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Hybrid Storage Roundup: Seagate Momentus XT vs. OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid vs. Intel Z68

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Various

Introduction Continued / Test System Setup / Prior Results

We'll kick off testing with 2.5" and smaller form factor solutions. I say 'and smaller' because Intel Z68 caching was introduced for desktop systems using SATA connected SSD's, but also for mobile platforms equipped with a special mSATA bay.

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An mSATA SSD (left) installed alongside a 2.5" HDD (right) in a mobile platform.

Gigabyte later introduced desktop motherboards equipped with the same mobile mSATA port, allowing system builds using caching without the need for an additional SATA drive taking up a bay in the desktop chassis. In addition to the 20GB SLC Larsen Creek SSD, Intel made 40GB and 80GB mSATA units available using MLC flash. These drives were large enough to contain the entire OS partition and could avert the need for caching entirely.

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A Gigabyte Z68 motherboard, equipped with an on-board mSATA port (center).

Test System Setup

We're going to stick with a Z68 board for all testing, though most test will be performed without the use of Z68 caching abilities. This is a new revision board, unaffected by the known issues of the first generation of these boards.

PC Perspective would like to thank ASUS, Corsair, and Kingston for supplying some of the components of our test rig. 

Hard Drive Test System Setup
CPU Intel Core i5-2500K
Motherboard Asus P8Z68-V Pro
Memory Kingston HyperX 4GB DDR3-2133 CL9
Hard Drive (tested devices as C:)
Sound Card N/A
Video Card Intel Core i5-2500K Native
Video Drivers Intel
Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-650TX
DirectX Version DX9.0c
Operating System Windows 7 x64

 

Before we go on, here's the results of our initial Z68 cache testing, for your reference:

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Results here were covered in more detail in the previous article, but for now, just note the test results of 50-100 on HDD's, and 100-150 on cached solutions / 3Gb/sec SSD's.

December 5, 2011 | 10:39 AM - Posted by Dean Brady (not verified)

I'm curious what type of issues other users have had with the Momentus XT G1 and if it is present in G2? I've been through 4 drives on 2 machines in the past 8 months. For many users the drive just stops showing up at boot so you have no OS to boot from.

I have a 500GB G1 in a laptop and another in my lanbox. I even had one in a MacBook PRO for a while. Great idea but I'm curious about real world, long term results. I use Adobe Creative Suite a lot and can't say that I saw any great improvement.

December 6, 2011 | 03:03 AM - Posted by KasiorMC (not verified)

And how do those dives compere to 10k RPM spinning ones like WD Velociraptor?

December 6, 2011 | 12:14 PM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

If you are using the same files frequently enough to cache them in the SSD then the Momentus XT is in a whole other class. For non-repetitive data transfer/access it will tend to be a bit slower than a 6GBp/s 10K drive, but not much.

December 7, 2011 | 12:32 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Still it would be interesting to see how the RevoDrive Hybrid would work with a Raptor.

December 7, 2011 | 10:02 AM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

Definitely, though what you were testing would really influence the results. One of the big problems Al has testing these drives is that if you use a benchmark several times, the drive will cache it in the SSD and give results that you'd likely never see in the real world.

Certainly something to think about.

December 7, 2011 | 07:01 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Good question indeed, but there's a few catches here. While the vraptor drive will physically fit on the board, it doesn't supply the voltages needed to spin up the drive itself. Velociraptor drives require +12V (in addition to laptop-only +5 and +3.3VDC).

That said, the caching part of all of these drives leave a Velociraptor in the dust, but it would definitely speed up the uncached accesses.

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December 6, 2011 | 06:47 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I wonder how these numbers compare to using ReadyBoost with a good USB flash drive or a class 10 SD card? That would a a useful data point.

December 7, 2011 | 10:16 AM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

In best case scenarios they compare to an HDD with a small SSD using SRT on Sandy Bridge. It would wipe the floor with ReadyBoost. 4.8Gbps best case on USB 3.0 versus 6Gbps best case over SATA

December 7, 2011 | 10:54 AM - Posted by Geoff K (not verified)

Have they worked out the issues with the Momentus XT drives? I was thinking of upgrading, but then I read all these reviews with freezing and locks up on the Macbook Pros. User's seem to be in a constant cycle of firmware upgrades. So ultimately I ended up going with a standard 7200 RPM drive.

December 8, 2011 | 05:52 PM - Posted by dean@thebradyreport.com (not verified)

Geoff K, I had one in my MacBook and just yanked it out for a 6GB Sata 240GB SSD Mercury Extreme from OWC. MBP flies now.

One other thing I was trying was to use an ExpressCard SSD (36GB) as a cache drive for Photoshop. I've heard people have used them as boot drives etc but I need a much larger drive for the OS.

July 25, 2012 | 04:36 PM - Posted by mauser1891 (not verified)

Hello Folks,

For a couple of months I have been using my "G2"/Momentus XT750 daily on my A6-2400M based ASUS NV55S07u. And it was the last "upgrade" that I did to it. My 8GB DDR3 is rated higher than my chipset capability, thus no "choke" in that area. I use a set "pagefile" size. Finally this Hybrid drive. Either from a linux distro or Win 7 it performs twice as fast overall compared to the "5400 Standard" drive that came with it. In fact I have evven been playing BF3 the last month and found it capable. Though on a intensive 48+ players game I might kick down the resolution to compensate for the limits of the base hardware. I have been using it for 13 months now. Remember that this is not a desktop or higher end laptop, but a "mid ranged" laptop at it's release time.

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