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Hybrid notebook drives - are they any good?

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
I need to get a new large capacity hard drive for my notebook and see that Seagate has a 750 gb "hybrid drive" that seems interesting. What does that mean and would there be any speed advantages to using a hybrid drive over a regular drive?
 

videotronic

TRIBE Member
there is 6GB of flash memory in the drive and the drive has a little controller chip that attempts to put the data you use most often on it. the idea is to give you some of the advantage of SSD-like speed while still having a large capacity.

i had one in my old laptop for a few years. it was ok, but not life changing. the older ones were 7200rpm drives...i believe the new ones are 5400, which is less than ideal
 

lobo

TRIBE Member
I've used the Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drives in most of my laptops before and I *do* notice a speedier difference. The hybrids normally have a small amount of SSD space (4GB or so) and it is used for caching repetitive data. So for example, if you reboot your machine a lot, it will notice this and start caching the startup files. Next time you reboot, the bootup process will be much faster. Local applications are similar so that if you always open up Excel it will make it a bit faster.

For the price ($90 for 500GB sometimes), space and the increase in performance, I'd say these are a good stepping point before moving over to a full SSD as your primary drive.

Lobo
 

lobo

TRIBE Member
there is 6GB of flash memory in the drive and the drive has a little controller chip that attempts to put the data you use most often on it. the idea is to give you some of the advantage of SSD-like speed while still having a large capacity.

i had one in my old laptop for a few years. it was ok, but not life changing. the older ones were 7200rpm drives...i believe the new ones are 5400, which is less than ideal
Right. Try and find one of the 7200rpm ones which will give you the most speed increase but don't expect SSD like performance for the entire contents of the drive.

Review of the drive I used:

AnandTech | Seagate's Momentus XT Reviewed, Finally a Good Hybrid HDD

Lobo
 
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Deus

TRIBE Member
I have one on my desktop, and it's a noticeable improvement from a regular HDD. However it's nowhere near as fast as the SSD in my laptop.

Since I don't trust having critical data on SSDs, as there are no real recovery options for SSDs as far as I know, it is a good compromise for me between speed and piece of mind.
 
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