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160GB Seagate Momentus 5400.3 2.5" Hard Drive
Author: Jason Kohrs
Manufacturer: Seagate
Source: Seagate
Purchase: PriceGrabber
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160GB Seagate Momentus 5400.3 2.5
January 30, 2006

Just about two weeks ago Seagate launched their latest hard drives, the Momentus 5400.3 line of perpendicular recording 2.5" drives. covered the launch with some background information on the technology and the product line, and we're back with a review of what is now the industry's highest capacity 2.5" drive.

Seagate has sent over the new flagship in their 2.5" line of drives, the 160GB Momentus 5400.3. Before jumping into the specifics of the drive provided for review, let's take a look at some of the data from the Seagate website, and our coverage of the launch of this new technology.

Key Features of the Momentus 5400.3 Perpendicular Recording Hard Drives:

Increased Capacity - The initial release takes the maximum capacity of a 2.5" drive from 120GB up to 160GB by increasing the areal density from 110 Gbpsi to 132 Gbpsi. 500 Gbpsi is possible, making 500GB 2.5" drives achievable, as well as 2TB 3.5" drives, and even 50GB 1" drives. Basically, we are looking at a four to five fold increase in storage capacity over current longitudinal hard drives.

Shock Tolerance - Current longitudinal 2.5" drives, such as the Seagate Momentus 5400.2, offer a maximum operating shock tolerance of 250Gs. This number may be high compared to desktop drives, but mobile units are more prone to bumping, dropping, or other situations that may put the tolerance to the test. The 5400.3 family of drives offers an industry leading operating shock of 350Gs. A stiffer, lighter suspension and a denser face plate are responsible for this improvement.

Power Consumption - The 5400.3 family of drives consumes roughly 10% less power than equivalent longitudinal drives. This can translate into longer battery lives. Along these same lines, it should be expected that the 5400.3 drives produce less heat, and we will test that in this review.

Fewer Parts - Given the greater areal density, fewer parts are now required to construct a perpendicular drive with the same capacity as a longitudinal drive. For example, a Momentus 5400.2 80GB (longitudinal) drive requires two platters and three heads, while an 80GB 5400.3 perpendicular drive only requires one platter and two heads. Fewer parts should translate into lower costs, but it will most definitely translate into greater reliability.

Reliability - With benefits such as fewer parts, greater shock tolerance, and less heat production it can be seen that this new generation will also offer greater overall reliability. In addition to all of these reliability improvements, Seagate is still going to couple their industry leading 5-year manufacturer's warranty to these drives.

Noise - The Momentus 5400.3 series of drives offers a sound level of 2.4 bels while at idle and 2.9 bels while seeking. As a comparison, the 7200.1 series idles at 2.5 bel, and the threshold of human hearing is 2.6 bels. These drives can be expected to be as quiet as a 4200 RPM drive, and below the threshold of human hearing!

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