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View Full Version : 5400rpm vs. 7200rpm SATA (MBP)




HecubusPro
Sep 1, 2006, 08:58 PM
I've noticed some differing opinions on the subject of hard drive speed in the Macbook Pro's. I'm going to buy one as soon as the Core 2 Duo's are implemented, which will hopefully be happing in the next few weeks, so I thought I would ask the opinion of as many people as possible. I'm leaning towards the 7200, but not so much that I won't change my mind for good reasoning.

Here's what I've heard/read on these forums...

The speed difference between the 5400 and the 7200 is negligible and barely noticeable at best.

5400 does move slightly slower thereby saving battery power.
Conversely, the 7200 runs faster, getting whatever job it may be doing done faster, thereby saving battery life as well.

What is true here? What other factors should I consider before making my choice?

Thanks for your help.



Sun Baked
Sep 1, 2006, 09:29 PM
Drive size ... the biggest you can get, since a few MB/sec won't be noticed as much as not having enough space left.

Cache size ... the largest cache you can find. If the data you need is in the cache it will transfer at the SATA bus speed. More cache better chance of data in the cache.

Mechanical transfer speed/sustained transfer ... this is the actual speed of the drive when the data isn't in the cache, for notebooks not too big a range.

macenforcer
Sep 1, 2006, 09:35 PM
7200, its way faster. That is what I went with.

freakonguitar
Sep 1, 2006, 10:02 PM
if you don't care too much about a slightly faster speed get a bigger drive : 120gb 5400 instead of 100gb 7200 which are teh same price. I would rather have a larger hard drive at 5400 than a faster smaller one which isn't too noticeably faster. :)

musicalmcs8706
Sep 1, 2006, 10:25 PM
Go with the 120. I have the 100 at 5400 and I haven't noticed any problems. Kinda wished I had gotten the larger drive but oh well.

xfiftyfour
Sep 1, 2006, 10:55 PM
Personally, I opt for space over speed myself. I'd much rather have that extra 20 gigs than a faster rpm drive - especially for the same price. Some tasks will make the faster drive more useful, but for everyday stuff... eh.

Fedge
Sep 1, 2006, 10:59 PM
One thought . . .

Because the 5400 RPM drive rotates less every minute, there is less wear and tear on the drive. Theoretically, this means the the 5400 RPM drive will last longer than the 7200. Also, get the 120GB drive. You can never have to much space, and those extra 20GB are more usefull than a few hundred revolutions per minute.

Mernak
Sep 1, 2006, 11:10 PM
Unless you are doing video/music editing i doubt you would notice the difference. I had a 4200RPM drive at the same time I was using a 7200 and could barely notice a difference for everyday things.

Marioz
Sep 2, 2006, 05:05 AM
You can see some difference moving some Gb files. In other cases you will not notice the best speed. I went to the 160Gb drive on my MBP. It is very fast and it uses less battery than the former 5400 120Gb I had originally.

Pressure
Sep 2, 2006, 05:54 AM
The speed difference between the 5400 and the 7200 is negligible and barely noticeable at best.

5400 does move slightly slower thereby saving battery power.
Conversely, the 7200 runs faster, getting whatever job it may be doing done faster, thereby saving battery life as well.


Excuse me while I try to rid my face of the serious amount of laughter I have to suppress.

The 7200RPM drive will ALWAYS use more power than the 5400RPM drive for simple reasons. Even though the 7200RPM drive loads things faster, it doesn't stop running at 7200RPMs.

I would probably invest in a Perpendicular Recording drive that is 5400RPM (120 or 160GB) that almost matches the speed of the current 7200RPM drives, while using considerably less power.

Jiddick ExRex
Sep 2, 2006, 07:27 AM
Excuse me while I try to rid my face of the serious amount of laughter I have to suppress.

The 7200RPM drive will ALWAYS use more power than the 5400RPM drive for simple reasons. Even though the 7200RPM drive loads things faster, it doesn't stop running at 7200RPMs.

I would probably invest in a Perpendicular Recording drive that is 5400RPM (120 or 160GB) that almost matches the speed of the current 7200RPM drives, while using considerably less power.

I reside in Denmark like you. Where can you get a Perpendicular Recording drive at 2.5"?

Pressure
Sep 2, 2006, 07:54 AM
I reside in Denmark like you. Where can you get a Perpendicular Recording drive at 2.5"?

Currently you can get the Hitachi TravelStar 5K160 160GB drive at either Proshop (http://www.proshop.dk/ShowProduct.aspx?prodid=84789) or Getmore (http://http://www.getmore.dk/templates/imw-product.asp?ProductGuid=HTS541616J9SA00) but even though they both had 20+ unites in stock, they are now all sold.

Should have them back in stock soon though. Other retailers also list them but I haven't checked their status.

DeVizardofOZ
Sep 2, 2006, 08:08 AM
I have been reading a lot about the pros and cons of what drives to get, here and there.

Since I have friends who's APPLE internal HDDs have died on them, I would opt for an internal 100GB 7200 rpm drive, and use a 160+GB HDD to back up my data. So far no one has been able to prove to me, that a 7200 actually uses that much more juice... Since it is faster, it should do the job needed in a shorter timeframe = less energy, or not? It probably comes out about the same when counting watts...

Having said that I would like to ask YOUR opinion on what kind of ext. HDD connection I should use with a MBP. FW800?, USB2?
The 160 Gig Hitachi Travelstar certainly is an interesting alternative, both for internal (provided it fits, and external use.
Thanks for commenting.

tarjan
Sep 2, 2006, 08:59 AM
The speed difference, in a laptop, is generally not very noticable.

7200 rpm has lower latency and CAN have a higher read speed, but that is not always the case due to the information density on the drive. The big benefit of a 7200 comes from running applications like databases or other random access applications. If you are looking at boot speed, loading large images or modifying video then you are looking for the highest throughput, and for that a higher density might actually be faster than just speeding up the drive, without any additional power draw.

Speaking of power, the 7200 takes more energy, though it is a small difference. First, the 7200 rpm drive produces more heat while spinning steady state due to beefier bearings and a motor that can take the punishment. The heat is caused by drag in the system, and cannot be overcome. It does not matter how long it takes to access, as the drive continues to spin for the same amount of time based on how you set your energy saving properties, think about it does the drive stop spinning immediately after accessing some data? Here is the killer though, speeding up and slowing down. Imagine going out on your bicycle, and speed to 15mph, then stop. Then speed to 20mph, then stop. Then speed to 25mph.... It takes vastly more energy to hit 25 than it did to hit 15 or 20. It also takes LONGER to speed up to full speed, which could potentially slow down your overall throughput in a situation where you are not plugged in.

That being said, a 120gb 5400 vs a 120gb 7200 rpm drive where size and disk config is the same will always turn out that the 7200 is "faster" when plugged into a wall. Problem is it is much more complex than that in the drive. How many disks? Density of information? How is the info stored? etc. (and is it a 1:1 RLL or 1:4 mfm :) Or am I kinda setting my age with that comment?)

HecubusPro
Sep 2, 2006, 10:19 AM
Speaking of power, the 7200 takes more energy, though it is a small difference. First, the 7200 rpm drive produces more heat while spinning steady state due to beefier bearings and a motor that can take the punishment. The heat is caused by drag in the system, and cannot be overcome. It does not matter how long it takes to access, as the drive continues to spin for the same amount of time based on how you set your energy saving properties, think about it does the drive stop spinning immediately after accessing some data? Here is the killer though, speeding up and slowing down. Imagine going out on your bicycle, and speed to 15mph, then stop. Then speed to 20mph, then stop. Then speed to 25mph.... It takes vastly more energy to hit 25 than it did to hit 15 or 20. It also takes LONGER to speed up to full speed, which could potentially slow down your overall throughput in a situation where you are not plugged in.

That being said, a 120gb 5400 vs a 120gb 7200 rpm drive where size and disk config is the same will always turn out that the 7200 is "faster" when plugged into a wall. Problem is it is much more complex than that in the drive. How many disks? Density of information? How is the info stored? etc. (and is it a 1:1 RLL or 1:4 mfm :) Or am I kinda setting my age with that comment?)

Wow. That's quite an explanation and an interesting analogy. Very well explained. Thank you.

Having said that I would like to ask YOUR opinion on what kind of ext. HDD connection I should use with a MBP. FW800?, USB2?
The 160 Gig Hitachi Travelstar certainly is an interesting alternative, both for internal (provided it fits, and external use.
Thanks for commenting.

I'm thinking of getting the LaCie 250GB FW800/400 USB2 drive. I'd rather have a drive that takes advantage of my FW800 port for the MBP than a USB2 port.

Excuse me while I try to rid my face of the serious amount of laughter I have to suppress.

I'm just telling you what I've heard others say. Not everyone is an expert like people in Denmark.:p

I would probably invest in a Perpendicular Recording drive that is 5400RPM (120 or 160GB) that almost matches the speed of the current 7200RPM drives, while using considerably less power.

I will look into this. And thanks everyone for your counsel. I really appreciate your thoughts. Even the sarcastic ones. :)

DeVizardofOZ
Sep 3, 2006, 08:46 AM
The speed difference, in a laptop, is generally not very noticable.

7200 rpm has lower latency and CAN have a higher read speed, but that is not always the case due to the information density on the drive. The big benefit of a 7200 comes from running applications like databases or other random access applications. If you are looking at boot speed, loading large images or modifying video then you are looking for the highest throughput, and for that a higher density might actually be faster than just speeding up the drive, without any additional power draw.

Speaking of power, the 7200 takes more energy, though it is a small difference. First, the 7200 rpm drive produces more heat while spinning steady state due to beefier bearings and a motor that can take the punishment. The heat is caused by drag in the system, and cannot be overcome. It does not matter how long it takes to access, as the drive continues to spin for the same amount of time based on how you set your energy saving properties, think about it does the drive stop spinning immediately after accessing some data? Here is the killer though, speeding up and slowing down. Imagine going out on your bicycle, and speed to 15mph, then stop. Then speed to 20mph, then stop. Then speed to 25mph.... It takes vastly more energy to hit 25 than it did to hit 15 or 20. It also takes LONGER to speed up to full speed, which could potentially slow down your overall throughput in a situation where you are not plugged in.

That being said, a 120gb 5400 vs a 120gb 7200 rpm drive where size and disk config is the same will always turn out that the 7200 is "faster" when plugged into a wall. Problem is it is much more complex than that in the drive. How many disks? Density of information? How is the info stored? etc. (and is it a 1:1 RLL or 1:4 mfm :) Or am I kinda setting my age with that comment?)


The last part is something for a pro:p but me only a user;) haha. Thanks anyway for taking your time. Same goes for HECUBUS PRO...

XP Defector
Sep 3, 2006, 08:56 AM
I'm going to buy one of those 160GB Hiatchi SATA's, more speed, bigger capacity and less energy.

Platform
Sep 3, 2006, 09:16 AM
I'm going to buy one of those 160GB Hiatchi SATA's, more speed, bigger capacity and less energy.

This is it ;)

Joko
Mar 31, 2008, 05:40 AM
7200. you won't regret it!

InSaNeCyAnUr
Mar 31, 2008, 07:21 AM
7200. you won't regret it!
The topic is 2 years old:D

super98111
Apr 1, 2008, 04:58 PM
7200, its way faster. That is what I went with.

I have 7200 too. But it really depends on what you need.

gnasher729
Apr 1, 2008, 05:09 PM
I've noticed some differing opinions on the subject of hard drive speed in the Macbook Pro's. I'm going to buy one as soon as the Core 2 Duo's are implemented, which will hopefully be happing in the next few weeks, so I thought I would ask the opinion of as many people as possible. I'm leaning towards the 7200, but not so much that I won't change my mind for good reasoning.

Everything else being equal, a 7200 RPM drive would be 33.33% faster than a 5400 RPM drive. But everything else is not equal. Two other factors are: 1. Data density. Newer, higher capacity drives store more data per track, which means that for every rotation of the drive more data can be read or written. 2. Drives slow down as they get full. The reason is that the tracks on the outside of the drive are longer than the ones near to the centre, and therefore can hold more data at the same density.

So if you find two 200 GB drives, one 7200 and the other 5400, the 7200 will be faster. But if you compare a 200 GB 7200 RPM and a 320 GB 5400 drive, the 320 GB will be overall a bit slower when both are empty, but its speed will go down much less as you fill it with data. And of course there comes the point when your 200 GB drive is full, and the 320 GB still has 120 GB available.

newmakkie
May 10, 2008, 01:31 AM
Hi.

New MacBook Pro user here.

May I ask a stupid question?

I ordered the 180GB 7200rpm HD. But, me being me, I always like to check the specs in the actual machine to make sure it is actually what I ordered.

Dopey, I know.

Where does one find the speed of your HD on the MacBook Pro?

I can find the make/model number of the HD (It's a Hitachi HTS722020K9SA00 Media, and yes, I know I can google it), it's capacity, and all other tech specs on it, but I can not find it's speed listed anywhere.

jjahshik32
May 10, 2008, 01:59 AM
7200rpm hdd is the way to go. :D

alphaod
May 10, 2008, 02:49 AM
Well the 7200RPM also produces more heat which heats up the battery and thereby decreasing capacity. It's a really insignificant difference, but it is there.

alphaod
May 11, 2008, 08:57 AM
Hi.

New MacBook Pro user here.

May I ask a stupid question?

I ordered the 180GB 7200rpm HD. But, me being me, I always like to check the specs in the actual machine to make sure it is actually what I ordered.

Dopey, I know.

Where does one find the speed of your HD on the MacBook Pro?

I can find the make/model number of the HD (It's a Hitachi HTS722020K9SA00 Media, and yes, I know I can google it), it's capacity, and all other tech specs on it, but I can not find it's speed listed anywhere.

I'll start off by pointing out they do not make a 180GB 2.5" HDD, so whatever you ordered, does not exist.

As with the part number you provided it's a Hitachi 200GB 7200RPM 2.5" HDD with 16MB cache.

newmakkie
May 11, 2008, 11:13 PM
OK, I was wrong on the GB, I was going from memory, rather then looking. I ordered it direct from Apple.com.

I pasted my System Profiler specs below.

Why do the specs say it's capacity is 186.31 if it is 200GB?

Is it not taking into account the space OSX is taking up?

Then down lower, it says capacity 185.99, 156.23 remaining. I would have thought that was the difference in full capacity minus what is currently loaded, including OSX.

I'm guessing the difference between the 186.31 and 185.99 is the system BIOS??

I dunno, what am I missing?


Intel ICH8-M AHCI:

Vendor: Intel
Product: ICH8-M AHCI
Speed: 1.5 Gigabit
Description: AHCI Version 1.10 Supported

Hitachi HTS722020K9SA00:

Capacity: 186.31 GB
Model: Hitachi HTS722020K9SA00
Revision: DC4AC77A
Serial Number: 080126DP0440DTGAT67P
Native Command Queuing: Yes
Queue Depth: 32
Removable Media: No
Detachable Drive: No
BSD Name: disk0
Mac OS 9 Drivers: No
Partition Map Type: GPT (GUID Partition Table)
S.M.A.R.T. status: Verified
Volumes:
Macintosh HD:
Capacity: 185.99 GB
Available: 156.23 GB
Writable: Yes
File System: Journaled HFS+
BSD Name: disk0s2
Mount Point: /

Neil321
May 11, 2008, 11:56 PM
I dunno, what am I missing?

Nothing it's just the way HD manufactures calculate GB's

alphaod
May 13, 2008, 11:44 AM
The OS calculates using binary (base 2) and the HDD manufacturer uses decimal (base 10).

newmakkie
May 13, 2008, 11:06 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigabyte

"As of 2007, most consumer hard drives are defined by their gigabyte-range capacities. The true capacity is usually some number above or below the class designation. Although most manufacturers of hard disks and Flash disks define 1 gigabyte as 1,000,000,000 bytes, the computer operating systems used by most users usually calculate a gigabyte by dividing the bytes (whether it is disk capacity, file size, or system RAM) by 1,073,741,824. This distinction is a cause of confusion, as a hard disk with a manufacturer rated capacity of 400 gigabytes may have its capacity reported by the operating system as only 372 GB, depending on the type of report."

Vegabondsx
May 14, 2008, 11:27 AM
I think some of these explanations are over-complicating the issue.

In my experience a 7200rpm drive will be faster when doing tasks that require a lot of constant reading/writing to the drive. If the reading and writing isn't constant then less of an improvement will occur.

The 7200rpm drive uses slightly more power, but in my experience it doesn't affect the battery a whole lot. If you were to constantly write or read the hard drive for a long amount of time, your battery may drain faster than a 5400rpm drive.

For most people 5400rpm is probably just fine and the extra 20gb is worth more than the speed. If you know you are going to do things that require constant reading and writing to the drive, such as video editing or gaming then the 7200rpm drive maybe worth it. For common tasks such as typing, browsing the internet, watching TV shows, and editing photos, the 5400rpm should do just fine.

To find out the specs of your drive from your computer go under the system profiler and when you find your drive google the model number. Most likely you will find the information in the results.