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Boot duration
Before timing a couple of real-world applications, we first have to load the OS. We can measure how long that takes by checking the Windows 7 boot duration using the operating system's performance-monitoring tools. This is actually the first time we're booting Windows 7 off each drive; up until this point, our testing has been hosted by an OS housed on a separate system drive.

Even with our test system running off a disk image rather than a fresh install, the Momentus XT 750GB had no problem figuring out how to speed up the Windows 7 boot process. The drive's first boot took nearly 15 seconds, but five of those seconds had been shaved off by the third iteration. We saw a similar improvement in boot times with the 500GB hybrid, which is still quite a bit slower overall. The old hybrid is quicker to load the OS than the Scorpio Black, though.

Impressively, the 750GB XT's boot time brings it to within just two seconds of the fastest SSD. Let's see if the hybrid can stay close when loading game levels.

Level load times
Modern games lack built-in timing tests to measure level loads, so we busted out a stopwatch with a couple of reasonably recent titles.

Adaptive Memory worked its magic in Duke Nukem Forever, but it didn't have much of an impact in Portal 2. The latter loaded a second or two faster on the hybrids after the first run, while Duke load times were cut by 5-8 seconds.

Even without its flash cache hastening Portal 2 load times, Seagate's latest hybrid is still faster than the Scorpio Black. As one might expect, the XT is more competitive with the solid-state field in Duke Nukem.