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These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording
system inside SPCR's own 11
dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s.
We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from
the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what
we heard during the review.
These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds
in actual use one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer
or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient
noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware
that very quiet subjects may not be audible if we couldn't hear it from
one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!
The recordings start with 5 to 10 seconds of ambient noise, then 10 second
segments of the drive in the following states: idle, seek with AAM enabled (if
applicable), and seek with AAM disabled.
The Seagate Momentus XT 500GB is an interesting integration of
flash and mechanical storage. It is certainly a very fast drive, but it in most
cases its performance is closer to that of a traditional 7200 RPM hard drive
than a solid state drive. As for its Adaptive Memory technology, we did see
an improvement of about 4% between our 1st test run and our 5th, so it does
seem that the drive does a fair job optimizing what is stored on the flash portion
of the drive over time. It's a nice little boost but we can't say how well it
holds up over longer periods of time or more varied usage.
While the drive isn't silent like a SSD, its airborne acoustics
are excellent for notebook drive in general, not just a 7200 RPM model. We're
not sure exactly what Seagate is doing to make their 7200 RPM Momentus drives
so quiet, but we hope they keep at it. The other factor that affects noise is
vibration, and in this regard the XT is about average.
The last thing to consider is power consumption, something that
is obviously paramount for notebook battery life. The XT takes a long time for
its head to park, and its idle power usage is on the high side, almost twice
that of the Hitachi
Travelstar 5K500.B for example. Upgrading from a low power 5400 RPM
drive could result in a loss of ~5% or more in idle run time if you have a fairly
energy efficient laptop.
Ultimately the Momentus XT is no replacement for a SSD, but it
is undoubtedly the fastest drive with spinning platters you can buy for your
laptop. It's a fair compromise as the 500GB XT has almost 8 times more capacity
than an equivalently priced SSD. If you want the speediest drive available for
your notebook without sacrificing capacity or spending a small fortune, the
Momentus XT is really the only choice. Just keep in mind you may experience
a small reduction in battery life in compensation.
Many thanks to Seagate
and Momentus XT sample.
The Seagate Momentus XT is Recommended by SPCR.
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SPCR Articles of Related Interest:
SPCR's Hard Drive Testing
SPCR's Recommended Hard Drives
Samsung 2TB EcoGreen
F3 Hard Drive
Digital Green 1.5TB vs. Seagate 7200.12 500GB
500GB notebook drives: Seagate 7200.4 & Hitachi 5K500.B
Seagate Hard Drives: Barracuda LP, Pipeline HD .2
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this article in the SPCR Forums
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