Hybrid Hard Drive for Laptop: Worth It?

Is getting a hybrid hard drive for your laptop worth it? Michael Varden writes:

Is a hybrid hard drive a good option in a laptop?

Many companies will let you configure your own specification for notebooks, so if a notebook can hold two hard drives, then one could be a small SSD and a mechanical hard drive as one solution, or a hybrid such as the Seagate Momentus XT. Manufacturers will sing their own praises from the rooftops, but price being equal, what is the best solution for real world usage?

Are Hybrid Hard Drives a Good Option?

Hybrid hard drive for laptop: worth it?

Hybrid hard drives, at the moment, will not beat an SSD on pure read/write and boot speed performance. However, a hybrid hard drive is the best of both worlds. You get the speed of an SSD with the capacity of a regular hard drive. The speed boost may not be noticeable for you, but programs will open more quickly, your boot time will be slightly faster, and everything will feel a little speedier.

I know of many who have the small SSD and mechanical hard drive solution and they are happy with it, but it does mean that you need to remember to clear out the SSD every so often. I would assume that pairing an SSD with a mechanical hard drive may be annoying since you’ll only ever be as quick as your weakest link — in this case, the read/write speeds of the mechanical hard drive — and by that, I mean that if you have any programs on the mechanical hard drive, you’ll get its read/write speed.

I have looked at a lot of reviews of the Seagate Momentus XT and they all seem to be positive. The speed and performance seem to be there and it’s a hybrid hard drive that is decent and can certainly do the job. The only point is that the Seagate Momentus seems like it has to go through a workload once before it’s optimized, whereas an SSD will remain consistent.

The best solution depends on what you need the drive for. If you’re planning on playing and recording video games, then a SSD and a regular HDD would probably suit you better than a hybrid hard drive on pure performance alone. If you just want to speed up your computer, then a hybrid hard drive would probably be the option that would work better for you.

Hope this helps.

Image: SSD/HDD Hybrid + HDD by Yutaka Tsutano via Flickr

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Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.

  • dsm

    What laptops are available with these hybrid drives?