Users frustrated with Seagate's next-gen hybrid drive

Seagate has resolved some of the problems and is working on others

Users are complaining that Seagate's Momentus XT hybrid drive, which combines solid-state drive (SSD) technology with a traditional hard drive, has a significant defect that causes it to pause frequently, freeze up and beep a lot.

One user said his drive recorded more than 65,000 spin downs/ups in its first month of use.

Much of the problem involves a Momentus XT feature called Advanced Power Management (ADM), which automatically spins down the hard disk to manage power use and increase mechanical lifespan. The feature also allows the SSD to take over read requests and serve up the most frequently used data. Users on Seagate's online forum say the problem is the spin-down feature is too aggressive.

The Momentus XT's relatively low price and promise of high performance has lead to a boom in sales. During a recent earning's call, the company announced it shipped about 350,000 units since it was released last spring .

Darren Dittrich, CEO of Sell.com Marketplace , said he was impressed with the concept of the Seagate drive - a product that cut the high cost of SSD by adding a hard drive for higher capacity. But after purchasing four 500GB Momentus XT drives to use in his personal computers, including a MacBook Pro, Dittrich said the product's shine quickly dulled.

Dittrich said he noticed an inordinate amount of spindowns with the drive. After a couple of weeks, he purchased a SMART (self-monitoring, analysis, and reporting technology) utility to investigate the drive's performance and found the drive clocked in 3,200 spin down/up cycles.

"That can't be good for anything," he said.

Dittrich said he replaced his MacBook's Momentus XT with another he'd purchased and had in production in another computer a month earlier. The SMART software showed it had spun down and up 65,535 times.

The Momentus XT is a 7200-rpm Serial ATA hard disk drive combined with 4GB of SSD capacity and 32MB of DDR3 cache memory. Among its advanced software features is the ability for the drive to track use trends and take advantage of its high-performance flash memory to serve up the most frequently accessed data, while storing the bulk of data on its hard drive component.

Seagate said it released a firmware upgrade for the Momentus XT, version SD24 , to address its aggressive ADM tool. Dittrich said he installed the firmware upgrade, and it addressed the frequency of spin downs, but the drive is still slower than the native hard drive that came with the MacBook and he's still suffering from "odd lagging, and mysterious slowdowns."

"They are temporary and bearable, but very annoying for me, even more difficult for some folks on the forums (video editors, musicians, etc)," he sad. "I only have experience on the Mac side of the house, but there are plenty of PC users out there as well, who are experiencing spin-down/up, drive stalls, and the like."

A Seagate spokesman said the company has been addressing "anomalies reported by customers" through its online forum , as well as through its customer service representatives.

"Most of these anomalies have already been resolved by the current SD24 firmware upgrade located on the Seagate support forum or through our technical support team," the spokesman said. "The few remaining concerns include beeping sounds, no spin down in power saving modes and intermittent hangs, most notably on MacBook Pro systems. Seagate remains focused on resolving these issues as well."

In Computerworld's benchmark tests , the drive surpassed the industry's highest performing hard disk drives, and even beat out some pure SSDs for write performance.

Seagate's first attempt at producing a hybrid drive failed to gain significant sales. The Momentus 5400 PSD, or Power Savings Drive, had a spindle speed of 5,400 rpm and 256MB of NAND flash capacity. Seagate had targeted power savings rather than performance with the drive and found most consumers and system manufacturers were more concerned with seeing boot-up times and application load times increase, not electricity bills shrink and laptop battery times increase.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com .

Read more about storage in Computerworld's Storage Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags storagestorage hardwarehardware systemslaptopsMacintosh

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucas Mearian

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?