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I am considering upgrading the hard drive of my MacBook to a hybrid drive (a Seagate's Momentus XT). From the reviews I have read it seems that the drives improve boot time and opening apps.

However, these operations strike me as having significantly different access patterns to development; loading requires reading a few files into memory, but development involves reading and writing lots of small files.

Do hybrid drives still provide significant improvements for development? (And is my understanding of the hard drive access patterns accurate?)

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Just FYI, the Momentus XT does not do any caching of writes. I answered a related question with some qualitative experience. Would be interesting to hear other people's experience with respect to development. –  fideli Nov 1 '10 at 18:29

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In principle, it would depend on whether you read the same small files over and over. If so, you'd see a huge benefit.

Also, if your development involves reading and especially repeatedly writing a large database, it might be smart not to store that on the hybrid drive.

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It can't be too much over and over though, because in that case the files would be in the OS's cache. –  gorilla Nov 1 '10 at 18:39
    
Unless the DB is bigger than the cache. My concern above is that the DB might be bigger than the flash component of the hybrid drive. That's why I wrote "large" database. –  CarlF Nov 1 '10 at 19:37
    
I presume you mean the active portion of the DB, rather than the whole DB. –  gorilla Nov 2 '10 at 2:00
    
Depends on how well-written the application is .... –  CarlF Nov 2 '10 at 12:20

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