My new Seagate Momentus XT hard drive turned up today! I bought it to breath new life into my old Toshiba laptop, and so far the signs are good. The Momentus XT is a standard 320GB 7,200 rpm disk, but it has an additional 4GB cache that remembers the files you use the most. The idea is that commonly used files are accessed on the flash memory, massively improving performance over the spindle element of the disk.
I don’t have any specific benchmarks, but my Ubuntu install seems to boot a little quicker. The real noticeable performance is the speed in which the desktop becomes stable and disk access stops. This may because BIOS etc, keep the boot at a consistent time, but once Ubuntu begins to load it really is faster.
My next test will be starting disk intensive applications such as Eclipse to check the boot times of these. This will be the real test and will hopefully help me decide if the invesment was really worth it. The only downside to installing this disk is that it is a tiny bit noisier, and some users have reported errors with power saving. There are also reported issues when running VMs. Apparently the Hypervisor will report corrupt data on some occassions. Fortunately these errors are most common on Mac and PC, so hopefully my resilient Ubuntu install will shrug any potential problems off.
It looks as though there’s not much else I can do to help my old Tosh fight off the years. The next upgrade will be a new box I think, maybe one of these…