The Seagate Laptop Thin SSHD 500 GB hard disk drive is part of the third generation of 2.5” hybrid drives that combine a hard disk drive and flash memory to act as a non-volatile cache to store the user’s most frequently accessed data. Let’s test it!

There are, to date, four models in the Seagate SSHD family, which replaces the Momentus XT family. Three of them (500 GB, 750 GB, and 1 TB models) are 0.37” (9.5 mm) thick, while the “Laptop Thin SSHD”, model ST500LM000, that we are testing is only 0.275” (7.0 mm) thick, which is a standard height for netbooks, ultra-slim laptops, and ultrabooks.

A hybrid disk drive is actually a hard disk drive with a built-in non-volatile cache. The idea is the same as the Intel Smart Response Technology: to use a flash memory to cache the most frequently accessed data.

The Laptop Thin SSHD is a 500 GB, 5,400 rpm hard disk, with 8 GB of MLC flash memory as its “SSD portion.” The drive uses an adaptative algorithm to “learn” the most accessed files and write them in the flash memory, so the true speed gain will be noticeable only after a few times of accessing the file. The main benefit is, of course, the reduction of the operating system boot time, since the files needed at the boot initiation will be the most likely to be cached, as well as frequently launched programs.

Figures 1 and 2 present the Seagate Laptop Thin SSHD 500 GB hard disk drive.

Seagate Laptop Thin SSHD 500 GBFigure 1: Laptop Thin SSHD 500 GB (top)

Seagate Laptop Thin SSHD 500 GBFigure 2: Laptop Thin SSHD 500 GB (bottom)

In Figure 3, you can compare the thickness of the Laptop Thin SSHD 500 GB (at the left) to a “regular” 2.5” unit.

Samsung Laptop Thin SSHD 500 GBFigure 3: Thickness comparison


Rafael Otto Coelho is a physicist with a master’s degree in Education, and is a college professor in Brazil.