Seagate 500GB XT Hybrid Laptop Drive – Quick test

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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