Has Bare Feats helped you? How about donating to Bare Feats?


BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

SHOOTOUT: Hybrid Notebook Drive
versus HDD and SSD

Friday, June 18th, 2010, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist


Many of you are excited and curious about the new Hybrid drive from Seagate called "Momentus XT." It's a 500GB notebook (2.5") storage device that's part HDD and part SSD. Plus it costs a fraction of what an SSD costs. So does it bridge the cost/performance gap? Let's see.

LEGEND of GRAPHS
OWC SSD = Single OWC Mercury Extreme 200G SSD
Mom Hybrid = Single Seagate Momentus XT 500G Hybrid Drive
Mom HDD = Single Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500G HDD

In this test session, we used a Mac Pro with a SeriTek/2ME4-E 4-port PCIe host adapter and installed the three drives in the SeriTek/2eEN4. QuickBench 4.0.4 was used to test large sequential and small random transfer speeds. OS X Finder was used for the Duplicate tests.

INSIGHTS
1.
Overall, our tests did not show the Momentus XT Hybrid to be "80% faster than traditional 7200-RPM (notebook) drives," as Seagate describes it. There may be an old, slow notebook HDD out there that's much slower overall than the Momentus XT Hybrid but we compared it to Seagate's own Momentus 7200.4, the fastest notebook HDD we have tested to date.

The main gains we saw for the Momentus XT Hybrid over the fastest traditional notebook HDD was small random write speed (75% faster) and duplication of many small files (30% faster). Other functions were less dramatic ranging from 4% to 8% faster.

2. The Momentus XT Hybrid is not nearly as fast as a pure SSD, as you can see from the graphs above. If the cost/GB of an SSD is a non-starter for you, then consider the Seagate Hybrid Momentus XT as an affordable boost in storage speed in MacBook, MacBook Pro, or Mac mini.

HOW DOES THE HYBRID DRIVE WORK?
The Solid State Hybrid feature utilizes the addition of NAND Flash memory to enhance the performance of the drive. Short random accesses to the NAND Flash are faster than disc accesses due to the elimination of seek and rotational latencies and therefore it is used to store more frequently accessed data. The Momentus XT uses a proprietary algorithm which monitors drive activity and determines the optimum data to maintain in the NAND Flash for peak responsiveness. The Solid State Hybrid feature is self contained in the drive firmware and functions independent of the host hardware or operating system. There are no special host system requirements. Momentus XT can be installed in any standard SATA environment and will automatically optimize.

We are working on some additional tests which will hopeuflly illustrate the advantage of the Hybrid over the standard HDD. Stay tuned.

Apple Online Store

WHERE TO BUY THE SEAGATE MOMENTUS XT HYBRID NOTEBOOK DRIVE
NewEgg has stock one day and none the next. You can have them notify you when they do.
OWC doesn't have it as of this posting but will be stocking it soon.
Check also at Trans International and
MaxUpgrades -- if they don't have it, ask for it.

WHERE TO BUY SSDs for your MAC
Trans International
and Other World Computing
and MaxUpgrades

WHERE TO BUY the SONNET TECH TEMPO SATA PRO EXPRESSCARD
Order direct from Sonnet Technology.
Other World Computing has it, too.
(There are other cheaper SATA ExpressCards, but they have much slower transfer speeds.)

FLASH: Sonnet Technology's company store is giving 15% off on the Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard for any MacBook Pro with an ExpressCard/34 slot. This card is twice as fast as any other SATA ExpresssCard we have tested. When you get to the checkout page where you enter your credit card, there is a place to enter the "Specials/Promotion Codes." Enter "BareFeats" -- offer good through July 1st.

WHERE TO BUY SERITEK 3.5" DRIVE ENCLOSURES
Order the
SeriTek 2eEN4 and PM5 from OWC or direct from FirmTek. The 2eEN4 and PM5 we used may be overkill for your MacBook Pro. FirmTek also has a dual bay model, the 2EN2.

WHERE TO BUY MACBOOK PRO OPTICAL BAY KIT FOR SECOND HDD or SSD
MaxUpgrades has optical bay kits for all recent models of MacBook Pro.

WHERE TO BUY ICY DOCKS
The ICY DOCKS enable you to mount notebook sized SSDs in 3.5" drive enclosures. Order yours from OWC.

WHERE TO BUY A MAC
Click on our Apple Store USA text links or display ads when you order a Mac. It's a great way to support Bare Feats since we earn a commission on each click-through that results in a sale.

USA Apple Resellers we recommend:
Power Max (takes trade-ins)
Small Dog Electronics

DON'T LIVE in the USA? Here are some Apple Stores to click:
Apple Store - Canada
Apple Store - France
Apple Store - Germany
Apple Store - Italy
Apple Store - UK

WHERE TO BUY MEMORY UPGRADES FOR YOUR MAC
TransIntl.com
and Other World Computing

WHERE TO BUY ADOBE CREATIVE SUITE 5 (or elements of it like Photoshop CS5)
Order directly from Adobe USA to get free shipping. If you are a member of NAPP, get 15% off.
Don't live in USA? Try these links to Adobe France, Adobe Germany, Adobe Sweden, or Adobe UK. (Clicking our links helps us earn a commission.)

Has Bare Feats helped you? How about helping Bare Feats?

copyright 2010 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster