Page 1 of 9
A few days ago we reviewed the first serious attempt by Seagate to enter the consumer SSD market with their 600 SSD model which was surprisingly good for a first attempt especially since together they also launched two extra SSD models the 600 Pro SSD and 1200 SSD both of which are considered as enterprise-class solutions. However in order to cover pretty much every user out there Seagate did not stop there and so they also released their 3rd Generation of 2.5" Hybrid drives they like to refer to as SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Drives) which much like their Momentus XT predecessor are mostly aimed towards laptop owners who want to have the best of both worlds meaning the low cost and high capacity ratio of HDDs coupled with the superior performance of SSDs. Currently Seagate has two SSHD models in the market the 1TB Laptop SSHD and the 500GB Laptop Thin SSHD which we have on our test bench today.
Founded in 1979, Seagate is the leading provider of hard drives and storage solutions. From the videos, music and documents we share with friends and family on social networks, to servers that form the backbone of enterprise data centers and cloud-based computing, to desktop and notebook computers that fuel our personal productivity, Seagate products help more people store, share and protect their valuable digital content. Seagate offers the industry’s broadest portfolio of hard disk drives, solid-state drives and solid-state hybrid drives. In addition, the company offers an extensive line of retail storage products for consumers and small businesses, along with data-recovery services for any brand of hard drive and digital media type. Seagate employs more than 50,000 people around the world.
Unlike normal HDDs the new SSHDs (just like the Momentus XT) feature NAND flash to store frequently accessed data and thus simulate SSD performance. The only two downsides to that is that for starters you will not see any performance gains as soon as you install the drive since the adaptive memory technology algorithms (AMT) need time to spot and cache your frequently accessed data and also that the NAND flash used is just 8GB in size which pretty much means that it will be unable to accelerate everything (although plans for 32GB models are underway I really hope the day comes when we will see SSHDs over 3TB in size with at least 256GB of onboard NAND flash). Anyways as already mentioned Seagate launched two different SSHD models the Laptop SSHD which is 1TB in capacity and 9.5mm thick (due to the two platters used) and the Laptop Thin SSHD which has 500GB of capacity and is 7mm thick. Both drives have a rotational speed of 5400RPM a decision which Seagate had to take because as clearly stated from their name these models are aimed for laptop use and thus power constraints are an issue (3.5" SSHD drives will be available soon at 7200RPM). Now although to make up for that "reduction" in speed Seagate has placed 64MB DRAM cache (from the 32MB found in the Momentus XT) at the same time they used MLC instead of SLC NAND Flash to cut down the cost and although we're long past the time when SLC would massively outperform MLC still we don't know how much this will affect performance. Ok then let's put the latest Laptop Thin SSHD through our tests and see just how good it is compared to regular 2.5" drives and of course other "caching" solutions including its predecessor.