New Seagate Hybrid Drives: 2x the Flash, 2x the I/O Speed

Seagate's Momentus XT Hybrid HDDSeagate has just announced an upgrade to the company’s Momentus XT hybrid HDD family.  Seagate announced in August that the company had already shipped over one million units of its first generation Momentus XT since its May 2010 introduction.

For those unaware of what a hybrid HDD is, the short answer is that it’s a way to get HDD capacities and SSD speeds at a price marginally higher than that of an HDD.Seagate broke the hybrid HDD market wide open in mid 2010 with the introduction of the original Momentus XT.

The second-generation Momentus XT hybrid drives double the cache size of the first-generation drives, and double the interface speeds to the SATA III rate of 6Gb/s while increasing maximum drive capacity to 750GB.

Objective Analysis published a report on the hybrid drive market titled Are Hybrid Drives Finally Coming of Age?  This report, available for immediate download on the Objective Analysis website, details how hybrid HDDs are likely to gain broad acceptance and reduce demand for SSDs due to the technology’s very high performance and high capacities for a very low price.

In the past most industry pundits have expected for the benefit of SATA III to only be apparent to users of SSDs, but Seagate’s hybrid drives should provide significant performance gains while supporting HDD capacities at a near-HDD price.

It is interesting to compare this introduction to what is typical of new products in the HDD business.  Over history HDDs have doubled in capacity every generation, but have only improved in performance by 10%.  In the case of the Momemtus XT performance has improved by 50% – a much bigger leap!  This is, in part, due to improvements in the management firmware internal to the drive.

The Momentus XT is already available at major online retailers and lists at $245, but The SSD Guy expects to see online offers at significantly discounted prices over the following few months

Seagate will be presenting the device in a webinar on December 6 (ironically, this is St. Nicholas Day in the Netherlands, where kids get nice presents) at 11:00 AM Pacific Time.

3 thoughts on “New Seagate Hybrid Drives: 2x the Flash, 2x the I/O Speed”

  1. Price seems too high – at least at the moment, because of the market situation after the flood in Thailand. Price, at least at the moment, will be higher than implementing a SSD+HDD-solution based on e.g. mSATA og mPCIe-solution – or something integrated on the motherboard? Not sure what Intel takes in fees for using the ISRT on the laptop chipsets. And there is also the hybrid-solution from other companies, that gives a larger cache. I also noticed Samsung is using a solution from Diskeeper.

    But it is simple yes, but even with a efficient use of the cache, 8 GB seems limited – and it’s only write. Marvells HyperDuo and Intels ISRT both gives possibilites for write (but is it really stable/safe? For client-use, the impressions so far are ok).

    Personally I belive more laptop-manufactures should deliver a 2nd drivebay in the slot for optical as standard instead of a optical drive 😉 Or at least make this a more “visible” option, and not the extreme prices they take for the “original” drive bays.

  2. Clas, Thanks for the comment.

    I think every technology product is introduced at a high price, especially the price that the manufacturer is willing to put in print.

    I am sure this price will come down. Eventually I suspect that hybrid drives will sell for some very modest adder over the price of the base HDD.

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