A user of the flash cache-enabled Seagate Momentus XT drive reports a tenfold improvement in PhotoShop application load time and three times faster startup.
It is only anecdotal evidence from one user on his amnesiablog but it is compelling. He has a Windows 7, Core2Duo notebook with 2GB of RAM and replaced the had drive with the Momentus XT and its 4GB of NAND flash cache. Software on the drive populates the cache with the most popular files and applications so that they are accessed faster.
The times, recorded via an Android phone's stopwatch, were 2 minutes for starting up with the old hard drive versus 37 seconds with the Momentus XT. Hibernation time was reduced from 1.5 minutes to 22 secs and resume time decreased from 1 minute 55 secs to 27 secs. PhotoShop startup time went from 45 secs to 4.3 secs, a better than 10X reduction, with Powerpoint doing roughly the same; 20 secs to 2 secs. There was an initial improvement with the XT but it took four startup-shut down cycles for the improvement to each these levels and stabilise.
These are startling improvements and for PC and notebook users frustrated by slow Windows startup, hibernation and application load times the Momentus XT looks like a much cheaper alternative to a solid state drive. There wouldn't be a commensurate improvement in file write times as its read caching that is being offered so Quark users looking to speed up lengthy document saves won't see any change. But Quark itself should load faster.
We will surely see PC and notebook suppliers offering the Momentus XT pre-installed; it will give their systems a startup and application load edge over the hard drive only competition. As experience with the Momentus XT hopefully shows it doesn't lose performance as it ages then there could be a torrent of desktop and notebook owners looking to speed boost their Windows systems with a does of Momentum XT rocket fuel. ®