Originally Posted by Kramy
Yeah, most SSDs use cheaper MLC NAND, which can wear out after a while. It's supposed to last years, but if the wear levelling algorithm has a flaw it may not last as long as you'd hope.
The Momentus XT uses SLC NAND. That's going to last way way waaaay longer.
According to Wikipedia....
Older less dense MLC was rated for about 5-10k erase-rewrite cycles. Intel and Crucial still make NAND rated at that, but a lot of cheaper NAND (ending up in cheaper SSDs, SDHC cards, flash drives, etc.) is only rated for 1-3k erases. SLC is usually rated for between 100,000 to 1,000,000 erases, giving it at least 20-250x the longevity.
The Hybrid drive seems like the winner in this case.
Except it only uses 4gb of slc flash or so. Big MLC ssds may actually sustain a similar number of writes because they have so many more nand chips. But unless you're using it as a heavy duty video editing machine or something, don't worry about SSD wear. The drive will outlive your laptop.
Now, I've used something close to all three of your options: a 7200 RPM 1TB drive in my desktop, and I've gone from a 5400RPM drive to a 500GB Momentus XT in my laptop, then to a 128gb M4.
The transition from the 5k to the Momentus XT in the laptop was pretty dramatic: after just a little time, boot times were essentially cut in half, and program startup time was very fast. You get the general snappiness you feel with SSDs, and you don't get those horrendus loading and lag times you get with a 5k drive. The RPM increase alone was a BIG improvement as far as everything is concerned, but the flash drive makes the biggest difference for the programs you always use. However, keep one thing in mind: the momentus XT is a little 2.5" laptop drive. It uses a fraction of the power of a true 3.5". While Windows does start up faster on the XT compared to my desktop drive, 7200RPM desktop drives are still faster with non cached programs. You have a laptop, so that's irrelevant, but just remember that the XT is closer to a good desktop drive than it is to a SATA III SSD.
Now, the transition from the Momentus XT to the M4 was much less dramatic. Windows still started fast, programs loaded faster but not that much faster. That is, it was less dramatic,... until I started installing and updating stuff. After a long download, I walked away waiting for iTunes and MediaMonkey to install... only to find that both programs installed themself within a matter of minutes. Any install or update is virtually instant on a true SSD. Compared to the XT, and ESPECIALLY compared to the 5K drive, game loading times are shockingly fast or even non existent (my Skyrim playing friends were dumbfounded, as they were used to minute long 360 load times, and saw landscapes load within 5 seconds). My only problem with the m4 is the lack of space: without an external drive, 128gb can start to feel a little cramped once you install lots of stuff.
If you're on a budget and want a solid upgrade with room for your media, get the Momentus XT. It's a fine drive, and I would be perfectly happy with it. If you don't need the space, want some solid reliability and durability, and want to pay for a ton of speed, wait for a price drop on one of these drives.
All of these are non-sandforce drives, so you won't have to worry about BSODs. Plextor, Crucial, Samsung, and Corsair are rock-solid brands. I snagged my 128gb M4 for $179 back in August, and I've seen the M4 and M3S go lower.Edited by brucethemoose - 1/28/12 at 7:57pm