AnandTech Storage Bench 2011

Admittedly most of the benchmarks on the previous page really portray the Momentus XT in the best light possible. The workloads are light enough to mate well with the 8GB cache and none of them are really write intensive. Over time however you'll encounter more varied workloads, including those that are write intensive or those that only access data once or twice. In workloads that aren't perfectly tailored to the Momentus XT's cache, the honeymoon is over before it began. We'll start with our light storage bench:

AnandTech Storage Bench 2011 - Light Workload

Here overall performance is definitely higher than any of the 2.5" drive offerings, including last year's 500GB Momentus XT. However compared to the 3.5" Barracuda XT, the newer Momentus XT is tangibly slower over the course of our test. If you look at performance compared to the Intel SSD 510, there's simply no competition.

Our trace based Storage Bench suites were designed to really stress SSDs, thus being more write intensive than your typical client workload. Not being able to cache writes at this point, the Momentus XT is penalized (perhaps unfairly) in these benchmarks. The results are valid however - when it comes to writing or non-repetitive workloads, the Momentus XT will perform like a good 2.5" hard drive rather than in the realm of SSD performance.

Our Heavy Storage Bench workload is even more write intensive. Furthermore, having been recorded on a Windows 7 pre-SP1 install, we see some of the potential penalties from moving to a 4KB sector drive. Most writes are 4KB aligned in Windows 7, however pre-SP1 there were still some significant cases where alignment could be an issue. Here we see the 750GB/4KB Momentus XT actually fall behind the 500GB drive with 512B sectors because of this difference:

AnandTech Storage Bench 2011 - Heavy Workload

I included these results because if you formatted your drive with Windows 7 and later applied SP1 to the install, you may see this sort of performance regression when moving to a 4KB sector drive. The only way to avoid this is to reformat your drive using Windows 7 SP1 and install from a Windows 7 SP1 DVD/image. In place upgrades won't avoid the alignment issues that are exhibited here. For a greater understanding of why 4KB sectors are necessary and why alignment can be problematic on these drives, have a look at our coverage here.

Once More, With Feeling PCMark 7 Performance
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  • alan101 - Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - link

    I've tried Seagate support by they can't seem to understand the question. Perhaps one of you fellow geeks can help?

    I want to buy the Momentus XT and then run OS X with FDE (FileVault 2). I'm curious whether the Momentus XT will still give me a better speed. My understanding is that the drive's firmware optimises by, for example, ignoring AVI files. With FDE, the firmware will not be able to detect whether a file is AVI or not. Will this noticeably affect the firmware's ability to optimise the use of the NAND cache?

    Has anyone tested the performance with FDE? Results?
  • Rick999 - Sunday, March 4, 2012 - link

    Good article by the way. I have read several analysis of the Momentus XT 750GB (and the 500GB - whose firmware was originally frought with bugs) and am now seriously looking at buying one of these, especially as you indicate that future firmware will cache writes (yes, put my swap/page files on that SSD). What I have not heard discussed is whether Windows Defrag (which will change LBA for portions of files) will impact the SSD Cache, especially if Seagates optimizing algorithms are looking at LBA to determine what is being repeatedly used. I.e., will a Defrag basically cause the read cache to need to be refreshed? Also, what impacts will certain applications that scan the entire disk have on the cache (like antivirus scans, search indexes, defrag, disk cleaner, chkdsk, backup, etc.). I.e. just because several of these different scans would seem to tell the drive that it sees file A read multiple times (for example, in a single weekend: antivirus, search index, defrag, backup - all reading file A - and EVERY other file too), so cache it, then file B is read multiple times too so cache it, file c, etc. You get the idea. Could these actions make the cache essentially overwrite itself constantly? Curious on your thoughts...
  • djfourmoney - Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - link

    I've been looking at RAID 0 for the laptop, but then I have a server. So do I really need 1.5TB or more like 1.2TB of space in my HTPC when I already have 1.3TB locally and 4TB in the server????

    I don't think I need a large hybrid drive and I consider myself a technician (A+) and an enthusiast though I am not much of a PC Gamer and a mild console gamer (don't even have a PS3 yet).

    I guess for all the games I want to run on Rom Collector, that might make sense. But all SNES and NES games total are not very big (about 3GB) this would seem meaningless.

    For consumers that use a laptop (and a cheap one, sub $500) for daily use/main use, this is a good compromise between the speed of SSD and the storage capacity @GB per $1 ratio spinning drive.

    It would cost about $120-$150 for 2 SSD's (60-64GB) to run in RAID 0. Now why would you do that? Because a SATA III 120GB SSD say a Samsung is $175. The truth is, I only need 64GB for the HTPC. I will think about RAID 0 to take advantage of speed, but that increases my build budget and frankly I would put a 120-128GB in the Laptop and large drives (when prices come back down) in the server.

  • stdg20 - Saturday, May 5, 2012 - link

    Hi Anand, How would the momentus xt 750gb compare to two 7200rpm hdds n RAID 0 configuration. And also what effect would putting a RAID 0 configuration of either 2 momentus xts or 2 7200rpm drives have on a laptops battery life. Thanks :)
  • FloydT3 - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    I have never set up or used a RAID configuration on my PC and am wondering if the Momentus XT 750 would be a good choice?

    If so, I would like to set up and use the redundant configuration. The one where if a drive fails, no information is lost. Any tips or articles you can suggest for me to read on how to do this would be greatly appreciated.

  • jb510 - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    I loved the Momentus XT line as a value/performance combination while SSD's were just too expensive at large capacity. I suffered through beachballs and stalls with my 500GB Momentus XT while waiting for firmware upgrades (which did finally resolve it) because when it worked it was much faster than a standard HDD... However...

    I figured the 2nd gen would be more reliable so I bought one right away... 2 months later it developed an inordinate number of bad blocks, going from SMART warning to SMART Failure in a couple more weeks. Seagate warranty replaced it only charging me for advanced replacement shipping. 2nd drive same problem 1 month later... repeat... The Seagate tech support rep I talked to when the 2nd drive failed didn't seem surprised and was actually confused because he said these drives were "known not to work with Mac's", however upon further checking he said that was the 1st gen drives but the 2nd gen were supposed to work fine. Trustingly I ordered a 3rd drive. Dead 1 month later....

    I give up, SSDs have come down to what I consider reasonable prices (<$1/GB). Before all this I was of the mindset that the major brands had about equal failure rates and support... Now I'm I'm thinking Seagate isn't what it once was and am doublely disappointed that Samsung is now part of Seagate.
  • tipoo - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    2012 is all but over, Seagate support gave me some useless response about where to find the latest firmware when I asked them, and I couldn't join the Seagate forums due to some bugs in their software. So where is the write caching firmware update?

    The latest firmware is still the one the 750 originally shipped with.
  • danwat1234 - Sunday, October 11, 2015 - link

    I share your pain, I'd love to see new firmware for this 750GB 7200RPM hybrid drive. And for Seagate to release a new one that's 2TB and 32GB of cache or so. But who knows how long it'll be before they get there.

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