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Seagate Introduces New Hybrid Hard Drive Line

August 24, 2013 Jon 0 Comments

Seagate has been one of the front runners in Hybrid Hard Drives for the last few years. The Momentus XT was the first and second generation versions whereas the latest (3rd generation) hybrids are called Laptop SSHD, Desktop SSHD, and Laptop Thin SSHD. Each drive pretty much tells which computer type and appropriate chassis size. The Laptop Thin SSHD is for the new ultrathin laptops that just came out last year.

In Seagate’s research they found that the best size for the NAND flash was 8GB. The new line of drives combines a fast NAND 8 GB area for common files cache and then either a 500 GB, 1 TB, or 2 TB of 7200 rpm storage depending on the model. In their testing of a typical corporate user workstation they found that the hybrid hard drives performed far better than the straight 7200 rpm drives. In fact they are discontinuing the current 7200 rpm laptop models altogether since the new hybrid models offer such a big improvement.

So how much faster are the new hybrid hard drives over traditional? When compared to the standard laptop hard drive, which is still most often 5400 rpm, most users get around a 40% increase in speed. That’s still less than the full SSD model performance but a very good boost in performance. I have one of the second generation Momentus XT hybrid models and the increase in speed was very noticeable in day to day use. When I got mine the 120 GB SSD prices were still around $ 275 so the hybrid was quite a bargain for the performance gains. But always keep in mind that the type of activities you do with your computer will dictate how much impact the new hybrids will have on performance.

The prices on the Momentus XT versions run about $ 140 for 8/750 GB.

They haven’t said what the prices will be for the new line of hybrids yet but they are releasing the Laptop SSHD first. I just bought a Samsung 250 SSD for $ 165. So I would imagine they are going to have to go much cheaper than that although the hybrids will have at least 500 GB and probably most will have a TB or more total storage.

Price is going to be a problem though with SSD (solid state drives) costs dropping steadily. In my setup I have the 250 GB SSD for OS and software and keep all data on a USB 3.0 solid state drive. I really like this setup since I can take my USB 3.0 SSD with me to connect to any computer (or tablet for that matter). I have about $ 250 in my setup but the convenience is more than worth a few extra bucks for me.

I would imagine that the new hybrid models will become the standard as long as the pricing is low enough to meet the market needs. Traditional hard drives will quickly fade out. Of course if the SSD models keep dropping in price there may only be a temporary window for the hybrid models. But for now they will be a great way to attain near SSD speeds at a lower price point.

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