Tested: New Hybrid Hard Drives From Samsung and Seagate

When they were introduced a couple of years ago, hybrid hard drives seemed enticing. Pairing a standard hard drive with a flash component sounded like a good way to deliver on the theoretical performance boosts that flash can offer while still providing the long-standing price, capacity, and performance benefits of hard disks. We've now tested the first two hybrid hard drives to reach market, and we've discovered some clear benefits--but other results were inconclusive.

We looked at Seagate's Momentus 5400 PSD drive, announced today, and Samsung's SpinPoint MH80 drive, released this summer. Both models are 2.5-inch, 160GB notebook drives with 256MB of nonvolatile flash memory cache on board. The hard-drive industry concentrated on introducing the new technology in laptop drives because notebooks would be more likely to reap the benefits that hybrid tech promises, including faster boot time and power savings.

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News source: PCWorld

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12 Comments

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1) The article is terrible. - it pitches 2 hybrid 5400rpm drives against a 7200rpm one. kk, that's cool, so long as you include it as a sample of where the industry is headed (which you did), and you also include a standard 5400rpm drive of the same capacity. Not bloody rocket science tbh.

2) spartyjohnson - Vista sapped 10gb from my drive straight away. Go figure. SSD for OS is a good idea though, it'd be interesting to see the performance stats for that kind of setup.

Yea, I don't understand why they didn't include a non-hybrid 5400rpm drive. That way you could tell whether or not there was a benefit with the added flash memory. Terrible review IMO.

Unless I'm misreading the article, it says the standard 7200rpm laptop drive is still faster than the hybrids...

I wish we'd just got to SSD drives for the OS portion and Rotational magnetic media for the data storage part...

neufuse said,
I wish we'd just got to SSD drives for the OS portion and Rotational magnetic media for the data storage part...

We'll need much larger capacity SSD drives for decent prices before that ever happens.. I almost ran out of room with all my apps and games on a 160GB (now I have 3 160GB in RAID 0 lol).

Hybrid might be better since transfer rates are actually slower on SSD, just the seek time is almost non existant.

WICKO said,

We'll need much larger capacity SSD drives for decent prices before that ever happens.. I almost ran out of room with all my apps and games on a 160GB (now I have 3 160GB in RAID 0 lol).

Hybrid might be better since transfer rates are actually slower on SSD, just the seek time is almost non existant.

Are you serious? I run on a 40 Gig hard drive with plenty of space to spare. I think that the idea of using a seperate device to store the OS is great. I think that even the latest version of Windows could fit on a 4GB flash chip (is this SSD?) without any problems.

spartyjohnson said,

Are you serious? I run on a 40 Gig hard drive with plenty of space to spare. I think that the idea of using a seperate device to store the OS is great. I think that even the latest version of Windows could fit on a 4GB flash chip (is this SSD?) without any problems.


latest? no way in heck... Vista in 64bit takes 15GB of hard drive space up... because of SxS and all the other requirements... the 74GB SSD drives are all you need right now and for a while... install your apps on another drive...

on the newest SSD's too the transfer rates approach 160MB/ps something a single HD can not sustain at all...

as was said, your 2GB USB cards or SD cards use MultiLevel chips which aren't that robust when compared to Single Level ones.

Still, only 256MB? COnsidering I saw 2 gig SD cards in this weekends flyers for $20, it seems that they could have boosted the amount of flash memory. Just a thought, not a (complete) bitch.

It doesn't make much sense when you consider that the 2gb card you see in the flyers is extremely slow. This is fine for simply storing files, but when it comes to trying to boost performance, then you need the more expensive (often retail-labeled as 'pro' or 'ultra' ) flash memory, which you'll find is considerably more expensive.

The other thing to consider is at what point does adding more flash not produce any more speed improvement. As I understand, the two ways speed is improved is with better pre-caching, and by storing boot-time files in flash. Boot files are notoriously small, and there's only so much you can pre-cache before the benefit is lost.

So, it's about finding the right balance point, not throwing as much memory in there as possible.

YES! Thats what I am talking about!

This should have been released in the first quarter of 2007, and also mentioned in the Windows Vista website.