Getting a 15" 1.33Ghz - 4200rpm or 5400rpm HD?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by quasar720, Aug 11, 2004.

  1. quasar720 macrumors member

    quasar720

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Location:
    Berkley, MI
    #1
    Hi all,

    I will be purchasing a 1.33Ghz 15" powerbook this Fall for school and am trying to decide between picking one up locally or doing a BTO and paying extra for the 5400rpm HD. My question is, how much of a speed difference will I notice? I plan on using mainly the iLife suite, (looking forward to lots of experimenting with Garageband), Word, Quicken Deluxe... Don't see myself using Photoshop much, and am not thinking that I will do much of any gaming. So, will a 5400rpm HD really be a necessary upgrade for me? I'm all for the fastest, biggest, quickest stuff usually, but I also need to try to keep the price down. Will a faster HD make browsing the OS, and loading software noticeably quicker?

    Thanks,

    -=q720=-
     
  2. thehuncamunca macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2003
    Location:
    NJ
    #2
    i'd go for it if you have the hundred odd bucks to spare, you do get a little more capacity too 80GB vs 60GB
    you can't upgrade the HD once you buy it so you're stuck with whatever you get on your laptop
    an alternative, if you want faster performance you could get a FW 400 or 800 drive to use when you have the computer docked and then just use the internal drive when you're not in your room

     
  3. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #3
    Everything I've read suggests that you'll see some serious performance improvements with the faster disk - more than enough to justify the price. Boot times especially will be better, as will any applications that requires a lot of files to be read upon startup. If it creates financial hardship, then obviously, don't do it, nor should you do it if it'll add a long time to your wait to obtain the laptop. But, purely based upon whether the $100 is worth it: yes, it is. Definitely. The speed alone would make it almost worth it; the extra 20GB seals it.
     
  4. SolidGun macrumors 6502

    SolidGun

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2004
    Location:
    Twin Cities
    #4
    I bought the stock model thinking that I will be upgrading the HDD myself.....but I am not going to do it yet (still debating whether the trouble is worth it).....I say do it. It is much better to get it for only $100 than spending more money later to upgrade and facing all the trouble.
     
  5. quasar720 thread starter macrumors member

    quasar720

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    Aug 11, 2004
    Location:
    Berkley, MI
    #5
    Now another thing I am planning on doing is adding a 512MB stick (probably bought from Crucial) after I get the Powerbook. That should put me at 768MB. How will that do with helping load times, search, moving around the OS etc, vs. a 5400rpm HD? It's roughly the same price as the HD upgrade, but will the benefits be the same?
     
  6. quasar720 thread starter macrumors member

    quasar720

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Location:
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    #6
    here's an interesting set of benchmarks regarding this topic. according to their tests, the 5400rpm drive really cuts down on load times (they claim as much as 52%). anyone ever seen any other tests?

    http://www.barefeats.com/pb12.html
     
  7. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #7
    Well, if it's either/or, go with the HD now, as the RAM is easier to upgrade later.

    As far as benefits go: the two actually will work hand-in-hand. You won't see the benefit of the 768 (at least not that much) until you run multiple apps, since OS X itself doesn't need a ton of memory, and individual apps are typically not all the piggish either. But, run a few apps at once, and you'll start swapping to virtual memory unless you've got a fair amount of RAM. However, when you do swap in and out of VM, the faster drive will make a huge difference in performance.

    So... the RAM will make it less likely you'll use the HD for virtual memory paging, and the faster HD will make the paging that does occur faster.

    RAM will not help with load times (except by not causing VM swapping while the app is loading).
     
  8. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    Mar 16, 2004
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    #8
    Barefeats is reputable. If they say it really speeds up load times, it does, and it's enough for me....
     
  9. Elan0204 macrumors 65816

    Elan0204

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #9
    I'd have to say get the hard drive upgrade. The barefeats test seem to show a pretty significant performance boost, and the hard drive is not something you can change later in an aluminum powerbook without voiding your warranty. I've actually been considering the idea of putting a faster hard drive in my tibook to breathe some new life into it.

    Besides, you can always easily install RAM yourself later.
     
  10. quasar720 thread starter macrumors member

    quasar720

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Location:
    Berkley, MI
    #10
    Thanks for all the insight! I guess I will have to be patient and go for the 5400rpm BTO! :eek:
     
  11. quasar720 thread starter macrumors member

    quasar720

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    Aug 11, 2004
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    Berkley, MI
    #11
    I was just reading through the Tiger preview on the Apple website and it occured to me that Spotlight might work better with the faster hard drive. I have to imagine that searching through thousands of records can only be benefited by quicker spin speeds. Glad i went 5400!! :)
     
  12. Elan0204 macrumors 65816

    Elan0204

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    Apr 16, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #12
    Congrats on your new powerbook. I'm sure you made the right decision. Of course now begins the agonizing wait between when you place the order and receive your new powerbook.
     
  13. applefan macrumors regular

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    Feb 3, 2003
    Location:
    No. Cal.
    #13
    Does anyone know if the faster HD significantly affects battery life?
     
  14. quasar720 thread starter macrumors member

    quasar720

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    Aug 11, 2004
    Location:
    Berkley, MI
    #14
    check out the benchmarks at the above URL. they demonstrated no substantial difference in battery life.
     
  15. quasar720 thread starter macrumors member

    quasar720

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Location:
    Berkley, MI
    #15
    Thanks!! I know, it's all I can think about right now. *Must occupy myself with other tasks* :eek:
     

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