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Seagate: 1 million hybrid drives shipped

The company has shipped its one millionth solid-state hybrid drive, the Momentus XT, which is also used inside laptops from hardware vendors like Asus, Dell, Alienware, and Sony.

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Seagate announced today that it has sold 1 million units of the Momentus XT, the first and only mass-produced hybrid drive on the market, since the launch of the product in spring 2010.

A hybrid drive is a combination of traditional platter-based storage and solid-state storage in one box. In the case of the Momentus XT, the drive comes in the standard 2.5-inch design (for laptops) and offers 500GB of storage space, of which 4GB is made of solid-state flash memory. The drive also features a built-in algorithm that automatically moves frequently accessed information onto the solid-state part of the drive. Seagate claims this this helps boost the drive's performance up to 50 percent faster than a traditional 5,400rpm laptop hard drive.

The Momentus XT hybrid drive from Seagate. CNET

In CNET's testing, the drive was indeed much faster than traditional laptop drives, especially in terms of boot time and application performance. This is partly because the platter-based part of the drive also spins at the higher 7200rpm speed. The Momentus XT is the first laptop drive that offers performance similar to that of a solid-state drive (SSD), while keeping the advantages of a traditional drive, including capacities and cost.

It's worth noting, however, that though comparatively very fast, the Momentus XT's performance is in no way even close to that of a solid-state drive. However, it's much more affordable, about the same price as regular hard drives. This means, proportionately, the drive offers a much better deal in terms of performance over cost ratio. On top of that, it also offers larger storage space as most solid-state drives are only available at around 256GB or less to remain attainable for general consumers, cost-wise. In fact, some 256GB solid-state drives already cost  more than some budget laptop computers.

While marking the 1 millionth drive shipped milestone, Seagate also announced that the Momentus XT is now adopted and used inside many laptopcomputers from major hardware vendors, including Asus, Dell, Alienware, and Sony.

Owners of existing laptops with a traditional internal hard drive can also get the 500GB Momentus XT for about $100, as a replacement drive at retail stores. Seagate predicts that the drive will be used in roughly 25 percent of new PCs shipped in 2015.

For more information on the drive, check out the CNET's full review of the Momentus XT hybrid drive.