Spinning fantastic!

June 30th, 2010 in .News & Events
Suds McSoapdish
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You’ve been hearing about solid state storage, but the technology still hasn’t made significant inroads into our daily lives. Possibly you’re even wondering what solid state storage is? Simple, it’s very similar to RAM in that storage takes place on chips rather than a spinning disc. There’s no spindle, arm or any mechanical part involved in reading data off a solid state drive — the computer can access all the storage available pretty much at once. This means solid state drives (SSDs) are much, much faster than traditional hard drives, where the PC has to ask the spindle to start moving, then wait even longer for the read to get to the main memory and CPU, and so on.

Solid state drives provide much faster access to data, and they’re also more reliable — just like RAM, once more. No moving parts means infinitely reduced wear and tear, plus solid components can stand up to heat, static and shocks much more readily than multi-part assemblies such as a traditional hard drive.

Of course, solid state drives for these reasons cost exponentially more than traditional hard drives. Typically, you can only get around 16GB of SSD storage for the price of a 500GB traditional hard drive solution. This renders SSDs far beyond the reach of most consumers.

As is the habit of the PC industry, measures have evolved to somewhat mitigate this huge chasm. These are known as hybrid storage solutions, combining the benefits of SSD and normal HDD — the speed on one hand, the generous storage capacity and affordable price on the other. One such solution is Seagate’s Momentus XT, which takes a modest amount of SSD and embeds it into a regular hard drive. Coupled with adaptive memory technology, the embedded fast SSD takes care of the mundane and predictable storage-related tasks users undertake, while the traditional hard drive component handles more dedicated duties. By speeding up regular activities such as boot up and procedural reads, the hybrid solution, officially clocked at 7,200rpm, really behaves more like a 10,000rpm drive, which is really, really fast.

Tests have shown hybrid drives to cut down boot times, speed up loading in games, and pretty much expedite every frequently executed task related to the hard drive. Of course, they cost more than strictly traditional hard drives, but the performance is 30-40 percent faster, so that’s your trade off right there.

The Seagate Momentus XT comes in 250GB, 320GB and 500GB versions as a 2.5” SATA drive, so it’s intended for use with laptops. One machine to recently include it is the delicious Republic of Gamers G73 Hybrid, a variant of the successful G73 gaming laptop range.

Make sure to ask for it by name at your favourite retailer, because only the G73 Hybrid ships with Momentus XT.

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