Seagate Launches Fastest Laptop Hard Drive Yet

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-05-24 Print this article Print

Seagate's Momentus XT data storage drive, which can hold up to 500GB of capacity in a 7,200-rpm package, will become available for the first time as an upgrade in Asus laptops. The OEM price is a mere $113.

Seagate pulled no punches on May 24, introducing a spinning-disk/solid-state hybrid drive that it boldly described as the "world's fastest drive for laptops."

The Momentus XT, which can hold up to 500GB of capacity in a 7200-rpm package, will become available for the first time as an upgrade in Asus laptops. The OEM pricing is notable, too: a mere $113.

Hybrid drive architecture combines nonvolatile, solid-state flash memory and traditional disk drives. Flash memory chips reduce startup times, increase operating speeds and lower power consumption because they are able to halt the spinning drive.

The first hybrid hard disk laptops and notebooks came out in late 2007. Seagate Technology and Samsung were the first to begin shipping them in volume.

A lot of advancements have been made in a three-year span. When Seagate came out with its first batch of hybrids in 2007, they were not exactly hot sellers because power-saving, and not performance, was the company's biggest selling point.

Turns out performance-and higher storage capacity-were features that OEMs such as Asustek Computer, Hewlett-Packard and Dell really wanted.

Now they will get performance and capacity as well as affordability, Seagate said.

Seagate claimed the new Momentus XTs are about 80 percent faster than conventional 7200-rpm drives, thanks to the solid-state drive chip inside, which boots the machine in seconds. The 2.5-inch SATA (serial ATA) drive will fit inside any standard laptop or netbook and works with any operating system, Seagate said.

The new drive features 4GB of SSD capacity to go with 32MB of DDR3 (double data rate 3) cache memory.

Driver problem has been solved

One of the problems with the hybrids that came out three years ago was that they had to be optimized to work with Windows Vista drivers. Seagate has worked through that problem and now has engineered these new drives to work seamlessly with Mac OS, Linux and Vista or Windows 7 drivers.

"For notebook PC users looking forward to faster PC performance without sacrificing storage capacity or affordability, now there's an option," said John Rydning, IDC's research director for hard disk drives. "Seagate's new Momentus XT drive is the first storage device for notebook PCs that raises the bar for affordable capacity and performance."

Asus announced May 24 that it will offer the Momentus XT drive as an upgrade option for its new Republic of Gamers G73Jh notebook.

The system, the first that will incorporate the new drive, is powered by an Intel i7 720Qm quad-core processor, 8GB of DDR3 memory, and DX11-capable ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5870.

Seagate and Asus on May 26 will co-sponsor a live Webcast about the Momentus XT and the new Asus ROG G73JH system, which has two Momentus XT drives.

Gaming reviewer N'Gai Croal will provide an in-depth review of the G73. To sign up for the free Webcast and enter a drawing to win one of the systems, go here.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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