Seagate Momentus 7200.2 160GB 2.5" hard drive

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November 12, 2007 by Devon Cooke

Product
Seagate Momentus 7200.2 ST9160823ASG
160GB, 7,200 RPM Notebook Hard Drive
Manufacturer
Market Price
US$150~190

Although 7,200 RPM notebook drives have been around for a couple of years, they are still very much a specialty item found mainly in high performance desktop-replacement notebooks. They are priced significantly higher than regular notebook drives, and not all manufacturers have products in this category.

Seagate is now on their second generation of 7,200 notebook drives, the Momentus 7200.2, which brings a higher 200 GB capacity to the table thanks to perpendicular recording. At the time of its release, it was widely reviewed as the fastest notebook drive in existence, but Hitachi's recently released Travelstar 7K200 may have stolen the performance crown. It also debuts a fall detection technology to improve shock resilience by unloading the read / write heads when a fall is detected. This feature is optional, available only on the 200, 160 and 80 GB models with a "G" suffix on their model number. The G stands for "G-Force Protection". (No word on whether the technology will also protect the drive from nVidia's line of GeForce graphics cards.) Fujitsu also introduced 7,200 RPM notebook drives in two product lines earlier this year, including one that features perpendicular recording and tops out at 160GB.

We gave the original Momentus 7200.1 a decidedly mixed review. Along with desktop-class performance came desktop-class noise that negated the main advantage of using a notebook drive in a full-sized setup: Low noise. This didn't have to be the case — Hitachi's E7K100 was much quieter at the same spindle speed — so we have hopes that the 7200.2 may be an improvement.

Seagate Momentus 7200.2 ST9160823ASG (from Seagate's web site)
FEATURE & BRIEF COMMENT
8-MB cache buffer Appropriate for the capacity. 16MB is available on the 200 GB version.
SATA 3.0Gb/s interface The highest SATA bus speed currently available.
Highest available laptop hard drive performance for maximum productivity ...so long as you're willing to take Seagate's word for it.
Superb reliability G-Force Protection should help in this regard.
Rugged mobility What does this mean?
Whisper-quiet operation Better than the Momentus 7200.1?
Low power consumption A standard claim for notebook drives; the 7200.1 was exceptionally power-hungry.
5-year warranty Standard for Seagate.

Perpendicular recording is old news now, but it's probably the biggest reason for the new model designation of the 7200.2. Thanks to this, Seagate was able to push the maximum capacity of the line to 200 GB (our sample has 160 GB). Along with Hitachi's 7K200 series, this is the largest 7,200 RPM notebook drive available, but it's quite far off the largest 5,400 RPM drives from Western Digital and Toshiba, which are currently at 320 GB.

The other big addition is the G-Force Protection, which embeds an accelerometer in the drive that senses when the drive is dropped. Assuming there is enough fall time (approximately 140 ms based on Seagate's 8 inch minimum fall distance), the drive will park the heads to prevent the head crash that would otherwise occur on impact.


The jumper on the right sets the interface to 1.5 Gbps speed for better compatibility.

SPECIFICATIONS

The specifications below are specific to model that we examined. Capacity, cache size, platter number, interface, and even performance vary from model to model even within a single product line. Acoustics and power dissipation also vary depending on the number of platters in the drive; smaller capacity drives tend to have fewer platters, and tend to produce less noise and use less power.

Specifications: Momentus 7200.2 vs 7200.1
(from Seagate data sheets)
Model
Momentus 7200.2
Momentus 7200.1
Capacity
160 GB
100 GB
Cache
8 MB
8 MB
Disks / Heads
2 / 4
2/4
Interface
SATA 3Gb/s or 1.5Gb/s with NCQ
SATA 1.5 Gb/s
Spindle Rotation Speed
7,200 RPM
7,200 RPM
Latency
4.17 ms
4.2 ms
Average Seek
11 ms
10.5 ms
Sustained Internal Transfer Rate
59.0 MB/s
45.8 MB / second
Weight
115 g
115 g
Operating Temperature
0 - 60°C
5 - 55°C
Power Requirements:
Idle / Seek
0.8 / 2.3 W
0.95 / 2.6 W
Acoustics: Idle / Seek
2.5 / 2.9 Bel
2.5 / 2.9 Bels

 

Compared to the Momentus 7200.1, the specifications show a massive boost in sustained transfer rate, and a slight increase in average seek time, though the latter might be chalked up to rounding difference. The 7200.2 also updates the interface to full 3.0 GB/s speed and adds NCQ to the feature list. Best of all, the rated power consumption is significantly lower — we hope that we see a similar drop in our measured results. On paper, it's certainly one of the speediest notebook drives out there, though it falls into the middle of the pack when full-sized desktop drives are thrown into the mix.



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