I have a buddy who refuses to sully his system with the dirty temptation of “those shiny new solid state storage drives”. In truth he can’t figure out the best use scenario for one he could actually afford–not to mention the drives’ sobering storage limitations. This is an idea shared by many system builders. SSD storage solutions are the blazing fast “hare” to the lumbering tortoise speeds of traditional platter drives. Yet they’re incredibly expensive (well beyond a $1/GB) and SATA versions max out at a paltry 500GB.
Enter Seagate! They’ve mixed two great tastes that taste great together. A new line of Solid State Hybrid Drives (OSX/Windows/Linux) combine enhanced speed over traditional 5400rpm platter drives with deeper storage capacity than some of the largest garden variety solid state drives. This is achieved with the company’s patented Adaptive Memory technology working in tandem with a familiar platter system. Adaptive Memory determines frequently used files and data and stores them in a speedy and spacious 8GB NAND flash memory. A standard 64MB cache is also on the drive. Adaptive Memory’s performance boost is most noticeable during boot up. Here your system will enjoy near-SSD boot up times. Yet the flash memory is adaptive so over time your most frequented data should be more swiftly accessed in other scenarios.
Today we’re looking at the Seagate SSHD Thin Gen3 7mm 500gb internal drive. Seagate pitched us their bare package. The drive shipped completely bare bones without drivers or utilities. No worries. We quickly formatted the drive and it was ready for use. A drive this thin with its purported speed seemed like an ideal upgrade candidate for our recently reviewed Sapphire EDGE VS8 mini PC–a great system hampered by a lazy 5400rpm HDD. But these super thin 7mm SSHD are also perfect for laptops and their thinner Ultrabook cousins.
Using a USB 3.0 Micro-B-to-USB 3.0 standard-A (Blue USB) cable and a micro-B-to-SATA adapter, I plugged the Seagate SSHD into the EDGE VS8 mini PC as a USB storage drive. This allowed me to use our Acronis HDD utilities to clone the default HDD on the VS8 to the Seagate SSHD operating via a USB 3.0 port. I did it this way so users with limited space for an additional drive could see how to bypass these constraints. Then I popped open the Sapphire mini PC and swapped in the new cloned drive, so it would run as a true SATA 6G/s drive.
This is an outstanding storage solution in general and a great alternative to SSDs in both stature and performance. Comparing it to a traditional SSD is ambitious to say the least. But it does feel like the platter-less speed demons when booting to your OS. With Windows 7 Ultimate, you’re at the desktop in 15 seconds flat. That’s what we’re getting with the OCZ Vector 256gb SSD–one of the fastest SSDs on the market. Moreover the 7200rpm Western Digital Black 4TB we reviewed, boots to Win 7 in a sluggish 35 seconds. The Seagate Barracuda 3TB is a bit quicker at 20 seconds. However, sequential read/write speeds on the Seagate SSHD Thin fall below these platter drives. Those being 150mb/s for the WDC and 180mb/s for Seagate .
ATTO Bench reveals sequential read/write speed can hit 115MB/s and 111MB/s. That’s not surprising with a 5400rpm drive vs. those gnarly 7200rpm big boys. Yet these results do surpass Seagate’s own estimated data throughput of 100MB/s. Additionally, Seagate’s Adaptive Memory tech is not at work to speed things up.
In our real world test we moved a 2.74GB bundle of random files from a USB 3.0 to the Seagate HD in 46 seconds. This is significantly slower than the Seagate 3TB, which shuffled those files in a mere 20 sec. However once they were on the drive and cached, moving them anywhere else on the SSHD took less than a :01.
The Seagate SSHD Thin Gen3 7mm 500gb internal drive is great. It’s ready to go to work in the thinnest of environment with much enhanced speed over a traditional 5400rpm drive and boot-up speeds similar to a SSHD. General transfer rates topped out just above 100MB/s. Yet things are much speedier when migrating cached and more frequently used content.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for near-SSD speeds in a deliciously affordable price point, then look no further. At its fastest this thing flies. While at its slowest it still can outperform traditional drives in it’s class.
· Supercharges boot times
· Adaptive Memory tech is handy and smart
· near-SSD speeds
· Fabulously priced
· 5400rpm feels like such at times
· No software bundle
The Seagate SSHD Thin Gen3 7mm 500gb internal drive is available at Amazon for $83.57.
Shawn loves gadgets, literature, history and games. For 10yrs+ he's straddled both the comic book & video game industries, as a writer, editor, marketing officer & producer. Shawn got his start in tech & games as an editor & Hardware Director for GameRevolution.com. More notable accomplishments include Executive Producer on mobile games Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved & The Shroud.