|Seagate Momentus-XT Solid State Hybrid Drive|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 24 May 2010|
Page 10 of 12
Benchmark tests are a good way to measure performance for task-X between product-Y and product-Z. Unfortunately, synthetic benchmarks are not always applicable to the product being tested. In the past few years Solid State Drive (SSD) technology has made traditional HDD benchmark tools nearly meaningless, because operational performance (IOPS) must now be taken into consideration in addition to bandwidth speed. With the introduction of Seagate's SSD-hybrid technology, our tests must shift to yet another perspective to account for the Adaptive Memory Technology learning curve. To illustrate my point, I'll use an example of another emerging technology that fits this situation: electric vehicles.
Take the electric motorcycle; more specifically the KillaCycle electric motorcycle (which holds a faster world-record than the electric dragster). Much like the SSDs we've come to admire, the electric motorcycle takes off from 0-60 is less than one second. The difference between an SSD and HDD is easily demonstrated by the drag racing event shown below:
My point is this: you can't measure the KillaCycle's performance using a long-distance benchmark. Much like the SSD or SSD-Hybrid, they are extremely fast off the start but reach their peak performance very early. You couldn't fairly test the electric motorcycle in the Baja-500, which is why large-file transfer tests are not always appropriate for SSDs, nor are the synthetic benchmark tests we often use.
Windows-7 System Restart Benchmark
Quantitative results help compare products, and a measurable real-world test is probably the best tool to contrast the various storage solutions. Using our guide on Windows 7 System Image Disc Recovery, Benchmark Reviews cloned our 64-bit Windows-7 Ultimate Edition test platform to three different storage devices: performance desktop HDD, SSD-Hybrid, and SSD. Each test was measured using the Windows Event Log to indicate the precise time the computer restart was initiated, followed by the initial startup of Windows (Microsoft Windows 6.01. 7600 Multiprocessor Free), and finally the total time elapsed to load all system services. Each cloned drive was restarted three times prior to testing (Seagate Momentus-XT received five restarts to ensure Adaptive Memory would utilize SSD functionality), and three test runs were conducted. The times for all three tests were identical for each drive, so no averaging was necessary.
Based on the results of our Windows-7 reboot tests, the Seagate Momentus-XT truly demonstrates how it offers the best of both worlds. The 500GB Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid Drive took 12% longer (5-seconds) to boot into Windows than our 128GB OCZ Vertex SSD, but loaded the O/S 15% faster (7-seconds) than the 300GB Western Digital VelociRaptor high-performance HDD. Inspecting the total system start-up time (which includes all system services) reveals that the Seagate Momentus XT loaded the entire system 22% faster (33-seconds) than the WD VelociRaptor, and trailed behind the Vertex SSD by only 7% (8-seconds).
Clearly demonstrated, the Seagate Momentus-XT behaves much more like an SSD than it does a hard drive. Plus, you're not going to find a 500GB SSD that costs only $150.
In the next section, I share my final thoughts on the struggle between SSD and HDD technology before delivering my conclusion and final product rating.