Who hasn’t sat and waited for the hard drive in their MacBook Pro to load an application or file, and wished for a way to cut a few precious seconds off of the wait? The Seagate Momentus XT 500GB Hard Drive could be the solution you’ve been longing for. Seagate claims that it delivers an 80 percent faster performance than traditional 7200RPM hard drives.
I have an early 2011 MacBook Pro, and its 500GB 5400 RPM hard drive, while snappy when I first took it out of the box, began to bog down as it was loaded with applications and user files. Boot times of over 3 minutes weren’t unusual. Firefox could take up to 20 seconds to load. Microsoft Word 2008 would take up to a full minute of loading before I could begin to edit a document.
Enter the Seagate Momentus XT 500GB Hybrid Hard Drive. With a 7200 RPM drive speed, and 4GB of solid state flash storage, this seemed like the answer I’d been looking for. At first glance the 4GB flash storage seemed small considering the 500GB hard drive it would be working with. I read more about the feature and discovered the drive uses what Seagate calls “Adaptive Memory Technology”. This technology watches how you use the drive, which files and applications you load most, and then stores these files and apps in the solid state flash storage to be loaded from there when required. This in theory speeds up loading times.
Installation was a breeze. I installed the drive in about 10 minutes. Installation can differ according to the model and manufacture date of your MacBook Pro, so please check Apple’s website for information.
Upon first turning on the MacBook Pro, I noticed no immediate decrease in boot up time. The initial boot still took just under 3 minutes. I then did a shutdown, and turned the unit on once more. This time boot up time was under 2 minutes. Subsequent reboots brought the time down to right at 1 minute, where it remains.
I then tested loading times of my most used applications. The apps I use most are Firefox, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Microsoft Word. Results are in the list below. All times are with extensions and add-ins turned on, and reflect how long it took before a file or website loaded into the application.
- Firefox – Before: 20-30 seconds. After: 1-3 seconds.
- Dreamweaver – Before: 25 seconds. After: 5-8 seconds.
- Fireworks – Before: 30 seconds. After: 10 seconds.
- Microsoft Word – Before: 23 seconds. After: 5 seconds.
Load times trimmed by seconds may not seem like a lot, but considering how many times I load various applications and files each day, it really starts to add up.
Verdict: I consider my purchase of the Momentus XT to be a worthwhile investment, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a way to speed up their MacBook Pro.
Rating: 4.5/5 [rating:4.5]
- Faster loading times for applications and user files.
- Better performance then normal 5400 and 7200 RPM drives.
- The drive is quiet, no noticed increase in drive noise over the original drive.
- Price: While this drive doesn’t have the performance of a full SSD drive, the price is considerably lower.
- Capacity: The drive capacity of 500GB is identical to the stock drive I replaced. A larger capacity model would be nice.
- Instructions supplied with the drive are sparse, but this shouldn’t be an issue if you’ve ever replaced a hard drive.