Seagate Momentus XT

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MikesGravity, May 24, 2010.

  1. MikesGravity macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2008
    Southeast MI
    The new hybrid went on sale today, I ordered a 500GB. Figured I would let you guys know how it works out.

    Here's some numbers with my traditional Seagate 500GB 5400RPM in my 13" Macbook Pro

    Restart: 48 Seconds
    Launch Photoshop CS4 (following reboot): 18 Seconds
    Transfering a 1.4GB file from a Sandisk Cruzer (Flash Drive): 58 Seconds

    * I will update as soon as the XT arrives. The reviews make it seem like a great alternative to an SSD.

    2.53 Core 2 and 4GB Ram. Leopard not SL.
  2. grahamnp macrumors 6502a

    Jun 4, 2008
    Looks like I upgraded my HD one month too early. I'm curious to see how this works out for you because I'm wondering if the smart caching might be optimised for Windows. Thanks for sharing!
  3. 2high2aim macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2010
  4. Xombie11 macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2009
    Ah thanks.

    I'm very curious to know how it performs. It's a strong contender for the MBP I plan to order in early June.
  5. MikesGravity thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2008
    Southeast MI
    Yeah I wondered if it was optimized for Windows too. That would be silly considering it's geared towards photo and video editors (who use Macs). I'll fill you in when it arrives.

    I was really close to swapping my SuperDrive for an SSD for the OS last week. GLAD I didn't!
  6. MikhailT macrumors 601

    Nov 12, 2007
    Not really, it's a great alternative to 2.5" 5400/7200RPM drives, not SSDs.

    You still get the noise of the high RPMs as it will not use the flash for write speed and since it is only 4GB of flash for read caching purposes, which means if you're using stuff more than 4GB daily, you're not going to see a lot of speed except for the small applications. You can't choose to put the applications on the flash either, so to gain the most, you have to use the same applications every day.

    So for most people who just consume data by web surfing, chat, office and some basic photoshop work, it's perfect. You don't lose the space but you'll gain some speed as if you're working with a desktop 10K rpm desktop instead of slow 5400/7200rpm laptop drives.

    It's not OS dependent, it'll just use a "table" of file accesses that you often use all the time and cache it for you. So if you use all the time, it'll store in that table or if you're using Windows, it'll add firefox.exe.
  7. MikesGravity thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2008
    Southeast MI
    OK it's a happy compromise for someone who wants something better than 5400rpm and doesn't want to spend an assload of money :-/

    Think there will be a battery life increase, decrease or nothing noticeable?
  8. Gorilla Power macrumors 6502

    Gorilla Power

    Mar 19, 2010
  9. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    I already have a SSD, and I'm wondering how well this would work as a replacement for my 320gb 7200RPM mechanical drive in the optibay. All the reviews I read are geared towards normal use (as a boot drive), and none of them really evaluated using the drive for large file storage. It seems like there should still be some speedup, especially for writes where data can be written to flash quickly then written out to the disk when it catches up.
  10. MikhailT macrumors 601

    Nov 12, 2007
    Pretty much, 140-150$ for 500GB is pretty damn good since it would cost $800+ to get the same.

    Nothing special about battery life, it won't do anything. It does have lower power consumption when the drive is idle (higher than SSD, it's between the typical SSD and HDD) but when full, it's almost the same as the regular laptop hdd.
  11. Xombie11 macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2009

    Regardless, it's a far better solution than a low capacity (~128gb) SSD and an Optibay 5400rpm HD.

    1) It's far more cost effective. $150 vs $400+

    2) It isn't *that* much slower than the (already slow) Samsung Apple SSDs.

    3) You can continue to use your optical drive.

    4) Your warranty isn't voided (technically).

    5) You don't have to worry about TRIM or garbage collection... In fact, it gets FASTER over time, as it "learns" your usage tendencies.

    6) Far greater capacity (500gb is more than enough). No need for an external.

    7) Allows you to save up $ for the next generation of NAND SSDs which will be cheaper AND faster (e.g. Intel X25-M G3s). SSD prices are dropping nearly every day, and they're bound to be low enough for an upgrade later next year. Why waste even more money now?



    1) While it's twice as fast as a 5400rpm drive (and some 7200rpm drives) it's only half as fast as an SSD. Will you notice this? Yes, probably. But it's nothing an upgrade won't fix down the line. It's considerably faster than a 600gb WD Velociraptor. A VELOCIRAPTOR! A drive that needs a 3.5" cooling bay for goodness sake! Now that's impressive.

    2) It's probably noisy. But so would any other HD you throw into an Optibay drive in order to compliment a low capacity SSD.

    3) Moving parts. (But it does come with a 3 year warranty, IIRC.)


    Quite honestly, this seems like the best HD option out there at the moment (until the next generation SSDs arive).
  12. MikhailT macrumors 601

    Nov 12, 2007
    Nope. The Flash isn't used for write operations, only as reading cache and it's only 4GB. It won't benefit as a large storage, only as a boot drive.
  13. Xombie11 macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2009

    Stick with a 5400rpm drive as a data-only drive. It's quieter, and you won't notice the difference between it and a 7200rpm drive if you're only pulling large files off it. Writes on the other hand... you'd notice a slight difference. But you really only "write" once, if you get what I'm saying.

    I'd recommend a WD Scorpio Blue 500gb or a Seagate Momentus 500gb (not the XT... the one Newegg has on sale atm) for an Optibay. The WD Scorpio Black if you really want a free-fall sensor (but WD Blue's antishock should suffice tbh).
  14. MikesGravity thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2008
    Southeast MI
    For me, I use Safari, iTunes, iPhoto and mail 98% of the time. I think I will see a difference. If nothing else, in bootup, powering down and launching apps. Think it will be significantly louder than a standard 5400? Because my seagate now is pretty much dead silent.
  15. Xombie11 macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2009
    You'd most certainly see a difference over a standard Hitachi 5400rpm drive.

    And, yes, it will undoubtedly be louder. But it shouldn't be any louder than a standard 7200rpm drive -- which isn't *that* bad, anyway.
  16. MikesGravity thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2008
    Southeast MI
    Thanks Xombie :) I love how quiet the macbook is but I'll sacrifice. I'll keep you guys posted.
  17. MikhailT macrumors 601

    Nov 12, 2007
    @Xombie11, not disagreeing with you at all, just want to clear it up with other people who might not know.


    1) I already stated that, I agree, 150$ for 500GB compared to $800+ for pure SSD, it’s a much better solution.

    2) SSD has a near constant sub-one latency (.02-.5ms) compared to HDD (16ms for Momentus). This is the sole reason for the “snappiness” feel of SSDs. So while SSD may be slow, the snapiness will be more HDD like for Momentus.

    3-4) As a alternative to both SSD/HD w. Optibay, that does make a nice alternative, but not as a sole alternative to SSD only.

    5) Why would you have to worry about TRIM/IGC? It’s done in the background, nobody really notice it. Good SSDs with IGC don’t need TRIM, it’s bonus for people who use TRIM-ready OS. The Momentus only has 4GB of Flash and only used as reading cache. It doesn’t benefit for write operations, so for users who write data a lot, it isn’t going to be faster than any 7200rpm drive. Only benefit to people who often does the same thing all the time, and this is probably most of the general population and in this case, it’s a perfect compromise. There are no cons of getting Momentus XT except for the higher price than the typical 7200RPM 2.5” drives.

    6) Agreed but if people are simply using this as storage drives instead of boot drives, it’s not any better than 5400rpm drives.

    7) If people don’t need the slight increase in speed or bigger storage, it’s not a reason to get this now either. Just save the money regardless. The next gen won’t have 300-600GB less than 300$ either. It’ll most likely place Intel X-25M G3 300GB at 400$ and 600GB at around 800-900$.

    1) Why is this a disadvantage? It’s only a con for people thinking of getting an SSD. For people thinking of getting a faster HDD, it’s a pro.

    2) Once again, for people who wasn’t going to get an optibay drive, it’s not a con but it is a con for people who got the money ready to burn.

    3) Not really a con, it’s not designed to replace anything. Just a small evolution of the hard drives.

    You'll see a difference just because of the faster 7200rpm and the Flash cache. That's without a doubt.

    Because of the Flash cache, you'll probably not notice any noise as it'll read off the cache instead of ramping up the drive. So in most situation, you won't notice anything but in writing files and any kind of write operations, you'll notice vibration from your laptop and a noise a bit higher but not that big of a difference from your current drive.
  18. yensteel macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2009
    I'm quite excited about this hard drive because I've been looking around and researching about SSDs quite recently, but have been troubled by their space and high price.

    Still, I have some concerns.

    The 4GB memory seems a bit constrictive. I think that something like 8GB or 16GB would be more appropriate.

    The use of multiple operating systems is worrisome, where the hard drive might be confused and inconsistent.

    The power consumption of the Momentus XT should be looked into. Because of the complexity, I think this hard drive might gobble more power than a conventional notebook hard drive would.

    Still, I'm quite shocked at the price, considering it's benefits. It's definitely my top pick for a storage upgrade.
  19. MikhailT macrumors 601

    Nov 12, 2007
    Considering that the Flash isn't used for writing operations, it's not going to be helpful to have more flash unless it starts to get more complicated like writing support. It's like the DDR cache in the typical HDD, there's a limit of how much usefulness you can get out of it. However more flash helps in storing more content for caching.

    HD won't get confused, data is data. It just store a table of file access that is used often. Imagine a counter, if firefox opens 100 times a day, it'll get stored in that table. The problem is the 4GB space.

    The power consumption is better in Momemtus because the flash isn't that complicated. It's just a simple SLC NANDs with no wear leaving, no complex controller. It's a straight reading cache, and because it stores the most common used data in the cache, the spinning part of the drive will idle more often, therefore will consume less than a typical full spinning drive.
  20. yensteel macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2009
    Thanks for the reassurances.

    I figured that the hard drive would consume more power because of the increased activity of the hard drive, because it has to work in conjunction with the flash memory with the copying and reading from the hard drive.
  21. MikhailT macrumors 601

    Nov 12, 2007
    Link to the Power consumption tests from Anandtech.
  22. yensteel macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2009
    Thanks for the link! Anand's review was very informative.
  23. dsprimal macrumors 6502a


    Mar 27, 2010
  24. hatbrox macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2007
    The Netherlands
    I have used 7200 rpm drives (different brands) in my 3 different thinkpad laptops over the past 5 years and I never heard any hard disk noise.
    one of them makes a lot of clicks but that's all I have ever noticed.

    I'm gonna buy a macbook pro to replace my imac and would hope that this momentus drive would be just as quiet.

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