Seagate has issued a new firmware update for Momentus XT owners, version SD28.
If you are a Momentus XT owner (like myself), you can breath a sigh of relief and update immediately… after backing up, of course. This firmware update will hopefully, hopefully tie up some painful loose ends that have stifled the life (thus far) of this innovative technology.
As the first second generation hybrid hard drive out there, the Momentus XT took the operating system out of the equation of hybrid drives. Whereas the first generation required Windows Vista (and only Windows Vista), these new drives benefit from OS independent caching of files to the solid state portion of the drive. As such, you can even dual-boot Linux, Mac, and Windows on the same drive, and still see a performance benefit.
Unfortunately, the issues I mentioned above are quite severe. The drives from the start have had issues booting on many systems, especially Mac systems where they are in an especially high level of demand. Worse, the firmware updates have made a bad situation worse. Some booted with SD24, and didn’t with the updated SD25.
To make that matter worse, a file corruption bug was found where when dealing with ultra-large (as in, several gigabyte) files, you then lost data completely. This usually could only be recreated using a terminal command to generate a massive file, filling up most of the 250 to 500 GB drive, followed by a very long CRC/MD5 checksumming process.
Seagate did offer up an update, SD26, but only did so under the table, and on newly-shipped drives. Why? Because yet again the update had bootability issues, rending some Macs boot-less immediately after updating, whereas other machines worked just fine. Seagate couldn’t issue the update as-is to users, especially in the wake of other problems, so Seagate casually hoped the issue would blow over in regards to file corruption, waiting for engineers to issue a consolidated fix.
Judging by the version number, it appears another version almost came out, though I doubt we’ll ever know (or really care, for that matter) what held up SD27. Bottom line, SD28 is out, and you should update immediate. Just, backup first. I’ll be backing up tonight, and updating later today. I’ll report back on my experiences, but I encourage everyone to immediately make updating your Momentus XT (again, after backing up) to be a tip-top priority.
After all, it’s firmware, and if you have this drive, odds are you get a small sense of glee from updating your firmware anyways.
Update: You can see my personal debrief of the SD28 update in the following article.