'm sure. In my case, I use a very common set of apps most of the time, so I see a big boost with the XT. I would recommend they do some research on reviews for both, especially where both are compared. Your experience, while accurate I'm sure, is anictodal as well as my experience based on your specific use patterns and may or may not hold for everyone - hence I'd recommend they look up as many reviews on both as possible and decide what works best their needs. Like I said, if I drop in another drive for additional data storage, it will likely be the WD 750 Black at this point, since running common apps or lowering boot times won't be a factor.
 

squeakr

macrumors 68000
Apr 22, 2010
1,547
1
All you have done is just repeat what I have said throughout my last 2 posts, so I agree fully. For the record it is anecdotal, and I stated my experiences were just that and nothing more (no need to restate or point it out as I already did).

As I first recommended as well, visit tech sites that have unbiased results and decide based on that a ver good one is passmark.com, as they benchmark most everything and maintain a graph based on user's real world results.
 

BasilFawlty

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2009
437
3
New Mexico
All you have done is just repeat what I have said throughout my last 2 posts, so I agree fully. For the record it is anecdotal, and I stated my experiences were just that and nothing more (no need to restate or point it out as I already did).

As I first recommended as well, visit tech sites that have unbiased results and decide based on that a ver good one is passmark.com, as they benchmark most everything and maintain a graph based on user's real world results.
Well, I'll confess I may not have fully read every post as thoroughly as I could have. Didn't intend to offend, just trying to present my own experience. Sounds like we're generally in violent agreement (as you already pointed out :) )

----------

Just an FYI for anyone interested in buying a 750GB Momentus XT, today on Newegg they are $25 off + free shipping with the promo code EMCYTZT1338 - $149.99 total! I ordered one this morning.

James

http://promotions.newegg.com/neemail/guerrilla/LP/index-landing032112.html?nm_mc=EMC-GD032112&cm_mmc=EMC-GD032112-_-index-_-Header-_-SeeAll
Dang that's tempting! I just bought a 500GB from OWC, but still - that's tempting!
 
Last edited:

Ledgem

macrumors 68000
Jan 18, 2008
1,779
539
Hawaii, USA
Which of the two drives would be best? My biggest priority is compatibility with Mac and long-term reliability. I'd especially be interested in hearing reviews from people who have tried both.
Going from the stock hard drive to either of those two will feel like a big difference.

I have a 500 GB Momentus XT, used with an early 2008 Macbook Pro (2.4 GHz, 6 GB of RAM). My honest feeling is that the biggest speed improvements do not result from the SSD aspect of the drive, but from going from a 200 GB 5400 RPM hard drive to a 500 GB 7200 RPM drive. I don't reboot frequently, but I open and close many of the same programs each day (Safari, iTunes, Mail...). Based on reviews, I was expecting to receive SSD-equivalent speeds with those programs that I open and close frequently. While I think all programs load in one bounce, Mail still takes a few seconds to become usable, as does iTunes. Safari pops open and is good to go. It could be that there are other aspects of my system that are acting as a bottleneck, though.

I can't say for certain, but based on my understanding of how the XT works, you won't see much of a speed boost in your multimedia work compared with the Scorpio.

I don't regret purchasing the Momentus XT, but it has not met my expectations (which, I admit, may have been unrealistic). Given what you're trying to do, I'd say to go with whichever you can get for cheaper.

On a separate note, I'm running Snow Leopard now and would like to upgrade to Lion. Should I upgrade my OS first and THEN replace my hard drive, or vice versa?
My personal preference would be to upgrade the OS first, ensure that everything is stable, and then change the drive. Just make sure that you use Apple's "lion booter" utility to install Lion to the blank drive, and then use migration assistant to pull everything from your old drive. Or I suppose you could just clone it... doesn't make much of a difference either way.
 

Jimbogiant

macrumors member
Feb 7, 2008
37
0
Just a quick update for anyone interested - I received my Momentus XT 750GB drive this afternoon, and just finished up cloning my system to the new drive. This thing is fast! Boot time went from 40 sec+ to under 15 after 2 restarts (and changing the startup disk in system preferences).

Also, contrary to some things I've read on MR, there is no noticeable increase in either noise or vibration. Just like the stock 5400rpm drive, I can't even feel vibrations through the chassis. And I've not heard any clicks or other noises out of the ordinary.

On a related note -- I spent a long time trying to find the best way to clone my Boot Camp partition along with my Lion install. Anyone who tells you to get Winclone (costs $$$ now) or any other paid solution, DON'T DO IT! Clonezilla (open source free linux liveCD) cloned the entire drive, including Boot Camp, to the Momentus, and it booted up both sides no problem. No Windows activation issues either. Just an FYI.

James
 

lermal

macrumors regular
Aug 7, 2007
113
8
Florida
I've had a 750 GB Momentus XT installed for about two weeks now and it works great. Definitely have noticed better boot time.
 

bigjohn11

macrumors newbie
Mar 27, 2012
2
0
Also, I've read that Western Digital's reliability is superior to Seagate. I've never had a hard drive fail on me (knock on wood) but I'd like to be as confident in my next hard drive's quality as possible.
Ok, lets see if I can address some of the issues in order.
1) The new drive is not the same one that had the firmware issues.
2) Also reading about WesternDigitals reliability to me is kind of funny. For a really long time Western Digital was always slammed as crummy.
3) If reliability is Really important to you, you may want to go up to one of the enterprise grade drives. Example the Seagate Savio or Constellation drives. WD May have the equivalent but Seagate is what I know.
4) Anyway, I've only had my Seagate Hybrid drive(momentus xt 750) for a day, and OMG, it's super fast.
 

bigjohn11

macrumors newbie
Mar 27, 2012
2
0
I'd rather just post numbers.

From Xbench - This is for my new Seagate 8 gig flash 750 Gen 2 drive. Compared to the Gen1 apparently it can finally do 6 gigabit, supports Native Command Queuing, and they doubled the flash for caching. And from I've been reading 1/2 the cache is toward accelerating boot up times, the other 1/2 toward app/file acceleration. Also just in case anyone says anything. The drive is VERY quiet, but it has only slightly more vibration then the 5400 toshiba it replaces.


Disk Test 63.55
Sequential 117.63
Uncached Write 151.62 93.09 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 144.56 81.79 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 71.84 21.02 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 152.18 76.49 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Random 43.53
Uncached Write 13.94 1.48 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Write 242.69 77.70 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Uncached Read 101.84 0.72 MB/sec [4K blocks]
Uncached Read 160.94 29.86 MB/sec [256K blocks]

----------

Going from the stock hard drive to either of those two will feel like a big difference.

While I think all programs load in one bounce, Mail still takes a few seconds to become usable, as does iTunes. Safari pops open and is good to go. It could be that there are other aspects of my system that are acting as a bottleneck, though.

I don't regret purchasing the Momentus XT, but it has not met my expectations (which, I admit, may have been unrealistic). Given what you're trying to do, I'd say to go with whichever you can get for cheaper.
I was underwhelmed till someone told me to zap my pram.. What a difference.
 

Sgt93

macrumors 6502a
Jan 31, 2010
547
67
Retired'ville
My WD Scorpio Black 750 7200 just crapped out. I bought it at the end of last may and have a ton of photos etc on it that I hope I can recover. Installed my old stock drive for now. Ugh.
 

SDAVE

macrumors 68040
Jun 16, 2007
3,381
435
Nowhere
Get an SSD. I got a Samsung 830 256GB for $270. Worth every penny! I keep extra stuff on an external, but this is more than enough for now until bigger SSD's drop in price.

I saw the Crucial M4 256 for $250 somewhere.
 

Sgt93

macrumors 6502a
Jan 31, 2010
547
67
Retired'ville
Get an SSD. I got a Samsung 830 256GB for $270. Worth every penny! I keep extra stuff on an external, but this is more than enough for now until bigger SSD's drop in price.

I saw the Crucial M4 256 for $250 somewhere.
I'm thinking the same thing. Looking now at some SSD's.