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  1. #1
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    TOP STORY

    Hybrid hard drives finally come of age


    By Becky Waring

    Once hailed as the perfect compromise between pricey solid-state drives and cheaper-but-slower platter models, hybrid hard drives quickly became a technological flash in the pan.

    But new models from Seagate have resuscitated the technology — the Momentus XT line offers many of solid state's benefits without the sticker shock.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/10/21/01 (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by revia; 2011-01-19 at 14:55.

  2. #2
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    Arrow

    offers many of solid state's benefits ... without the sticker shock
    difference between hybrid and traditional platter drives ... was a wash ?
    translate please?

  3. #3
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    Unfortunately testing has shown that the performance benefit is, uh, none.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the report. This sounds like an interesting upgrade possibility for my laptop. Although I might wait a little longer until this technology is not quite so bleeding edge.

    "was a wash"
    if you read the whole quote:
    {snip}
    Power consumption is always an important consideration with notebooks. In most tests, such as those in AnandTech.com's May 24 review, the difference between hybrid and traditional platter drives was a wash.
    {/snip}

    You'd realize the performance wash mentioned relates to power consumption, not read/write performance.

    She did write that there were noticeable performance improvement in specific cases. Oh yes, by "wash" they mean that power consumption was roughly equal, the reduced power used to read/write the platters was used by power requirement to keep flash memory powered.

    I imagine the biggest boot performance boost would come if the manufacturer, or better yet MS, was to provide a disk driver that would at least offer the option to load the boot prefetch files into the flash memory during shutdown. Trade a slightly longer shutdown for faster boot.

  5. #5
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    I have used Seagate DiscWizard a good deal, and I believe it will run only if it finds either a Seagate or a Maxtor drive in or attached to your system.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Wadsworth View Post
    I have used Seagate DiscWizard a good deal, and I believe it will run only if it finds either a Seagate or a Maxtor drive in or attached to your system.
    Hi Pat, and welcome to the Lounge!

    Your statement is accurate, and raises a good point. To further clarify, once DiscWizard finds at least one Seagate or Maxtor drive in your computer, or attached as an external drive, DiscWizard will work with any other hard disks in the same machine.
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  7. #7
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    My question is in regards to the Drive Dock section of the article... I very recently bought a SATA drive dock to use instead of my old enclosure to rescue the data from a drive that was installed in a desktop that died. I need to get data off that drive and move it to my laptop - until I get another desktop up and running. I plugged it all in and WinXP recognized the device and even sees the drive, but Explorer won't display it. Device manager shows it attached but as an "unformatted partition", or some similar name. It seems like the only option I have to get Win to see and use the drive is to format, or re-partition / allocate the drive. That will likely erase the data on the drive, right? So, how do I get my data without a desktop to install it into?

    any thoughts?

    thanks.
    -bearsfeat

  8. #8
    New Lounger
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    That Thermaltake BlackX looks suspiciously like the Rosewill RX-DUS100 which is available at Newegg for 1/3 less: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...&Tpk=rx-dus100

    Just an OEM repackage?

    Either way they are great devices, either to use as you describe or as a way to make an easy off site backup (anybody else keep all of their home backups in the same room with the computer? Think what a fire would do!).

  9. #9
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    I have two of the Thermaltake docks with a 1TB drive in each most of the time. I swap out a couple of older 2.5" drives on special occasions. When I upgraded from XP to Win7 I did so on a bare drive. The old XP drive is still preserved and bootable and every once in a while I need to boot to it to access data with an old program, but I can also browse it with the dock. Very handy.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Rollins View Post
    My question is in regards to the Drive Dock section of the article... I very recently bought a SATA drive dock to use instead of my old enclosure to rescue the data from a drive that was installed in a desktop that died. I need to get data off that drive and move it to my laptop - until I get another desktop up and running. I plugged it all in and WinXP recognized the device and even sees the drive, but Explorer won't display it. Device manager shows it attached but as an "unformatted partition", or some similar name. It seems like the only option I have to get Win to see and use the drive is to format, or re-partition / allocate the drive. That will likely erase the data on the drive, right? So, how do I get my data without a desktop to install it into?

    any thoughts?

    thanks.
    Hi Nathan, and welcome to the Lounge! Yes, if you format the drive, all data will be removed.

    I take it that you have removed the hard disk from the dead desktop and placed it into the SATA drive dock. Your laptop does not recognize the external drive in Windows Explorer after connecting it, and Device Manager tells you it is an "unformatted partition"?

    Disconnect the SATA drive dock and reboot the laptop. When it comes back up, hook up your drive dock again, and go to Disk Management to see if the drive shows up and has a drive letter. If it does not have a drive letter, then assign it one to see if that allows Explorer to view the files on the disk.

    Is your laptop plugged in to AC or is it running off battery? Be sure to use AC. Try a different USB port. If you have a powered USB hub available, then use it to plug your drive dock in.
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  11. #11
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    "But how do you attach the bare drive to your computer?"

    For external attachment of drives for cloning or other purposes, I usually use

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16812232002
    VANTEC CB-ISATAU2 SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter
    Broad Compatibility--supports a wide range of SATA/IDE devices including 3.5" and 2.5" SATA and IDE hard drives and 5.25 optical drives such as CD-ROM, DVD-ROM and DVD burners.
    USB 2.0 Compliant--compliant with high-speed USB 2.0 to deliver transfer rates of up to 480Mbps.
    External Power Adapter--quickly add or swap between drives without the hassle of opening your computer chassis to access the PSU.
    $19.99 free shipping

    Easier, faster, more flexible, more compatible than enclosure mounting. Very handy for maintenance and troubleshooting.

  12. #12
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    I do not see the benefit of this "hybrid" Seagate drive! You would still have the shock problems associated with standard 2.5-inch drive in a Netbook or laptop. 4GB of flash is about the same as me sticking a 4GB SD card in my card reader and setting Windows 7 to do ReadyBoost. I have not found any increase at all using it on my hp Pavillion dv4 1485 nr laptop. The drive inside this machine is a 7200 RPM drive and RAM is quite adequate at 4GB, (upgradeable to 6GB). In addition I have had 3 failures of Seagate laptop drives causing me to move over to Western Digital Scorpio drives on my older laptop. This one is still running a Seagate but already had a Seagate drive failure 4-months in on this almost one year old laptop here which was replaced with another under warranty. Had I had a choice, I would have replaced it with a Western Digital. They just have better shock immunity which is an extremely important feature to have in a laptop or notebook computer. As a consequence I run entirely Western Digital drives in my desktop. Seagate is not what it used to be as far as quality is concerned and I've had such bad luck with their product. I am disinclined to use anything of theirs from this point forward. I will not replace any laptop drives until the prices come down for fully solid state drives. Hybrid drives just strike me as not really worth it. I'd rather have a Western Digital Scorpio conventional drive because the drive doesn't self destruct when the computer is accidentally hit a little hard while the drive is running. Right now antishock is more important than anything else especially since my laptop goes everywhere with me.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by max danger View Post
    "But how do you attach the bare drive to your computer?"

    For external attachment of drives for cloning or other purposes, I usually use

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16812232002
    VANTEC CB-ISATAU2 SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter
    Broad Compatibility--supports a wide range of SATA/IDE devices including 3.5" and 2.5" SATA and IDE hard drives and 5.25 optical drives such as CD-ROM, DVD-ROM and DVD burners.
    USB 2.0 Compliant--compliant with high-speed USB 2.0 to deliver transfer rates of up to 480Mbps.
    External Power Adapter--quickly add or swap between drives without the hassle of opening your computer chassis to access the PSU.
    $19.99 free shipping

    I put a Vantec case around a 40GB laptop drive I had laying around do nothing and it was quick to install and works excellently. I use it to hold programs I install on multiple computers and large files. I have another 320GB drive I use for backing up my two computers. The drive mounted in the Vantec case works excellently and can be externally powered, avoiding the double USB cable arrangement most other external hard drives need to function correctly. In addition, I can turn that drive on and off on the front panel which most other external drives do not have. I highly reccomend the Vantec enclosure, it works superbly!

    Easier, faster, more flexible, more compatible than enclosure mounting. Very handy for maintenance and troubleshooting.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Rollins View Post
    My question is in regards to the Drive Dock section of the article... I very recently bought a SATA drive dock to use instead of my old enclosure to rescue the data from a drive that was installed in a desktop that died. I need to get data off that drive and move it to my laptop - until I get another desktop up and running. I plugged it all in and WinXP recognized the device and even sees the drive, but Explorer won't display it. Device manager shows it attached but as an "unformatted partition", or some similar name. It seems like the only option I have to get Win to see and use the drive is to format, or re-partition / allocate the drive. That will likely erase the data on the drive, right? So, how do I get my data without a desktop to install it into?

    any thoughts?

    thanks.
    Nathan, either of three things are happening. 1. The drive is formatted for Apple or Linux. 2. The drive is experiencing voltage drop because a single USB connector is being used instead of the double connector a lot of external drives require. 3. A drive letter designation has not been assigned. Unfortunately this is mandatory in Windows operating systems. Usually this results in Disk Management seeing it as a formatted partition but Windows Explorer will not see it. Note: An external hard drive formatted NTFS with Windows 7 may have troubles in XP because it is using NTFS 6 versus NTFS 5 for XP. I am inclined to think your problem is a lack of sufficient power on the USB port because Disk Management is seeing it as an unformatted partition. If the external drive makes a weird whining noise while running, voltage drop is definitely the problem! Get a double ended cable, plug in to an externally powered USB hub or connect to the eSATA connector which will accept the standard full size USB connector. This should work!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ron007 View Post
    Thanks for the report. This sounds like an interesting upgrade possibility for my laptop. Although I might wait a little longer until this technology is not quite so bleeding edge.

    "was a wash"
    if you read the whole quote:
    {snip}
    Power consumption is always an important consideration with notebooks. In most tests, such as those in AnandTech.com's May 24 review, the difference between hybrid and traditional platter drives was a wash.
    {/snip}

    You'd realize the performance wash mentioned relates to power consumption, not read/write performance.

    She did write that there were noticeable performance improvement in specific cases. Oh yes, by "wash" they mean that power consumption was roughly equal, the reduced power used to read/write the platters was used by power requirement to keep flash memory powered.

    I imagine the biggest boot performance boost would come if the manufacturer, or better yet MS, was to provide a disk driver that would at least offer the option to load the boot prefetch files into the flash memory during shutdown. Trade a slightly longer shutdown for faster boot.
    I thought she was talking about acess time or read/write sppeed being a wash not power consumption. That's at least how I interpreted it.

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