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New Hybrid drive marries a 4GB SSD to a 500GB HDD
The drive in my brother's MacBook died. I stopped into Fry's to get a new one for him and saw the Seagate Momentus XT. It's a 500GB 7200rpm drive with 32 MB cache plus a 4 GB SSD. Checked the reviews and decided to pick one up for me and give him my old drive instead (which I'd installed a few months back).


The drive transparently caches your most frequently accessed data to the SSD. I haven't installed it yet, plan to do a clean install of Lion on it when it's released (hopefully sometime next week)

I'd love to switch to SSD, but my drive contains 400 GB of stuff and don't wish to spend 1K+ for a SSD that can hold it. At $130 for the hybrid, this should be a nice step on the way to totally SDD.
New Let us know how it goes.
Remember caching disk controllers? Nothing's new under the sun. :-)

I expect more and more of this stuff to be pushed onto the silicon over time, but it's hard to beat rotating disks for hyrge storage. Presumably Intel and AMD and the motherboard people are working on ways to move the SSD off the hard drive and into the CPU/chipset/motherboard slot. More integration at lower levels should make it cheaper.

But, fully SSD storage is expensive and going to remain so. Most of us don't mess with more than a few 10s of GB of data and programs every day, but we want reasonably quick access to TB of stuff. A standard, cheap 64 GB SSD coupled to a TB+ hard drive would seem to be the way to go for the next few years (until everything is designed for 16 Mpixel screens anyway).

Let us know how it goes. Good luck.

New initial test results
I also picked up a USB dock and currently have the hybrid drive connected using it:

I copied OpenOffice over to the new drive.

a - 15 seconds for first launch (to the screen were you select new documents or open existing)
b - 4 seconds average for first launch after system shutdown
c - 1.5 seconds average for subsequent launches.

I suspect the difference between B & C is due to system libraries that have been loaded. My internal drive (also 500 GB @ 7200 rpm) takes about 7 seconds for the initial load after system shutdown, but also 1.5 seconds for subsequent launches.

Wonder how much the USB 2.0 connection is slowing down the new drive.
New significantly
usb2 probably a 60 to 65% performance hit.
Sure, understanding today's complex world of the future is a little like having bees live in your head. But...there they are.
New Previous experience...
I have a Friend with an older MacBook Pro. First Core2 processors.

Putting in the 4GB SSD and a 300GB traditional disk.

It failed miserably.

Would not install completely.
New 2 separate drives, or an earlier hybrid drive?
Mine shows up as a single drive.

From what I've read, the earlier hybrid drives required the OS to be involved, and apparently only Windows supported it.
Update: with more real-world testing under our belts, Seagate's Momentus XT is receiving our rare Best of Tom's award for excellent performance
Hybrid hard drives (H-HDDs) arrived in 2007, and they disappeared soon after because there was hardly any real benefit. Today, Seagate unveils a new type of hybrid that is similar to the initial H-HDD concept. However, the new Momentus XT does not rely on operating system support, and hence should be more versatile.

New An earlier Hybrid.
Failed miserably on installing OSX 10.6.something.

Went back to 10.5.6 and it also failed miserably.

Would not complete the installation at all.

Put a regular drive back in and it worked just fine.
New Initial results are very promising!
I installed Lion yesterday, no problems with the drive. I did a few power down/power on cycles to "prep the SSD" before going to bed.

In the morning my routine is to hit the power buttons on my MBP, monitors, Dell (work computer). The 2 computers normally get to their logon screens within a second or two of each other.

This morning, I was fully logged onto the Mac (I have auto-logon disabled) with all auto-start programs running and the Dell was still booting!
Expand Edited by SpiceWare July 21, 2011, 10:23:47 AM EDT
New Very happy with the hybrid!
As mentioned yesterday, the morning boot is super fast.

Applications that took "4 bounces in the dock" to initially load only take 1 bounce on subsequent loads. This includes after rebooting the system.

Well worth the extra $50 over the equivalent 500GB 7200 Momentus w/out the SSD.
New Neat. Thanks.
     Hybrid drive marries a 4GB SSD to a 500GB HDD - (SpiceWare) - (9)
         Let us know how it goes. - (Another Scott) - (2)
             initial test results - (SpiceWare) - (1)
                 significantly - (beepster)
         Previous experience... - (folkert) - (2)
             2 separate drives, or an earlier hybrid drive? - (SpiceWare) - (1)
                 An earlier Hybrid. - (folkert)
         Initial results are very promising! - (SpiceWare)
         Very happy with the hybrid! - (SpiceWare) - (1)
             Neat. Thanks. -NT - (Another Scott)

I'm the best there is at what I do. But what I do isn't very nice.
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