Before I made the switch to SSD drives, I was a big fan of Seagate’s Momentus XT Hybrid drives. If you aren’t familiar with this type of drive, it basically uses a 4GB SLC SSD drive as a read/write buffer for a 500 GB 7200 RPM platter. The end result is that the high speed buffer provides a very nice speed boost to the drives performance. The other benefit to using a drive like this is it’s extremely low power usage and it’s 2.5 inch size. The typical power draw for a 3.5 inch drive at ideal is around 7 watts and fully loaded can run upwards of 9 watts. The Momentus XT on the other hand ideals at around 1.5 watts and barely reaches 3.2 watts fully loaded. So not only can you fit a two disk raid array in the space used by a single 3.5 inch drive, but both drives together will use less power then a single 3.5 inch drive as well.

Since I already had a few of the Momentus XT Hybrid drives left over from upgrades, I thought it might be interesting to see how well they perform in raid 0 and how that performance compares with the OCZ Agility 4 512GB drive I just installed. I decided to go with an ICY DOCK dual 2.5″ to 3.5″ ez-fit mounting bracket because the screw-less squeeze adapter makes it easy to move drives around.

No mounting screws are required for the drives with this type of dock. Simply slide the drives in and close the spring loaded door. Installation is just as easy, just squeeze the to tabs and slide in the drive.

Once installed, I setup up the raid controller for a 128k raid 0 configuration and ran a quick test with HDtune. As you Can see the performance maxed out at 161 MB/sec with a very nice average of 144.4 MB/sec over all. Considering some of my other dual 500GB raid 0 drives barely mange 100 MB/sec, I feel like this combo does a very good job. But how does it compare to a stand alone SSD drive like the OCZ Agility 4?

I ran the OCZ Agility 4 through the same test. As you can see the mini Momentus XT raid 0 configuration had a better overall average and max speed then the OCZ drive but looses by a huge margin in Access time (16.6ms v.s. 0.3ms). If you plan to use a configuration like this for editing there shouldn’t be much of a problem considering video files are very large and require a relatively small number of access times. To be fare there are much more accurate ways to test SSD drives as HDtune is general optimized for spinning drives, but this does give you a general idea of what can be achieved with a relatively low price, low power mini raid 0 configuration.

The mini raid 0 array also offers up twice the space at half the price. Each Momentus XT Hybrid drive runs about $75 on amazon, and the ICY DOCK dual 2.5″ bracket will set you back about $10, for a grand total of $160. Compare that to the on sale price of the OCZ Agility 4 ($299) and this starts to look like a good low price alternative. Large file constant reads are what video editing tends to use the most and both SSD’s and Raid 0 configurations excel at these types of operations. If you’re trying to save money for a graphics card or other parts this mini Momentus XT raid 0 configuration is definitely something to consider.

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