Seagate is known for its hybrid laptop drives which basically adds in a little flash storage to traditional spinning hard drives to give you the best of both worlds – speed as well as capacity. We had reviewed the Seagate Laptop Thin 500GB SSHD and were quite impressed with its value proposition. This generation, Seagate has decided to put the flash storage on desktop hard drives as well. Let's see how this works out.
Seagate Desktop SSHD is a 2TB drive with an 8 GB NAND flash component
Seagate 2TB SSHD or the exact model number – ST2000DX001, is a 2TB desktop drive spinning at 7200 RPM along with 8GB of Toshiba MLC NAND flash memory. The flash memory caches your most frequently used programs and in return, improves the access time. This desktop SSHD series comprises of three drives with capacities ranging from 1TB to 4TB. Each of them has an 8GB MLC NAND flash component. The 2TB SSHD has a two-platter design and 64MB of cache memory.
Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K
Motherboard: ASRock Z87M Extreme4
RAM: 2 x 4GB GSkill RipjawsX
OS Drive: Intel SSD, 80GB
Source Drive: Corsair Neutron GTX, 240GB SSD
PSU: Cooler Master 800W Silent Pro Gold
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
W've tried to use a healthy number of synthetic as well as real-world tests to give a better idea of the performance. With hard drive tests, no two runs of the same test will give you exactly the same score, so we run three instances of the same test and then average out the scores to be on the safer side.
ATTO Benchmark gave a sequential read score of 163.01 MB/s and write speed of 166.73 MB/s. Crystal Disk Mark gave scores as given below.
Crystal Disk Mark 3 score
For the real-life transfer speeds, we transferred a 10GB single file and an 10GB assorted file from the source Corsair Neutron GTX SSD to the Seagate 2TB SSHD. After each transfer operation we restart the system in order to clear cache.
As seen from the chart above, it gives over 150 MB/s in sequential file transfer tests, a feat that is only achieved by the the WD Velociraptor which has 10,000 RPM rotational speed. The WD Black 4TB was the next closest to the Seagate 2TB SSHD. Even in the Assorted file transfer tests, the Seagate 2TB SSHD is a lot faster than the WD Black 4TB as well as WD Caviar Black 2TB drives.
Speedy file transfers is just one part of the story. The more interesting bit lies in the drive's access times, thanks to the 8GB NAND component. We installed Windows 7 Ultimate on the Seagate 2TB SSHD and the Adobe CS6 suite as well. Using Boot Racer, we noted down the time it took for the system to boot up. On the first boot, the Seagate SSHD took 26 secs, 2nd boot took 19.17 secs and it settled down on the 4th boot to 16.5 secs. We got an improvement in boot up times by almost 10 secs which is impressive. Even Photoshop CS6 took 9.23 secs to start on the first run, but by the time we opened it for the fourth time, the boot time was down to 2.6 secs. The NAND flash storage caches your most frequently used applications so the next time you start them, it will access the startup files from the NAND cache instead. You still do not have any access to manipulate the algorithms though.
Verdict and Price in India
The Seagate 2TB SSHD is priced at Rs 9,600, which offers an impressive cost-per-GB of Rs 5.15. You even get a mix of both capacity and speed and is ideal for those who want the best of both worlds. If you are on a tight budget and cannot afford an SSD + HDD combination, Seagate’s 2TB SSHD is an ideal solution. You can go for the lower specced 1TB variant as well if you still want to save more money.
If you use a lot of heavy applications and feel that the 8GB cache memory is little, then the other alternative is to go for a regular Seagate 2TB drive which comes for around Rs 6,200 and pair it with a dedicated cache drive such as the 32GB SanDisk ReadyCache SSD which retails for around Rs 2,500. While the latter may seem like a cheaper alternative (and it is to some extent), Seagate's offering already comes with everything pre-configured and works out-of-the-box, saving you the hassle of setting up an extra drive.
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