While being pricier per gigabyte of storage than hard drives, solid state drives are increasing in popularity thanks to superior performance, including the ability to boot your OS significantly faster. So what if you can weld together the speed of an SSD with the bigger capacity (and much lower price) of a hard drive?
That's what Seagate has been working on in what's being called a hybrid hard drive, which mostly entails adding a flash-memory chip to a conventional hard disk. The first time the storage company tried releasing it two years ago, it went nowhere, but apparently Seagate thinks now's the time to give it a second try. According to Engadget, an event is planned for May 26 that will unveil the drive being used in Asus' ROG G73Jh gaming laptop. In addition, the Momentus XT drive is currently available for preorder at Provantage.com, combining a 4GB SLC Nand flash chip, 32MB cache, and a 7,200rpm 500GB 2.5-inch SATA (3Gbps) hard drive, for $133.45. Fudzilla says that 250GB and 320GB flavors will also be available in the 2.5-inch form factor.
Seagate is claiming that the Momentus XT will boost system performance up to 150 percent. What does that convert to? Apparently being 80 percent swifter than an ordinary 7,2000rpm hard drive and 20 percent faster than a 10,000rpm hard drive, though still six seconds slower than a dedicated SSD drive. On the other hand, it won't cost anywhere near the price of an equivalently sized SSD. Obviously benchmarkers are already planning to put those claims to the test with the G73Jh laptop. If they deliver the promised performance, these hybrid drives may look more like a Prius and less like a Frankenstein.