Technology. Dissected, discredited.

Seagate 500GB XT Hybrid Laptop Drive - Quick test

, posted: 1-Jul-2010 20:34

With Seagate announced their new 'Hybrid' 500gb 2.5inch Drives they claimed it could offer SSD speeds but with only a small premium on top of a normal magnetic hard drive. The drives use inline 4GB flash memory and use what Seagate calls Adaptive Memory. The firmware automatically relocates frequently accessed data and stores it on the flash memory while keeping most stuff on the the drive.
Their marketing pitches substantial improvements to most general usage situations.

I was certainly intrigued. I have wanted a solid state drive for some time but its so hard to justify the cost of a decent model and the bite in storage space does make them a far off dream.
What I find interesting with this technology is that Seagate may have now found a middle ground that could become the bridging technology we all use before SSDs reach a price per gb we can accept.

Suffice to say I splashed out and ordered a couple of XT's for the 2 MacBook Pros in our office and although I've only had one of them installed for mere minutes I thought people might be interested in a benchmark.

I ran AJA's free drive speed test program on my original 320GB Seagate 7200.3 and then 500gb XT immediately after the first boot. To be clear - I have about 250gb of data on both drives which works out to be 78% of the 320gb 7200.3 and only 50% of the 500gb XT. This alone should make some speed differences.

Seagate XT Hybrid HDD vs 7200.3 HDD

I will update this with a few more impressions once I've given it a good going through.

The drives are available in NZ now, I got mine via Aquilatech for $232 inc GST.

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Comment by xpd, on 2-Jul-2010 09:50

Nice little drives but what did the testers do to the 7200 for bootup time ? My ancient FX60 system i just sold, loaded Windows 7 in around 30s on a Seagate 7200 SATA drive.

WOnder if youd notice any difference on a PS3 by using one of these ;)

Comment by kyhwana2, on 2-Jul-2010 10:18

You might want to reboot a few times and access the same data a few times in order for it to be cached in the flash..

Comment by stuart,, on 2-Jul-2010 12:52

Those drives look sweet, but I ran that same test you did on my Mac's hard drive (7200rpm, 320GB) and I was getting almost 70MB/s which is way more than the 43 you got.

Comment by insane, on 4-Jul-2010 00:06

@Stewart, I think you're looking at the wrong screenshot, he's getting 85MB/s.

It's really good that such hybrid features are being brought to the mass market and not just kept on high end shared storage products like some Dell Equallogics XVS SANs which do the same.

Comment by nic.wise, on 7-Jul-2010 00:42

Simon, thanks for this, I was about to get an XT (if I can find one here in the UK)....

I have an i5 MBP with an apple-stock 7200rpm 500GB disk (Seagate I think) - and also a Firewire 800 320GB 7200 hanging off it for VM's.

I got, if it's any help:

75meg/sec read and write from the apple internal SATA disk
54meg/sec read and write from the seagate firewire drive.

Not quite sure why you'd get 45/sec on your original internal one, but hey - I'm willing to try an XT, even just a 20% speed jump would be great!

lotech's profile

New Zealand

I run a post production company specialising mainly in TV & Commercials. I also do graphic and motion design when it's there to be done. I've used Windows my whole life, but am now run Macs exclusively in our office and at home. Few issues. It just works.

My current setup is a Early 2008 17" Macbook Pro (C2D 2.5Ghz, 4gb, 320Gb, UWXGA Screen).