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Seagate Boosts Speed, Capacity Of Hybrid SSD

Momentus XT features 8 GB of solid state memory, 750 GB of storage, and can improve boot-up speed by as much as 65% over conventional hard drives, the company said.

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Seagate on Tuesday introduced its Momentus XT solid state hybrid drive, which is expected to be used in laptop and desktop computers from an unspecified number of computer manufacturers.

The Momentus XT is a second-generation drive that has twice the flash memory of the first-generation Momentus XT drive. With 8 GB of solid state memory, customers can improve boot-up speed by as much as 65% over conventional hard drives and increase the performance of their laptop and desktop PCs for gaming and other applications. The previous Momentum XT hybrid drive was used in laptops and desktops from Dell, ASUS, Sony, Toshiba, and Alienware. Seagate said the new drive is being tested by seven manufacturers, but it wouldn't reveal their names or their plans for the product. The company claims to have shipped over one million first-generation hybrid drives.

The Momentus XT hybrid drive combines a solid state drive with conventional hard disk drive technology and uses technologies called Adaptive Memory and FAST Factor to identify frequently used data for migration into SSD, while less frequently used data remains on hard disk.

[ Solid state storage is fast. But there is more to it than that. Read SSD Options: Tier Vs. Cache. ]

The Momentus XT is almost 70% faster than the previous drive and provides 750 GB of storage capacity. It uses a Serial ATA 6 Gbps with NCQ interface, 7,200-RPM hard disk, and single-level cell (SLC) flash. Native command queueing (NCQ) is a technology designed to increase the performance of SATA hard drives by allowing the individual hard disk to optimize the order in which received read and write commands are executed. The drive can be installed in any laptop or PC and work with any operating system and application.

Only one other vendor makes a hybrid drive--OCZ Technology offers its RevoDrive, a PCI-Express-based drive that is quite a bit more expensive than the Seagate Momentus XT. In addition, the RevoDrive only works with Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 laptops and PCs.

Seagate, like everyone else, admits that the flooding in Thailand has affected the cost of the Momentus XT drive and every other drive manufactured in Thailand. Western-Digital and Toshiba make about 25% of the world's hard drives and their plants were affected. Although Seagate's manufacturing plants were not affected by the flooding, its supply chain was, according to a recent SEC filing.

Today, a Momentus XT hybrid drive is $245 and available from online at online retailers such as Amazon, CDW, Newegg, and TigerDirect. NewEgg, however, is limiting the quantity of drives a customer can buy to 10 drives. It is not known if the same restrictions will apply with other retailers.

Deni Connor is founding analyst for Storage Strategies NOW, an industry analyst firm that focuses on storage, virtualization, and servers.

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