I’ll have to be honest, the older Momentus XT 500GB didn’t really hit the spot for me. Don’t get me wrong, the overall performance just didn’t translate to something where I will call it as a mechanical-Flash NAND Hybrid. The concept is good and concept is very much workable ( the drive did learn and improve). Seagate still stood by it and by the looks they seem to have done what they wanted to do.
The newer drive (model number ST750XL003) Momentus XT comes with 8GB Flash NAND memory with fast sector flash management, Fast factor boot and adaptive memory. Seagate is sticking to a very reasonable gameplan that almost all users look out for: Reliability, battery life and price, alongwith application launch performance and Boot Time performance.
During the time I asked few questions Seagate made it clear that they want to cater to those users who thought of buying a small sized SSD (a 60gig SSD?) for primary OS and few of their top priority software and for the rest they will use a mechanical drive. This is a bit expensive depending on how much the mechanical/SSD will cost you but you don’t really have much of a choice as mid end notebooks always have a single hard drive mount. If the ST750XL003 does exactly what its built to do, then its brilliant!
Seagate concentrated more on Boot speed and application launch. That’s the idea in having an SSD: faster load times.
Adaptive memory is something that the older Momentus XT had but the newer version has more than that:
According to Seagate’s presentation, Fast factor “fuses the strength of SSD and HDD” in a device. For those who are unfamiliar with the older Momentus XT drive that came with adaptive memory feature, it improves the responsive time of the OS boot and application launch based on the usage, except the adaptive memory on this newer drive will be more than its predecessor, at least according to the slide attached below (slide #8).
Reliability? That’s where mechanical drives step in. Yeah, I did ask them about 25nm Intel flash nand’s reliability and also about over-provisioning. They agreed to it. But even I and you and the manufacturers will agree that SSDs are expensive.
The reason I want this to work more than ever is because a particular SSD I am done testing now (it will be up in few days) doesn’t really impress me, most likely because the PCB was designed to hold 16 FLASH NANDs but 8 was occupied to provide 60GB of space, excluding 4GB of over provisioning. If this is the case and if either the design/controller is meant to work in its full capacity only if it occupies minimum 16 FLASH NANDs, there’s no point in making PCB with capacity to occupy 8 flash NANDs separately. Eventually with newer controllers and maybe bit cheaper FLASH NANDs, we might never see 60-100GB SSD, unless its a crippled drive with unjustified pricing or someone decided to make a decent low cost controller catering to such users.
Question is: During the time when mechanical drive’s manufacturing taken a big time hit, how much will this drive cost and will it appeal to end users?
In Seagate Momentus XT 500GB review I did say that it will most likely end up in high end systems like gaming notebooks or desktop replacements, which what exactly happened. Would I have the same opinion about this drive? Depends on how the review of this drive turns out. To say the least Seagate made it very clear (as always, especially during the previous tele-conference) that their drive improves load times and use it to adapt and learn. They also made it clear that this will no issues with other operating systems- except Windows XP and such OS that is not 4K optimized. At the end of the conference I asked if the Cache is read only- and it is. My hopes are very high because Seagate had set their expectations in a realistic manner and I hope this is rightly priced so that this can be an excellent after market upgrade for notebook users who want more than 5400RPM stock drives that comes with almost all mid end notebooks.
The following is the entire presentation slide: