The so-called "game-changing" drive - dubbed the Momentus XT - has been put through the wringer by overclockersclub.com and found to be worthy of game-changing status.
The 2.5in drive, pictured above and coming soon in 250GB, 320GB and 500GB flavours, features traditional hard-disk platters that spin at 7,200rpm, a 32MB onboard cache and a SATA 3Gbps interface. The magic ingredient, however, is the addition of 4GB of quick SLC NAND Flash memory designed to store regularly-accessed files using Seagate's own Adaptive Memory technology.
The combination of HDD and SSD tech is hardware controlled, making the drive compatible with any OS or platform, and with Adaptive Memory monitoring your usage, performance should increase over time - and let's face it, the same can't be said for most SSDs.
Seagate's clearly planning to bridge the gap between high-capacity hard disks and high-performance SSDs, but does the Momentus XT succeed? You'll probably want to await more reviews for a more-rounded opinion, but the folks at overclockersclub.com have clearly been won over.
Describing the drive as "an HDD killer," the early benchmarks put the hybrid storage solution ahead of traditional hard drives in almost every test. Single-drive performance is found to be some way from SSD territory, but the Momentus XT is said to boot a Windows PC some 13 seconds faster than a standard Seagate hard disk.
Put two hybrid Momentus XTs in a RAID configuration, and the gap between HDD and SSD is shortened once again.
It's the pricing that might win you over though, with the 500GB Momentus XT shaping up to reach retail priced at around £120 - that's over £200 less than a 160GB Intel SSD. Intrigued? Hit this link for a bevy of additional pre-release benchmarks.
[Update] Seems the Momentus XT drives are beginning to filter through to the virtual shelves of numerous UK retailers. Morecomputers.com has the 250GB drive (model ST92505610AS) listed at £86.20 whilst the 500GB model (ST95005620AS) is up for £107.36.
[Update #2] Seagate's official product page - complete with detailed Momentus XT specifications - is available at Seagate.com.
[Update #3] And there's a Seagate-provided video demonstration to celebrate the launch. Check it out below.