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Old May 28, 2009, 02:54 PM   #1
a1sterling
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Replacing MB Hard Drive: Seagate Momentus 5400 vs 7200

Hi everyone,

UPDATE: I had a typo on the subject...this is for a new macbook aluminum, not the macbook air. Sorry about the confusion!

My apologies if this is considered a re-post. I've done quite a bit of searching, but have been unable to find an updated, specific response to my question.

I have the new unibody macbook aluminum with the 160GB 5400rpm stock drive that I would like to replace. Based on reviews, I'm leaning strongly toward the 320GB Seagate Momentus (I don't think I need 500GB unless anyone thinks its a significantly better drive).

My question is whether to go for the 5400rpm Seagate Momentus 320GB or the 7200rpm Seagate Momentus 320GB.

- What is the trade-off between speed and battery life/heat. I'd really rather avoid any significant loss in batter life from what I get with the stock drive. Increased heat is not a huge issue for me unless it will impact the laptop's performance. Are there any other issues with switching to a 7200rpm drive?

- Is there an alternative 7200rpm drive that performs better with battery life/heat?

- Finally, is it pretty easy to replace the hard drive in the new macbooks? I've taken apart electronics before, but I'm certainly no expert.

Thanks in advance for any help. Also, I know I can find this elsewhere, but any quick suggestions on increasing the memory while I've got the computer open.

Last edited by a1sterling; May 28, 2009 at 04:07 PM.
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Old May 28, 2009, 03:09 PM   #2
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I'm pretty sure it uses a 1.8" drive...
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Old May 28, 2009, 04:02 PM   #3
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I'm pretty sure it uses a 1.8" drive...
OP means MBA as in MacBook Aluminum, not Air.

Anyway, I'd go with the 7200 RPM. It won't produce any noticeable drop in battery life or heat, but the additional speed will help a lot. The hard drive is under the metal battery cover, there's one screw (phillips 0) that holds it down. Just take off the old mounting pins and put them on the new hard drive and you're ready to go.
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Old May 28, 2009, 04:05 PM   #4
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Personally, I'd go with the Seagate 5,400rpm 500 GB. A friend who put a Seagate 7,200rpm drive in his MBP said he got a 20 - 30 minute battery drop. The 500 GB Hard Drives are more battery friendly and can in some cases, be almost as fast as the 7,200rpm models when they're filled with a reasonable amount of data (Hard Drives get slower the more stuff that's on them and 500 GB HDDs are denser).
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Old May 28, 2009, 04:11 PM   #5
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I have the 320GB momentus in my MacBook. It draws less power than the older WD 250GB 5400RPM drive did but that is probably no longer true. There is no extra heat from what I can tell but there is now a slight, constant vibration under the right palmrest. Its a bit of a toss up now but I would go for a 500GB 5400RPM drive probably, like BlizzardBomb said, unless speed outways the slight decrease in battery life to you. If you are price sensitive, then the 320GB 5400RPM would be the next best choice.
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Old May 29, 2009, 03:41 AM   #6
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have you considered the western digital scorpio blues? http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=506

i am in the same boat as you as i will swap the hdd out when i get my new mbp (hopefully after wwdc!) and while looking around i've read really good stuff about the scorpio (vs the seagate)

though the 500GB runs at 5400 RPM the performance is suppose to be really good (vs the slow running 7200RPM seagate -> you can read reviews on newegg.com)

also, the western digital is suppose to also run cooler than most other hdd out there...

i could be wrong but those are the bits i've found online and i personally will be getting the scorpio when i get my new mbp.

just my 2 cents


ps: if you do go for the seagate, make sure you get the models with the G in the serial as those offer shock protection
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Old May 29, 2009, 03:53 AM   #7
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ps: if you do go for the seagate, make sure you get the models with the G in the serial as those offer shock protection
As long as any of these drives are mounted in a MacBook/MacBook Pro, the drive's internal protection is moot. MB/MBP's have their own sensors ("SMS"), and I doubt there's any appreciable difference in reaction times between the Mac's command and an internal one.

btw: I went with the WD Scorpio Black 320GB 7200RPM in my 17" UB.
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Old May 29, 2009, 04:06 AM   #8
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As long as any of these drives are mounted in a MacBook/MacBook Pro, the drive's internal protection is moot. MB/MBP's have their own sensors ("SMS"), and I doubt there's any appreciable difference in reaction times between the Mac's command and an internal one.

btw: I went with the WD Scorpio Black 320GB 7200RPM in my 17" UB.
i stand corrected

how has the scorpio treated you so far? (in terms of speed/heat)
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Old May 29, 2009, 04:54 AM   #9
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i stand corrected

how has the scorpio treated you so far? (in terms of speed/heat)
7200's have been noticeably "zippier" than the 5400's (I had one in my previous MBP, too). As far as heat, nothing really noticeable. No noise - in fact, its seek sounds are much quieter (actually - silent) than the 5400 320GB Fujitsu which shipped with the UB (that might not be saying much, though). Spindle sound is same or just barely louder than the 5400 (just a quiet "whoosh"- barely noticeable in a quiet room).

I had one other WD that had a slight vibration (in an external case), but did a pre-auth RMA with WD and they had a new one here in about a week.

Ironically enough (considering the previous posts), the drive they replaced it with was a -BJKT. The one with the free-fall sensor. It's head load/unload sound was slightly quieter than the other drive I had, so that's the one in my UB now (and the other in an external FW800 case). There's no conflict with the internal sensor.

(all current drives have the load/unload "feature" - Seagate, WD or whatever. It just seems that some individual drives' sound is more noticeable than others'.)
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Old May 29, 2009, 06:30 AM   #10
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The only down side I've seen from my Scorpio Black 7200 is the vibration. Some have it, others don't. Battery life is the same but it is quicker than a 5400 rpm drive without a doubt.
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Old May 29, 2009, 07:00 AM   #11
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Personally, Id get the 7200. I installed one in my Dell Latitude D830 laptop and like others have said, the computer as noticeably more responsive.

As for size, do you need more than 320GB? An external HD might be a better option as backing up is much safer and the $:GB ratio is smaller with an internal HD in an external enclosure.
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Old May 29, 2009, 07:09 AM   #12
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Here's my take from when I upgraded my white Macbook to a 7200 RPM drive:

I had more heat, much more vibration, and lost about 30 minutes battery life. This was with a Momentus, also, though it was a 200GB version. However, it was a bit faster (though not a night-and-day difference). I downgraded to a 5400 RPM (160GB, 'cause I got a great deal) within a month.

I recommend a 5400 RPM WD Scorpio Blue. While I've never had any issue with Seagate laptop drives, there have been tons of issues with their desktop drives, so it makes me a bit leery of any Seagate.

HERE is my suggestion. Its only $65 and Newegg is AWESOME.
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Old May 29, 2009, 08:17 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone, I think I'm going to go with a 5400rpm drive and I'll take a close look at the WD Scorpio.

I really only need 320GB, but was told (including by BlizzardBomb above) that a 500GB drive will run more efficiently. Any additional thoughts on that?

Thanks!
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Old May 29, 2009, 08:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a1sterling View Post
Thanks everyone, I think I'm going to go with a 5400rpm drive and I'll take a close look at the WD Scorpio.

I really only need 320GB, but was told (including by BlizzardBomb above) that a 500GB drive will run more efficiently. Any additional thoughts on that?

Thanks!
Take a look at the chart here. You can see than the 500 GB, 5400rpm Scorpio Blue is almost as fast as the 320 GB, 7200rpm Scorpio Black. This is because data is more dense on the higher capacity drives, so raw rotational speed isn't everything.

NB: Can't really find direct comparisons between Seagates or WDs, but this is as close as it gets. It demonstrates the density point pretty well anyway.
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Old May 29, 2009, 09:11 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by js81 View Post
I recommend a 5400 RPM WD Scorpio Blue. While I've never had any issue with Seagate laptop drives, there have been tons of issues with their desktop drives, so it makes me a bit leery of any Seagate.
Quite the opposite in my experience as I have had the so many problems with WD desktop drives (MyBook series) which is why I went for a Seagate laptop drive. I had a WD laptop drive that had a very loud head park (thunk, thunk). They probably are about the same in reliability in the end.

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Take a look at the chart here. You can see than the 500 GB, 5400rpm Scorpio Blue is almost as fast as the 320 GB, 7200rpm Scorpio Black. This is because data is more dense on the higher capacity drives, so raw rotational speed isn't everything.

NB: Can't really find direct comparisons between Seagates or WDs, but this is as close as it gets. It demonstrates the density point pretty well anyway.
That link does a direct comparison between Seagate and WD.

Quote:

When it comes to pricing, the Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB hard drive can be found online for $139.99 shipped, but they are tough to find as nearly everyone is out of stock right now. At $139.99 that means you are paying $0.28 per Gigabyte for this hard drive. Other 500GB notebook hard drives like the Western Digital Scorpio Blue 500GB can be found for ~$60 shipped right now from Hewlett-Packard. This is a sale price, but means that you can pick up the WD Scorpio Blue 500GB for $0.12 per Gigabyte. Sure, the WD Scorpio Blue is only 5400RPM and 20-26% slower in the read/write tests in HDTach, but it costs 57% less than the Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB hard drive. With many consumers tightening their budgets this might be a tough sell for many. On the other hand if you want the newest and the fastest hard drive that Seagate has to offer the Momentus 7200.4 500GB hard drive is the drive for you.

Legit Bottom Line: The Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB hard drive is slightly faster than the previous generation of 7200.3 hard drives, but faces fierce price versus value competition with other 500GB that are slightly slower and half the price.
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Old May 29, 2009, 11:55 AM   #16
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That link does a direct comparison between Seagate and WD.
I said Seagate or WD (not and). As in 320 GB 7200.4 Momentus vs. 320 & 500 GB 5400.6 Momentus etc. Sorry if it wasn't clear
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Old May 30, 2009, 10:01 AM   #17
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You can see than the 500 GB, 5400rpm Scorpio Blue is almost as fast as the 320 GB, 7200rpm Scorpio Black.
Definitely a consideration - I forgot about the higher density platters in the 500GB drives. If you got the money, go for the 500GB Scorpio Blue or the Momentus - both should be great. Just make sure you get one with the 5 year warranty (IMO).
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Old May 30, 2009, 11:39 AM   #18
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Definitely a consideration - I forgot about the higher density platters in the 500GB drives. If you got the money, go for the 500GB Scorpio Blue or the Momentus - both should be great. Just make sure you get one with the 5 year warranty (IMO).
Here's a decent comparison between the two 500 GB, 5,400rpm Hard Drives.

In a nutshell;
  • Seagate uses about 10% less power than the WD.
  • Seagate is slightly louder on its own, but vibrates less than the WD, so could cancel this difference out.
  • Seagate is about 20g lighter. Not much but it's still a positive
  • WD has faster read speeds (68.6 MB/s average vs. 66.9 MB/s average for the Seagate).
  • WD is about a millisecond faster for access time (16.9 vs. 18.1ms)
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Old May 30, 2009, 02:04 PM   #19
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Thanks for the great feedback everyone. I think I'm going to stick with the Seagate, the potential battery and weight benefits outweigh the potential losses in speed for me.
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