info : Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive – is it a good upgrade to your Mac ?

Question :

I’m thinking about upgrading the internal HD of my MacBook Pro. At this moment I have a 2.5″ 250GB HD 5400rpm SATA-1.5GBps, and I would like something that’s preferably both faster and bigger. Is the 500GB Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive my best choice ?

Answer :

The jury’s still out on that one…

Expericences with the Seagate Momentus XT vary, though most bad experiences are from people that have firmware versions older than v24 (the current version is v28).

Let me start out by saying that, when your older MacBook Pro is at least a ‘late 2008’ model (which has a 2.5″ SATA II / SATA-300GBps transfer rate) your options are pretty much these :

1- a regular 2.5″ 500GB 5400rpm SATA II harddisk, will go for about €65 (so about €0,13 per GB)

– This is probably your best choice if low noise level and low(est) price are your main reasons to buy. And it will be slightly speedier than your old one, because this SATA-interface is twice as fast

2- a regular 2.5″ 500GB 7200rpm SATA II harddisk, will cost you about €75 (so about €0,15 per GB)

– This is probably your best choice if you primarily want a low price and secondarily the highest speed. Even though these could be a little noisier than 5400rpm drives, the 7500rpm drives are more interesting if have a more intensive usage, like doing a lot of video editing for instance.

3- a hybrid 2.5″ 500GB 7200rpm + 4GB SSD (Flash-memory) SATA-3GBps like the Seagate Momentus XT will cost you €100 (so about €0,20 per GB)

– This is probably your best choice if you primarily want high speed and secondarily the lowest price. The noise level is about the same as a regular HD, and the speed is notably faster (but still no way near SSD-speeds)

4- a 2.5″ 256GB Solid State Drive (a.k.a. SSD ; Flash-memory only) SATA-6GBps like the Crucial M4 will cost you about €210 (so about  €0,82 per GB)

– These ‘drives’ are way faster than any hard disk, and also completely silent, but they’re completely overpriced compared to regular hard disks, so this is only a good solution if you have money to burn… (mind you, this one doesn’t gain any storage capacity compared to your old HD, and the 6GBps SATA-speed has to be geared down to 3GBps since the ‘late 2008’ MacBook Pros don’t support this latest SATA-speed)

To have an indication of the speed increase I herewith include my test scores, based upon benchmarking results from two different benchmarking program.

The benchmarking softwares I’ve used are iBench and NovaBench. They can be downloaded for FREE here :

(NovaBench can also be downloaded from the Mac App store)

the benchmarking-scores I’ve measured are :

the original version : MacBook Pro 15″ ‘late 2008’ with 4GB RAM and 250GB @4500rpm ; iBench score = 3.31 ; NovaBench score = 346

the same, only with doubled RAM-memory, MacBook Pro 15″ ‘late 2008’ with 8GB RAM and 250GB @4500rpm ; iBench score = 3.37 ; NovaBench score  = 389

the same, but both with doubled RAM and doubled HD-capacity (using a Seagate Momentus XT) ; iBench score = 3.38 ; NovaBench score = 402

so… the Momentus XT is a really good step forward from the old internal hard drive, but it’s speed increase is not dramatic.

NOTE : if you need to upgrade the firmware on a Seagate Momentus XT disk from MacOSX, look here :…t-hybrid-drive/ 

2 thoughts on “info : Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive – is it a good upgrade to your Mac ?

  1. In short, and take into account the short time I have had the new hard drive in use, my cnuclosions are:Heat: I don’t think that there is a noticeable change in the generation of heat, during normal use iStat shows a temperature of 35-40 degree celsius.Noise: The disk might have a vague whistling sound when spinning, but nothing that is at all annoying.Power: My battery is after 2 years only at a health of 50% (iStat), so I don’t think that it can be a measure for power usage.Speed: I think that I gained a bit of speed performance, but the new hard drive is also a 7200prm compared to the original 5400rpm hard drive.

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