When we think storage, we usually think in one of two directions. Either we think of the traditional mechanical hard disk drives with large capacities for a low-cost or solid state drives with the higher speeds but smaller capacity. There is a third group of drives that shouldn’t be forgotten in all of this and it is placed right in between the HDD and SSDs, taking a little of both worlds in order to create a hybrid drive. Today I’m taking the look at just such a drive, the Seagate Solid State Hybrid Drive (SSHD) with 2 TB capacity.
Solid State Hybrid Drives deliver speed and capacity for gaming and high-performance desktop applications in an intelligent way, by combining a small amount of NAND flash to keep the hot files with a large portion of mechanical storage for everything else. That is also where the simple term Hybrid Drive comes from. The Seagate SSHD is able to boot Windows 8 in less than 10 seconds and perform up to five times better than a 7200 RPM desktop hard drive, measure in PCMark Vantage. It can also improve the overall system responsiveness by 30% over a traditional hard disk drive. It is a drive that will give you the best of both worlds.
The smart algorithm used is Seagate’s Adaptive Memory technology that effectively identifies the most frequently used data and stores it in the NAND flash. The self-learning software algorithms make laptop hardware, firmware, and high-speed NAND flash work together to create a perfect balance. The software technology monitors data usage dynamically and determines what data should be copied to the flash. The result, you get boot times that are greatly increased and very close to SSD levels. The same goes for your frequent used application loading times and overall system responsiveness.
The Seagate SSHD 2TB has 8GB MLC NAND for the intelligent caching mechanism and 64MB DRAM Cache for the normal HDD part. The drive has a spindle speed of 7200RPM and an average seek time of less than 9.5ms. The drive is composed of 4 heads and 2 disks with a load/unload cycle rating of 300,000. With a power consumption of 6.7W during typical operation and 0.75W in sleep and standby modes, it is also an efficient drive.
The great thing with an SSHD drive is that you don’t need any extra configurations, software, or setups. You just plug it in like any other drive, connect data and power cables and it is ready to increase your system’s performance over a standard hard disk drive. Just how much of an improvement will be seen in the benchmarks on the following pages
The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers homepage and might be subject to change in possible future revisions of the drives.
Packaging and Accessories
The Seagate SSHD comes as a kit version and as a bare drive like I got for this review. Below is a shot of how the retail package looks and there isn’t much else in the box beside the drive itself. You do get an installation manual in the kit version, but it is more of a secure sales box for the drives that are sold in the retail market.