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Seagate Momentus 40GB (5400RPM)
By CPU-zilla
Category : Storage
Published by Jimmy Tang on Wednesday, 29th October, 2003
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars  


A Momentus Entry

Seagate made waves in the storage industry recently with the introduction of their latest 2.5-inch hard disk drive. Known as the Momentus, the new notebook hard drive is indeed an excuse for a 'momentus' celebration as it has been about five years since they last manufactured drives for the notebook market. However, this time around, it's not just about product diversification, it's also a strategic move to take a large piece of the fast-growing notebook market.

Currently dominated by manfacturers like Hitachi (formerly IBM), Fujitsu and Toshiba, the 2.5-inch hard disk drive market is always on the look-out for better choices and value. Even consumers who buy drives for upgrades from time to time welcomed Seagate's re-entry into this segment. We know that users are always looking for alternatives, as long as there are obvious cost and performance benefits.

The new Seagate Momentus boasts a couple of new technological enhancements which further puts them into the race. Equipped with their SoftSonic fluid dynamic motor and QuietStep ramp load technology, the Momentus boasts of better drive performance and reliability. The disc also spins at 5,400RPM, which is currently the performance-mainstream range of drives available for the notebook industry.

The QuietStep ramp load technology introduced with the Momentus is nothing new as most notebook hard disk drives are already employing similar methods of parking the disk heads. However, what Seagate did was to reduce the load and unload velocities such that the head parking noise would be made less audible to the user. Since drives often go into the idle state, the head parking 'clicks' could be irritating and most of the time, causes the user to have a false sense of insecurity as such foreign noise could also mean that the drive is making its way to the grave.

The back view of the Seagate Momentus.


The drive with the controller PCB removed.


A closer look at the drive's controller PCB.

The Momentus comes in two different sizes, with the largest offered at 40GB and the smallest at 20GB. Both drive capacities will come with varying cache sizes as well, with the higher performance drives sporting a large 8MB cache and the low-cost version equipped with only a standard 2MB cache. In this review, we'll be testing the faster 40GB drive with 8MB cache. The technical specifications of the test unit are listed below:-

Seagate Momentus 40GB Technical Specifications
Model Number ST94811A
Interface Ultra ATA/100
Capacity 40 Gigabytes
Number of Disks 1
Number of Heads 2
Bytes per Sector 512
Average Seek 12 ms
Track-to-Track Seek N. A.
Full Stroke Read Seek N. A.
Average Latency 5.6 ms
Rotational Speed 5,400 RPM
Data Transfer Rate 386Mbits/sec (internal), 100MB/sec (external)
Buffer 8 MB
Power Requirements
  • 0.97W (idle)
  • 2.4W (read & write)
  • Dimensions 9.5mm (H) x 69.85mm (W) x 100.2mm (D)
    Weight 99g


    The Momentus utilized a 64Mb Samsung 7ns SDRAM part.


    The drive label.

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