Back in 2006, storage tech talk was intermittently buzzy with a few different innovations. One was wrapped around the pending release of Windows Vista, particularly two bullets on its feature list: ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive. In parallel with all of the Ready_____ talk, many tech pundits asked why it would be necessary to have the flash talk to Windows through special drivers. Why couldn't the flash memory just act like a larger RAM cache already present on?
A prototype ReadyBoost-enabled HDD by Samsung.
The answer, which nobody was aware of at that time, was that management of flash memory was a tricky thing to do successfully. It would not be until several years later that SSD's would (mostly) beat the issues of Long Term Performance and other issues that crop up when attempting to store randomly written data onto a device that can only be erased in relatively large blocks.
ReadyDrive required a special 'Hybrid' disk drive to be connected to and recognized by Windows Vista, containing both spinning platters and flash memory. Vista would then place frequently used small files on the flash. Since flash memory has negligible access times when compared to seek times of a HDD, the drive overall would boot significantly faster. Other tasks using those cached system files also saw a benefit. While ReadyDrive looked great on paper, there were very few devices ever released that could take advantage of it. Seagate was the earliest to release such a drive, and their Momentus 5400 PSD laptop drive did not see the light of day until Vista was nearly a full year old.
Subject: Storage | November 29, 2011 - 11:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hybrid, momentus XT, hdd, ssd, Seagate, sata 6Gbs
Over the past few years Seagate has been trying to perfect a way to get the best of both storage worlds by combining an SSD as a semi-permanent cache for a large platter based hard drive. The new Seagate Momentus XT is the third generation of this series, a 750GB HDD with a 8GB SLC SSD available to cache frequently used files and are calling it FAST (Flash-Assisted Storage Technology). Legit Reviews investigated their performance claims, after repeatedly using the drive to fill the cache as this drive will perform exactly like the platter based drive it is until that cache has moved frequently accessed or slow to load files into the flash memory. It did seem to reduce boot times and program loading to almost SSD levels, though it does not effect infrequently used programs. It was significantly less expensive than an SSD so if you tend to do similar tasks on your PC every day and need the large storage space this drive might just be for you.
"Overall, we'd certainly recommend the Momentus XT and frankly wouldn't go back to a plain old hard drive unless we were forced to. The expediency of boot and application load times are something that, once you get used to it, you can't seem to live without. Keep in mind that it may take two or three times for the Adaptive Memory Technology to decide that it should be cached and speed things up. On the down side, every operation is not SSD fast, especially if you're performing it for the first time..."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Seagate's Momentus XT 750GB hybrid hard drive @ The Tech Report
- Seagate Momentus XT ST750LX003 Hybrid 750GB Review @ OCC
- Seagate Momentus XT 750GB Hybrid Hard Drive Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Seagate Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid @ Benchmark Reviews
- Seagate Momentus 7200.5 750GB Hard Drive Review @ Legit Reviews
- Western Digital Scorpio Blue 1TB 5400RPM @ Tweaktown
- QNAP TS-879U-RP High Performance SMB NAS @ CoD
- Thecus N8900 8-Bay Rackmount NAS @ Tweaktown
- Synology DiskStation DS712+ NAS Review @ TechwareLabs
- QNAP TurboNAS TS-219P II NAS Server Review @ Real World Labs
- Corsair Performance Pro 256GB SSD Review @ HardwareHeaven
- OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 120GB Review @ HCW
- Silicon Power Diamon D05 USB 3.0 External Drive @ Bjorn3D
- Patriot Pyro SE 6Gbps 240GB SSD Review @ The SSD Review
- Kingston HyperX 3.0 128GB 8-Channel USB Flash Drive Review @ Real World Labs