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7.4k RPM HDD, Momentus XT 500 GB or true 60-90 GB SSD?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I want to make a cheap yet worthwile upgrade to my laptop, which is currently riding an old Samsung HM160HI. I'm thinking to change to a worthwhile HDD which i can later swap to a new laptop later this year (hope Trinity turns out to be better than Llano) and i have been checking some prices. I know my current laptop won't be lightning fast with one (i'm amazed how fast can it game and load even with a 5.4k RPM HDD) nor i really need it to be lightning fast, but a 5.4k RPM HDD simply isn't cutting it anymore.

My budget is $160 max, shipping included, and unless it has instant rebates, don't count them as i'll be shipping outside US and rebates may not apply. Space, as long as it has over 90 GB i can manage. I can live with under 60 GB on a desktop since i offload documents and such to a secondary HDD, but for my laptop with everything installed i need at least 80 GB (my current setup has 91 GB used, but if i delete some videos i've temporally stored on it i'm using roughly 77 GB). but more room would mean carrying less flash drives, and maybe installing more programs/games should the need arise smile.gif

My main options are a regular 7.2k RPM HDD like the 500 GB WD5000BPKT for $147, a 500 GB 500 GB Momentus XT for $157, a 120 GB OCZ Agility 3 for $159, and lastly a 90 GB OCZ Vertex 3 for $140.

Should i go full-SSD, get the middle-ground or stick with regular HDD's? While i do not mind not having the fastest, i do care a lot about reliability (money does not grow on trees, and RMA's are next to impossible).

Which one should i get?
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post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Starbomba View Post

I want to make a cheap yet worthwile upgrade to my laptop.

Since you said reliability is a priority for you, we can almost completely rule out Vertex and Agility. In general, I feel like the tech community is still very concern about the reliability of SSD, and sandforce-controller drives are the worst offender in this area.

I personally don't think that getting an ssd now for this laptop and keep using for your next build is a good idea. SSD is still rapidly improving its technologies and prices will continue to drop. By next year, SSD would've matured much more again. Get the SSD when you really want it and are comfortable with the $/GB.

Choosing between a seagate hybrid drive or getting a 5.4k rpm drive, I can see a lot of benefit getting that hybrid drive. 10 more dollars seems to buy you A LOT of speed compared to conventional hard drive. Take a look at this.

To me, there is no competition between conventional drive vs hybrid drive. Hybrid drive wins HANDS DOWN.

Hybrid drive if you can wait for next gen of ssd or at least until price get driven down even more. SSD if you really can't wait. thumb.gif
Have fun biggrin.gif
P.S. In case you get tax in CA or something, use google to check the cheapest price(Amazon or other places).
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post #3 of 12
The 500GB Momentus XT was on sale for $99.99 + FS recently.

At prices like that, it's an obvious choice. But 50% more expensive, I'm not sure which one I'd go for...

Probably none of the above. I'd opt for a 64GB Crucial M4. smile.gif
     
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post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kramy View Post

The 500GB Momentus XT was on sale for $99.99 + FS recently.
At prices like that, it's an obvious choice. But 50% more expensive, I'm not sure which one I'd go for...
Probably none of the above. I'd opt for a 64GB Crucial M4. smile.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by flexium View Post

Since you said reliability is a priority for you, we can almost completely rule out Vertex and Agility. In general, I feel like the tech community is still very concern about the reliability of SSD, and sandforce-controller drives are the worst offender in this area.
I personally don't think that getting an ssd now for this laptop and keep using for your next build is a good idea. SSD is still rapidly improving its technologies and prices will continue to drop. By next year, SSD would've matured much more again. Get the SSD when you really want it and are comfortable with the $/GB.
Choosing between a seagate hybrid drive or getting a 5.4k rpm drive, I can see a lot of benefit getting that hybrid drive. 10 more dollars seems to buy you A LOT of speed compared to conventional hard drive. Take a look at this.
To me, there is no competition between conventional drive vs hybrid drive. Hybrid drive wins HANDS DOWN.
Hybrid drive if you can wait for next gen of ssd or at least until price get driven down even more. SSD if you really can't wait. thumb.gif
Have fun biggrin.gif
P.S. In case you get tax in CA or something, use google to check the cheapest price(Amazon or other places).
Well, as i don't care much about speed, i could even go lower into SATA 2 SSD's and get a more stable Sandforce controller, or other SSD. I could actually look for some bang-for-buck options, and as long as the performance is decent enough, i'm willing to pay $1.25 per GB on a reliable SSD. Also, as i will jump into an SSD for my sig rig real soon (a Samsung 830 128 GB, by february 16th or so) i plan to get my laptop's new HDD along with it.

I am doubting tho which SATA II SSD is reliable and cheap enough, if to get rid of HDD's altogether or just go to the middle ground with the momentus XT (though i have not heard a lot of positive feedback about it.)

I plan to buy my new laptop around may-june, for college on june-july, but i do need some time to manage and get used to fit all my data in such a tiny space (took me a bit over a year to fit a boot disk to 160 GB, and now i gotta fit under 90-120 GB)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kramy View Post

The 500GB Momentus XT was on sale for $99.99 + FS recently.
At prices like that, it's an obvious choice. But 50% more expensive, I'm not sure which one I'd go for...
Probably none of the above. I'd opt for a 64GB Crucial M4. smile.gif

Thing is, i have deleted all surplus files, and my laptop HDD is 69 GB big, and even without music it's 67 GB. As i have to handle some pretty large programs (.NET, SQL, a linux and win XP VM's) and just a couple games (Portal 2 and SCII, the only ones i do refuse to get rid of) my HDD room gets eaten quickly. If Crucial or Samsung made 90 GB SSD's i'd go all over them without thinking twice.
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post #5 of 12
Crucial is still your best bet if you want reliability.

But if speed doesn't matter that much, I'd keep an eye out for Momentus XT deals. Who knows - maybe the 750GB Momentus XT will start dropping? It's got twice the SLC cache... at ~$150 it'd be an alright buy. thumb.gif
     
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post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kramy View Post

Crucial is still your best bet if you want reliability.
But if speed doesn't matter that much, I'd keep an eye out for Momentus XT deals. Who knows - maybe the 750GB Momentus XT will start dropping? It's got twice the SLC cache... at ~$150 it'd be an alright buy. thumb.gif

+ 1.

Especially because speed doesn't matter that much. You get SSD - like speed with significantly cheaper than SSD prices. Plus a buttload of space. I haven't heard much horror stories(and because it will be a 2nd gen product) about Momentus XT so it's pretty safe for your data.

Or else you really have to wait for a perfect sales that gives you a cheapish reliable SSD. Momentus XT is really the bang for the buck for your situation.
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post #7 of 12
SSD > hybrid > HDD speed wise, but overall I think the hybrid is a winner. I've actually considered to buy one for a build. Plus it should be a lot more reliable than a ssd while being considerably faster than a regular hdd.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizlake View Post

SSD > hybrid > HDD speed wise, but overall I think the hybrid is a winner. I've actually considered to buy one for a build. Plus it should be a lot more reliable than a ssd while being considerably faster than a regular hdd.
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.
     
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post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kramy View Post

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.

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=128gb&hl=en&safe=active&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1366&bih=677&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=2358587830076998231&sa=X&ei=gsAkT7PVLO7CsQLZvISNAg&ved=0CHgQ8wIwAQ
http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=128gb&hl=en&safe=active&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1366&bih=677&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=13070614338258522318&sa=X&ei=gsAkT7PVLO7CsQLZvISNAg&ved=0CIQBEPMCMAI
http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=128gb&hl=en&safe=active&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1366&bih=677&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=14119555580875372213&sa=X&ei=u8AkT4jSJ5GrsAKA4KGMAg&ved=0CHwQ8wIwATge
http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=corsair+performance+pro&safe=active&um=1&hl=en&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1366&bih=677&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=3149839426849898747&sa=X&ei=w8EkT8OUK-SmsALXu6SMAg&ved=0CGAQ8wIwAQ

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
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Bruce
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post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kramy View Post

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.

Do you have any idea how long it takes to go through the current 3k PE cycles??! I've had my Vertex 3 for ~5 months and have only written 400gb to it (and it's the only drive in that machine!). That means I've went through ~3-4 full Program/Erase cycles. At this rate.. well.. let's just say the NAND will lose their capability to hold a charge LONG before I run out of PE cycles.


(I'm on the rate to 9 a year, so 333 years. ...Yeah. No need to worry about writes to your SSD.)
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