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Seagate Momentus XT 750GB Review

By on January 18, 2012
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Near SSD performance; near HDD costs.

Good: Near SSD performance; Quick caching of data; Large capacity; Much cheaper than SSDs
Bad: No real-time writing on NAND Flash yet; Price increase over previous generation
Price: AED 950
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Formatting the Momentus XT 750GB in Windows 7 Ultimate, I ended up with 696GB of useable space. That’s quite a hefty space dedicated to formatting the 4KB sectors on the twin platters. The test system used is specified below:

Due to its self-learning feature, all the below tests on the Momentus XT 750GB represent results from the 4th try, at which point performance plateaued.

The PCMark 7 Storage benchmarks are some of the most stressing tests designed for modern hard drives and solid state drives. There are a number of tests performed, focusing on different aspects of the drive and eventually churn out a score based on the overall performance of the drive. Below I have shown the total PCMark 7 storage score for multiple hard drives and SSDs.

That’s the overall score presented by PCMark 7. Below you can see the breakdown of individual benchmarks with the testing methodology. All the below tests are measure in MBps speeds, rather than the score posted up.

Windows Defender

This workload uses a trace of Windows Defender’s Quick scan of the system.

Recording of activity on system drive started just before clicking Quick scan on Windows Defender and lasted until the scan finished.

67% 4kB Random Reads, 23% 64kB Random Reads out of total operation.

Importing Pictures

This workload uses a trace of importing a collection of images in Windows Live Photo Gallery.

A USB stick with 68 images (434 MB total) was inserted and images were imported to Windows Live Photo Gallery. Recording of activity on system drive started at the beginning of importing pictures and lasted until thumbnail images appeared on the display. During the trace Windows Live Photo Gallery copied images from USB stick to Pictures library, indexed them and created thumbnails.

44% 4kB Random Reads, 24% 64kB Random Reads out of total operation.

Video Editing

This workload uses a trace of compiling a home video from a set of video clips.

The source videos were shot with a Sony HDR-HC3 and imported to the PC. The source video was 1080i MPEG-2 videos.  A home video project was prepared with Windows Live Movie Maker. Recording of activity on system drive started just before clicking Publish (1080p video) and lasted until publishing finished. During the trace Movie Maker read parts of source files and wrote a single output file.

32% 64kB Sequential Reads, 23% 64kB Random Reads and 35% 128kB Random Reads out of total operation.

Windows Media Center

This workload uses a trace of Media Center activity.

PC was equipped with a dual DVB-T tuner. A movie was recorded and after the recording had finished, two simultaneous recordings were started and playback of the first movie was started. While maintaining this setup of two movies streaming to storage and one being played back, activity on system drive was recorded for 4 minutes. During the trace Media Center read one file and wrote two others.

41% 4kB Random Writes, 27% 1MB Random Writes out of total operation.

Adding Music

This workload uses a trace of adding music to media library.

On another PC, a hard drive was filled with 68 GB of music files (lossless WMA). The hard drive was connected to the PC recording the trace. Windows Media Player was started and the music folder in the new drive was added to Music Library. Recording of activity on system drive started just before adding the folder to Library and lasted until Windows Media Player status bar read “Update Complete”. During the trace Media Player scanned music files on the added hard drive (which is not included in the trace since the activity did not happen in the system drive) and indexed them (which is included in the trace since index files are located in the system drive.)

11% 4kB Random Reads, 79% 4kB Sequential Writes out of total operation.

Starting Applications

This workload uses a trace of starting up home and office productivity applications.

PCMark 7 specification 1.0 document was copied to Desktop. The document was opened by double clicking and few seconds later Internet Explorer was started from the toolbar. Recording of activity on system drive started just before double clicking the document and lasted until both applications had started and became responsive. During the trace Windows loaded the executables and related DLLs from the system drive.

19% 4kB Random Reads, 60% 64kB Random Reads out of total operation.

Gaming

This workload uses a trace of starting up World of Warcraft.

World of Warcraft was installed. A new character was created in the game. The game was closed and started again. Recording of activity on system drive started just before logging in the game. Game loaded and the new character was selected as quickly as possible. The recording was stopped right after the game world had loaded so far that the character could move in the world. During the trace the game loaded game data from the system drive.

48% 4kB Random Reads, 23% 64kB Random Reads and 13% 64kB Sequential Writes out of total operation.

As you will see from the above benchmarks, the Momentus XT 750GB touches at the heels of SSDs when it comes to read heavy operations, while in write operations speeds are similar to the large platters of the 3.5″ Caviar Black that also revolves at 7200rpm.

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About

From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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