Customer Reviews: Seagate Momentus XT 500 GB 2.5 Inch Solid State Hybrid Drive ST95005620AS
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on August 9, 2010
I have the 500GB version of this drive. I also use and have used SSD's with SLC and MLC flash, JMicron controllers, Samsung Controllers, Barefoot controllers, and SandForce controllers on 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems. I've used several generations of Raptors, and 3Ware RAID controllers. I'm not saying that to brag, I'm saying it to point out I have a reasonable basis for comparison and expectation.

Here's what the drive does well: It's alignment- and OS-agnostic, so it does not care if you run it unaligned on older XP systems. It will, over about 5 cycles, learn what you do and optimize it. You will notice your system boots much faster. It excels on systems where you boot into your OS and do the same basic tasks, say, open MS office and Firefox and Outlook.

Here's what the drive does not do well: If you are constantly changing what you run on your computer, your drive will constantly be "learning" what you do. I have also found it does not do well with remote desktop apps that are constantly caching image data.

Here's what the drive does that makes it no better or worse than any other mechanical drive: If you are using the drive to store music or videos or such, they are going to go the the platters. Then it's just another very good, high performance 7200RPM notebook drive. Nothing wrong with that at all.

Here's the KILLER APP reason to buy this drive: I took a 32-bit Vista Home Premium laptop that was so congested and clogged with programs, leftovers of removed programs, fragmentation, you name it, and just cloned it to this drive. The mechanical drive it was on took literally 5 minutes to get to a useful state on the desktop. This drive, after about 5 boots, learned that our family needed Vista OS, Chrome for Farmville, and iTunes. We now have 30 second boots and even though the drive is still loading services and such, we can launch apps immediately at the desktop. Our primary apps either snap open, or in the case of iTunes launch about 3x faster. It's not subtle, it's huge.

If you want a drive that does not have alignment issues with older OS's, and is used primarily on a computer that does about the same sorts of things over and over, this drive will make a huge difference for you. And since it's SLC cache, it's enterprise-class durable in that regard. Also, it mirrors its flash to the mechanical drive, so if the flash fails, it just becomes a regular mechanical drive, sort of like a run-flat tire.
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on August 19, 2010
I replaced my 500GB 5400rpm WD with this Momentus XT after doing exhausting research. I use my MacBoook Pro laptop for analytical work involving large datsets. Here is why I settled on the Momentus XT vs an SSD.

Momentus XT
- 4GB SLC SSD integrated into the hard drive for speedy access commonly used files
- Although not as fast as an SSD, but soooo much cheaper than 300GB+ of SSD space.
- More vibration and a little more noise than my WD 500GB, but not significantly so.
- Mac OS X doesn't support TRIM. I was concerned that a SSD drive would slow down significantly overtime without it.
- Toms Hardware highly recommended it over other 7200 rpm laptop hard drives. See their review for all the techy details.

Note that the integrated SSD is used only for reading, not for writing. It essentially clones your commonly used files on the 4GB SSD.

If you are looking for a sweet spot between speed and space this is it. The Momentus has a 4GB SLC SSD integrated into the hard drive which allows for very fast reads of commonly used data. This translates into really fast application loading like an SSD. It uses a learning algorithm to decide what to store on the SSD so it takes some time to get to optimal performance.

Most people have a lot of data that is accessed infrequently on their hard drive. Thus an SSD is overkill since there isn't much benefit to to storing infrequently accessed on a really fast drive. If you are accessing almost all of your data all the time (like in a server application) then maybe an SSD is for you. For the rest of us there is the Momentus XT.

I am very particular about the noise with my MacBook Pro. The stock 250GB Seagate hard drive my laptop shipped with was virtually undetectable. When I tried the WD 1TB 5400rpm and WD 500GB 5400rpm, I was disappointed to find that they both made audible white noise like that of a small cpu fan. The Momentus 7200rpm makes slightly more noise than the WD drives, but not significantly so. It does produce more vibrations than the 5400rpm drives which you can feel if you put your hand on the laptop case, but I am willing to live with it for the performance gains. I deducted one star for the less than optimal acoustics.

Here are some performance specs from my MacBook Pro using Quick Bench. Note that these times do not reflect the benefit of the integrated SSD. There reflect only the performance of the hard drive portion. The throughput is similar to the WD 1TB 5400rpm which I also reviewed, but the random reading/writing is a bit faster.

QuickBench(TM) 4.0 Test Results
Standard Test Results in MB/Sec

Seq. Read 70.815
Seq. Write 59.756
Ran. Read 17.265
Ran. Write 30.618

(Cycles: 1)
< Insert Chart Here > Seq. Read Seq. Write Ran. Read Ran. Write
4 KB 21.829 5.266 0.663 1.675
8 KB 38.852 10.527 1.24 2.857
16 KB 59.379 21.098 2.932 5.685
32 KB 85.593 37.539 5.519 10.918
64 KB 88.714 68.469 9.239 21.527
128 KB 85.232 118.508 17.088 44.092
256 KB 87.634 106.457 29.255 57.775
512 KB 86.992 85.88 36.296 61.612
1024 KB 83.111 84.061 53.157 69.426
Standard Ave 70.815 59.756 17.265 30.618

If you found this review helpful, let me know with your vote below.
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on June 28, 2010
I've read a lot of reviews, some good, some bad. I think some people have this idea that the product will speed everything up all the time, and this sets bad expectations. What this drive will do is cache often used data, such as core Operating System files used at boot and commonly used applications, and store that data in its 4GB SSD-like cache. If your drive already reads and writes pretty fast, in the neighborhood of 75-100MBps (megaBytes not bits), other than boot up and application loading, you aren't going to notice much of a difference.

I use Apple's OS X Snow Leopard, and it definitely boots faster (1 minute 30 seconds prior to this disk, now 55 seconds from power on to ready + all my startup apps running), and commonly run applications also start up noticeably faster.

I upgraded from a bit slower drive, so I see some performance gain there, but nothing huge.

Overall I got the disk read speeds I was looking for -- faster boot, faster common app loading, and an overall boost in performance by upgrading from a slower drive altogether.

This drive won't change your life, unless you are booting several times a day or loading the same data repeatedly. It's a fine drive with the benefit of faster boot and common app loading times, nothing more.
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on December 23, 2010
If you are considering this drive based on reviews from professional reviewers, save yourself a lot of time, money and frustration by avoiding the Momentus XT drive.

This drive sounded just like what I was looking for, near SSD performance at a reasonable price. After installing the drive in my late 2008 MacBook Pro, it seemed a bit quicker and boot up time was noticeably faster. Unfortunately, a few days passed and the system started to hang for 5-10 seconds every 5 minutes or so. The system hangs then became longer and more frequent rendering the machine completely useless. A visit to the Seagate user forum quickly revealed that this problem is well known and very common.

I removed the Seagate Momentus XT drive and put the original Mac drive back in and all of the problems went away.

The drive was purchased and originally installed in October of 2010. After giving up on the drive and not returning it in time I went back to the Seagate site in December of 2010. To my pleasant surprise, Seagate had just released a firmware update to fix the problems. After installing the update, I installed the operating system from scratch. The system ran better than ever... I really thought this was a great drive. Then, the same problems came back, with a vengeance! The lock ups started after 4 days of use. This time there wasn't much of graceful decline. The system started to lock up as before and within 15 minutes, it was unusable. Another visit to the Seagate forums and I discovered others were experiencing the same issue.

While I like the premise of this drive, I would not purchase or recommend it.

Good luck!
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on January 22, 2011
I purchased this drive after seeing a positive review on Anandtech, and then reading that Paul Thurrot had purchased one. The drive's performance was indeed good - when it functioned properly.

Unfortunately, there's a very bad firmware bug causing the drive to hang intermittently during use; any applications blocking on IO will freeze for up to 20 seconds at a time, perhaps once every fifteen minutes. This makes the drive essentially unusable.

This turns out to be a known problem with the Momentus XT firmware. Browse Seagate's own forums for more information. The latest firmware release, SD24, was supposed to fix the problem, but after installing it I was (along with many others) still experiencing the glitch. Sadly, I had to return the drive, and if I'd known about this beforehand I wouldn't have purchased one in the first place. But I was surprised to discover that my replacement, a Samsung Spinpoint M4, performs almost as well as the Momentus XT, without the glitches and the added cost inherent in this hybrid model.
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on September 4, 2011
I came to this drive page to amuse myself by reading complaints. I was shocked to see this drive has 4 stars. There are thousands of complaints about this drive on the Internet, even on Seagate's own forum. I have one in a Thinkpad T61. The drive often hangs. I've tried everything Seagate told me to try. (their software shows no errors). It's supposed to be one of the fastest drives around (due to having part of its memory solid-state). Ironically, for me, it is the slowest--painfully slow. Seagate obviously released this hybrid technology too quickly. The drive may work perfectly for others (or you), but there are so many customers with these problems I can't see that it's worth the risk for anyone to buy one. Seagate will allow me to send mine back and get a new one, but they won't send a new one first unless I haggle with a customer service rep--in other words, Seagate doesn't even pretend that this drive doesn't have serious problems but they won't really put the customer first.

What interesting is that out of about 270 reviews there are 42, or 16% with 1 star. All the reviews read the same; like my experience, the drive hangs dreadfully. Would you buy a product if you knew you had a 1 in 5 chance of getting one that doesn't work at all? Would you move all your hard drive contents to such a drive? Spend all that time?

There must be something wrong with the way Amazon rates devices like these if their algorithm can't tell when the grape is sour or the grape is going to kill you!

Hopefully they'll fix it!
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on May 10, 2011
I have the 500GB version of this drive, on a 2010 MacbookPro 17" (MacbookPro6,1).

When I bought it (about a week ago) I was looking forward to writing a positive review and posting the times I clocked for system boot-up, etc., before and after putting this drive in.

Sadly, this my review is going to have to take another angle entirely.

>> NOISES <<
I noticed this drive making noises. Like a short chirp or bleep or low-level clonk (not a hard clonk, but a chirpy kind of one). Hard to describe. It kicks in quite often and will then occur every few seconds.

The feature list on this product page states: "Low heat and vibration - quiet operation without giving up storage capacity and affordability".

A consistent chirping sound is not "quiet operation" in my definition of those words. The hard drive I replaced made almost no noticeable noise at all (assuming I don't have my ear pinned to the laptop). This one chirps and produces a low-level hum that was not noticeable with the original drive. My original drive was also a 7200RPM drive, so it is not a question of that.

I also notice the hand rest area (above where the drive is on a MacbookPro) is warmer than before. So it seems to put out more heat than the default 7200RPM drive. It is nothing major, and not something I am concerned about.

Another issue with this drive is that OS X can not put it automatically to sleep. The drive will NOT spin-down when not in active use. This has dramatically reduced my battery time when not plugged in. I understand this issues affects all Macbooks.

So when Seagate says in the features (as listed on this product page) "OS- and application-independent - designed for any SATA standard laptop PC", it is simply not true. This drive is not designed to work correctly with the Mac OS X power management system. The computer will sleep (and the drive will spin down) when I use the menu item to command it to and when I put the lid down. But it will not do so automatically when running on batteries. I think this will be a major issue for MBP users who need to work unplugged.


I did some research to find out if this chirp and the lack of spin-down are a known issues, and if the chirp is a sign of potential drive failure. What I found was that a considerable number of Mac users (mostly, but some windows users too) have had serious issues with this drive. Here are some comments I have copied and pasted from the Seagate forums, just to give you some idea what I mean:

- "Using the Momentus XT drive in my MacBook Pro (3.1) for 4 Months, Freezes (Beachball) and dramatically increasing Load/Unload Counter"

- "Freezes very often(2-3 times per min). More frequantly while watching a video/playing a game than just surfing or writing." (Mac User)

- "chirping constantly unless I turn off APM via quietHDD" (an Asus user)

- "My system freezes for a few seconds every time a new application is started." (Mac user)

- "Chirps every 30-120s when system goes into sleep mode." (Mac)

- "The drive prioritizes, boot & common app launch reasonably well. i'm thinking the occasional pauses/stalls happen between the drive accessing ssd & regular hd. also its possible it's overplaying it's role RE priority etc. The logic behind the concept is good, i think management needs some serious tweaking." (Mac)

- "System freezes often for about 1-2 sec makes UI sluggish. really noticable in videos and games. I use my laptop for editing and this makes my job impossible. I have put an alternative dirve in and have had no issues but I do miss the speed of the XT if these freezes can be sorted the drive would be great." (mac)

- "The drive keeps my MacBookPro from going automaticaly to sleep mode, the disk never spins down. Putting the Mac to sleep mode by key shortcut or closing the lid works fine. If the sleep issue will not go away with SD26, I will give up and return the drive. Its very annoying." (Mac)

... there are many more similar reports. Lots of them.
Take a look at this online spreadsheet for a few examples: bit .ly /lxdG76

I suggest reading this article on Engadget: engt .co /k9krKT
It gives an overview of the issues I am referring to.

For more detailed insight into potential issues with this drive, I also suggest taking a look at this forum: bit .ly /ioOVNj
And particularly check out this thread, which has over 520 posts on it, regarding issues people have had with the firmware update Seagate released to try and fix the issues: bit .ly /jvs6MF

As far as I can tell these issues are mostly affecting Mac users, but some Windows users are also having issues. Considering Mac users make up a small proportion of computer users in total, there are a lot posting on the forums with problems.

I wish to point out Seagate have shipped a large number of these drives. I don't know the exact figures, but hundred of thousands at a guess. Most of those would have gone to Windows users. Obviously the majority of people are not having the above mentioned issues. But a relatively high number of Mac users are. There may be many other Mac users who have not actually paid attention to whether or not the drive is spinning down when not in use, and how much loss in battery time they have suffered. I see Mac users who have written positive reviews for this drive.

Having said that, the hard drive is perhaps the most critical part of a computer. If it fails, one stands the risk of losing data. Being able to function for as long as possible on an unplugged laptop is also a major feature of having a laptop. The kind of battery time losses some people are reporting are too high, I think.

The chances are, you might not have issues with this drive. Only trying it out will tell.

** For Mac users: I think that buying this drive for a Macbook has a high level of risk associated with it.
The firmware version Seagate has for this drive at this time is SD25.
Mine came last week (early May) from Amazon, with firmware SD24. I have read that SD25 introduced more problems for many users. Also note, updating firmware on the Mac is not straightforward. The tool Seagate provides for updating is designed for Windows. To update on Mac a workaround is required.
Apparently SD26 will be coming out in the next few months.
My recommendation is to hold off on this drive. Wait for SD26 to be released. Check out the forums (at the link I gave above) and see if people are reporting positive results with SD26. If they are, then it may be worth getting this drive.

** For Windows users: I think the risk is much lower. I'd recommend going for it, but pay particular attention to whether or not your drive makes odd noises and/or fails to spin-down. If those things don't happen, you should be okay. Enjoy the performance increase on your computer. :-)

At this stage it looks like I will be returning this drive. Whilst I was very keen to reduce the boot time on my MBP, I am not interested in having a drive that fails prematurely (something numerous Mac users with the chirp sound have reported, and an issue I understand Seagate has acknowledged), nor am I interested in having a dramatic loss in battery time. Previously I could easily watch a 2 hour movie on this MBP. Now the battery time starts out at around 3:20, drops in a few minutes to 2:30, then keeps dropping in leaps every few minutes, and within about 15 minutes of unpluggin it's dropped to around 1:45.

I am giving this product three stars, mostly because I like the idea of it, and would want one if it worked (which was why I got one).
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on October 11, 2010
The Story:
Originally bought this drive from Love that Newegg. Anyway, got a defective drive. Should've known something was wrong. First problem was trying to format it with my MacBook Pro via an external adapter. Drive Utility found it the first time but then kept loosing connection. The formatting took FOREVER. But I didn't know what to expect with a hybrid drive. Tried going ahead and installing it, which is no easy task on the MacBook Pro unibody. Same problems but still got the OS installation going. Now that's fixed. But it was a bit on the noisy side. Again, didn't know what to expect with the hybrid and had read some reviews that mention this. As a precaution, I contacted Seagate via email and asked if I should be worried. They suggested that I run First Aid on it. ID'ed as a bad volume including multiple errors. Back to Newegg you go. Newegg was great with the return, as usual. I bought the replacement from Amazon and paid a tad more ONLY because I didn't want to wait for the replacement process, I messed up the RMA to be a replacement (which Newegg chat helped to fix), and I have Amazon Prime and paid only $4 for overnight shipping. Sooooooo...... Got hard drive #2, tested on external adapter with absolutely no problems at all. Even did the OS install while connected externally and booted to the drive as external. Worked GREAT even like this. Then went through the lengthy installation into the MacBook Pro. Works great! AND ITS QUIET!

The Review:
So here is my take so far on the Seagate Momentus XT 500GB Hybrid drive. Regularly used programs start super fast. Shutdown and startup are fast. Now the first time you shutdown and start up the computer you won't see a difference. But after that the drive adapts to it and starts using the Flash Memory. Same is true with the programs. Though you may find that the programs load and use times don't increase until 2-3 uses. Of course, I use Safari 4.0 most of all. Starts up lightening fast. I use Entourage 2008 and Photoshop CS4 equally second. Entourage can lag at loading typically. With the Momentus XT it's much faster. Photoshop now, that's a HUGE difference. It loads in maybe 1/4 of the time it did before. And that maybe selling it short, maybe faster. So, I like it. Does what it says it's suppose to do. I guess sort of like having an SSD drive (though I've never had one to compare them) but without the big price tag.
Seagate Momentus XT 500 GB 7200RPM SATA 3Gb/s 32 MB Cache 2.5 Inch Solid State Hybrid Drive ST95005620AS-Bare Drive
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on November 4, 2012
Unleash the beast within! I installed this hard drive into my ps3, took about 5 minutes, also make sure you have a USB stick with the current ps3 firmware so you can install onto your new harddrive, or an external hard drive that is FAT32 formatted so you can back up all of your saved downloads and firmware. You can download the firmware from the playstation website, located at the home screen in the bottom right hand corner.

Now for my review, so first I opted out for the just re download everything option as I did not want to format my external hard drive which made me kind of frustrated until I actually got it running. The first thing I noticed was how fast my downloads were. My internet speed has always been fast, only my old 5400 RPM HDD could not keep up with the write speeds! For example I just downloaded NFS MOST WANTED 2012 edition that came out a few days ago and my download time with my 5400 RPM HDD was around 2 hours (5Gbs, after I installed The Momentus XT my download speed dropped down to just under 30 minutes! I saved an hour and a half on download speed alone.

Some of you might be skeptical and that is ok, but continuing my install speeds are faster, my game loading screens are faster, when I am in a game online and I have to check a message from the XMB screen the is no lag and it is as smooth as butter as I can respond with out that annoying loading swirl in the top corner (all you ps3 gamers know what I am talking about)and most importantly I can get back into the game faster!

Overall I feel like I have a new system, it is faster in every aspect, it saves faster, downloads faster, installs faster, and loads your games faster. If you have GTA IV I am sure you have been driving in your car and notice some building animations pop up out of nowhere due to your HDD playing catch up and struggling to load everything, well guess what that is eliminated with this HDD as it loads everything extremely fast. You will NOT be disappointing with this HDD! It is a must buy and will greatly enhance your gaming experience and put you ahead of the competition!
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on February 17, 2011
Others have detailed the same issues I'm having: constant freezing, and it's not gotten better with the firmware update. I've actually had good luck with Seagate drives before, so I felt pretty confident despite other negative reviews. Now I'm going back to the original drive. Don't waste your money until they get a better working version.
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