iBook & PowerBook Hard Drives 4200RPM???

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by jumpman25, Mar 9, 2004.

  1. jumpman25 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    #1
    For those of you that have iBooks or PowerBooks with 4200RPM hard drives I was just wondering what your thoughts on them are. Are they very very slow? Can you rip a DVD to the hard drive and watch? Any info on the 4200RPM hard drives or any recomendations would be appreciated. I am going to switch from PC to mac within the next few weeks but just want to make sure that the 4200RPM drive will not slow down the computer too much. Thanks
     
  2. Stolid macrumors regular

    Stolid

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Norfolk, VA, USA
    #2
    I can't speak first person but I've heard quite a few people say that if you've got a workable amount of RAM (512 or so I'd guess), that the next big bottleneck is HD RPMs being low. Just like any slow part; it will slow things down. Computers are really famous for 'weakest link' style processing - the DVD watching from the HD should be doable; but give the rest of your system. The trick is balance in parts and purpose of what you're doing with the system.
     
  3. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #3
    Faster is always better so if you can afford it get the fastest HD possible. The 4200 wont make working unbearable but a 5400 will make it better.

    P.S. Im currently running a PB with 5400 rpm and its quick.
     
  4. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    #4
    yeah it makes a big difference between a 4200 to 5400 to 7200 in performance, but also in price.

    switch to a lower rpm drive puts a good price point on the powerbooks. what you can do is upgrade the hard drive. if you google around there is serveral good tutorials for doing. if you do video or audio editing or anything that is hard drive intensive task you will see a difference. if you are just a surfer and emailer it won't make much. your boot times will be shorter though.
     
  5. stefan_km macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    #5
    how about firewire harddrives ? can you work with files directly on a external harddrive or is it first copyed yo the internal, then to the external?
    I don't need a really fast harddrive on the go but at home it would be nice for audio editing
     
  6. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    #6
    you can run directly off the external FW no problem.

    if you need to do some serious work on it, get the one with a bigger buffer, i.e. 8 MB instead of usual 2 MB as well as a faster disk.

    i have a 40 GB 2GB buffer 4200 rpm FW disk (which is pretty much the same as my internal) and i can watch a 650 MB compressed mpeg movie off of it no problem. i don't do serious work on it, but i think it will work fine...
     
  7. jumpman25 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    #7
    Thanks for the replies. I just wanted to make sure that there wouldn't be a big degrade in performance. I can live with some things loading a little slower, but I guess if I'm not happy with the 4200 RPM I can upgrade. Has anybody tried upgrading their hard drives. If so how does the new drive work.
     
  8. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #8
    I upgraded my stock HD on my Pismo (4200rpm) to a new 7200rpm one (I needed the space too-10G was too small). Very noticable speedup with disk-intensive tasks, overall speed increase justified the *considerable* expense, but it is not necessary, as above posters have mentioned...I am just trying to squeeze as much performance as I can out of my baby...all a question of priorities.
     
  9. BrandonRP0123 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #9

    A DVD drive doesn't even spin at 4200RPM, IIRC.
     
  10. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #10
    Can anyone offer an estimate on how much the 5400 HD improves overall system performance? I've seen the Barefeats numbers on the performance increase from the stock HD to the 5400, but I'd be interested in getting a sense of how much OVERALL performance is boosted. Is there a test on Barefeats, or anywhere else, that shows this?

    Best,

    Bob
     
  11. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    #11
    you best beat is the 7200, don't even upgrade to the 5400. an upgrade to the 7200 will 15% would be a moderate guess. my beat would be 20%+
    you computer will boot faster, and generally read/write faster. you have to realize in your computer system the hard drive is the bottle neck for speed beside the human i/o speed.
     
  12. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    sitting on your shoulder
    #12
    Except you can't get a 7200RPM laptop drive from Apple.
     
  13. GroundLoop macrumors 68000

    GroundLoop

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2003
    #13
  14. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    #14
  15. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #15
    Brian and Superbovine---

    Thanks--the Toms link helped. Based on that, I'd expect to see roughly a 5-10% boost in overall system performance in going from a 4200 to a 5400 RPM HD. That's assuming the results from XP are transferable to Mac...

    The reason I've ruled out a 7200 RPM HD is that I can't get one from Apple and am not willing to chance voiding Applecare...

    Best,

    Bob
     
  16. bunkre macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    #16
    for pro tools i use a 17" PB and an external 7200 rpm firewire, and it works really really well. if i try to use the internal for that tho (5400?) i get limited to only a few tracks and minor plugins. of course, that probably has more to do with the fact that its the system drive more than anything...

    anyhow, 7200 rpm firewire drives are cheap enough these days, arent they?
     
  17. MacRAND macrumors 6502a

    MacRAND

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix AZ USA
    #17
    IBM Hitachi 60GB 7200rpm HD is the only way to go.

    Bob, I plan to get a loaded 15" PB soon but will order it with the smallest, slowest HD I can because I intend to immediately purchase & install a 7200 rpm 60GB drive, if I need to avoid warranty problems, I'll simply have an Apple Authorized shop install it for $29.
    (Working on my Quicksilver Tower is no problem, laptops intimidate me).
    Besides, before the NEW PB, I have decided to replace the 30GB drive with the 60GB 7200rpm IBM and have even found a couple of best buys with shipping free at:
    http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=100519
    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=22-146-020&depa=0
    Also, their reputation online is really good, especially compared to other dealers who sell this $214 IBM HD for barely $5 less.
    [​IMG]
    Oh, yes, the reason I'm convinced on the benefits of installing the Travelstar 60GB 2.5in 7200rpm HD IBM Hitachi is that every one of my MacBuddies who has, absolutely raves about how much more solidly their book feels, and that the speed increase is awesome - whether it gives new life to an old PowerBook, or simply peps up a new iBook.
    If you go 7200rpm you won't regret it, not for a second
     
  18. jumpman25 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    #18
    Hey MacRAND,

    If your going to buy the Hitachi 7200RPM laptop drive I would reccomend you buy it at Newegg.com. I am thinking I am going to do the same thing you are doing and am going to buy the 7200RPM drive there. It is $214 with free shipping. I have placed over 10 orders with NewEgg and they have the best customer service I have experienced. They ship very fast as well. The link to the drive is:

    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProdu...380&manufactory=1984&DEPA=0&sortby=14&order=1

    I'm not discrediting you source or anything like that. I've just bought from newegg many times and am very satisfied.

    Just my 2 Cents
     
  19. maclamb macrumors 6502

    maclamb

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2002
    Location:
    Northern California
    #19
    Where can you get this done for $29.00??? :confused:
    My local apple guy wants to charge $150 :mad: - which is my main reason for not doing it.
    I DID get a Toshiba 7200 RPM and put it into my Dell 2.4GInspiron (thank you dell for including user-swappable drives - In this respect Apple Sux :mad: )

    I went from a 4200 RPM drive to a 7200 and the machine SMOKES _ FAST boot - VERY snappy performance - Absolutely the way to go! The whole system is noticably faster.
    I have a ibook g4/900 and it seems to lag a lot
    I have the apple tech manual - but opening the machine scares me.
    If I could get a tech to do it for $30 I would do it in a second. Maybe I need to call around...
     
  20. MacRAND macrumors 6502a

    MacRAND

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix AZ USA
    #20
    Excellent, I hope you don't mind, after checking the site out, the prices and free shipping are the same, to I added NewEgg.com to my post. It's always better to provide several choices so it doesn't look like we are promoting one or the other. Thanks, JumpMan25.
     
  21. MacRAND macrumors 6502a

    MacRAND

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix AZ USA
    #21
    Installing a HD

    I would shop around, Fry's Electronics - a salesman said Service would do it for $29. I'd prefer MacSales which is an Apple Auth. shop - don't know their price yet.
    I'd shop around. $100 anything is too much, heck I'd do it myself for that...unless warranty was a problem - don't know.

    Looked at the Dell Inspiron and couldn't see any swapable drive except maybe the Combo drive - but, that's not your main drive and you lose the laser drive. And that sucker is THICK, makes the PowerBook look amazingly thin. How do you like the way your PC runs?

    How intimidating does HD replacement appear in the Apple Manual?
    iBooks from G3 to G4 shouldn't be that much different in the HD area, I hope. Good luck.
     
  22. MacRAND macrumors 6502a

    MacRAND

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix AZ USA
    #22
    Thanks, for the site Hickman
    Besides the fact that the IBM/Hitachi 80GB 7200rpm drive was very impressive in all categories I care about, I loved the statement?
    "One result is particularly interesting - the fact that even a clearly faster hard drive like the 7200-rpm model from Hitachi only makes a negligible dent in the battery life."
     
  23. Stolid macrumors regular

    Stolid

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Norfolk, VA, USA
    #23
    Dell Inspiron drives are WONDERFULLY replacable. I have 3! (2x 40s and a 20); and swapping them is, just pulling the drive out (and, if you're in the mood to be careful, taking in/out a phillips head screw) -- you don't have to even flip the system over or anything. The drive is on the side of the case and just slides in and out like a really big PCMCIA card :p
    OTOH I've had SOOOOOOOOOOOO many problems with Inspiron power supplies :mad:

    Edit: hit the wrong reply button, so wrong quote
    Edit 2: http://docs.us.dell.com/docs/systems/ins8200/en/sm_en/hdd.htm#1084976
     
  24. Rincewind42 macrumors 6502a

    Rincewind42

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #24
    I hate to burst anyone's bubble but there is a huge problem with these tests - the driver buffer is 4x larger on the 5400 & 7200 RPM drives. This obfuscates the results somewhat, so we really don't know if the speed gain (claimed of up to only 15%) was from a faster spindle alone or from the drive cache. Unfortunately there wasn't a proper control done; all three drives are different sizes, manufacturers, two different interfaces, different number of read heads, and areal density.

    A proper experiment would involve the same drive mechanics (all XGB, from the same manufacturer with the same areal density and on the same interface, with the same cache size, same number of read heads) on all three drives with spindle speed being the only difference. You can actually see the problems with the test if you look at the various results.

    Digital Video:
    The 7200 barely beats the 5400 drive - granted this is probably only partially a test of the HD, but for 33% more RPM, I would expect more than a paltry 2.4% speed increase. By comparison the 7200 RPM drive gave an 18.3% increase over the 4200 RPM drive, but has a 71.4% faster spindle speed!

    Winbench 99:
    This test is actually more interesting because it gives us a comparison factor for what a larger cache can do. Granted the desktop comparison drive is old, so a newer model would likely perform better, but the 3.5" 7200 vs the 2.5" 7200 (2MB cache vs 8MB cache) provides a 15.4% speed gain. By comparison the note book hard drives give 26.2% (5400 v 7200), 86.5% (4200 v 7200), and 47.6% (5400 v 4200). A note of caution here is that synthetic benchmarks like Winbench rarely translate directly into real world performance. Seeing as how the cache difference alone accounts for the general 15% speed up claimed by the article, I hope you start to see why it's failing apart.

    System Book WinXP:
    Again we find less than predicted gains. 4200 v 7200 gives us only a 21.7% increase - almost all likely to be attributable to disk cache. The 5400 v 7200 gives us only a 4.3% gain, and 5400 v 4200 gives us 16.7% - again within reach of disk cache alone.

    Sysmark 2002:
    Overall results only show an 8.6% (7200 v 4200), 3.2% (5400 v 4200) or 5.2% (7200 v 5400) gain. This test probably shows more than anything that for most people the difference won't be spectacular while your doing your ordinary work. If your work entails the HD more than these tests did you would likely see better results.

    Battery Impact:
    Here we see another flaw that is exposed due to different sources for each drive. The Hitachi 7K60 is rated at similar power usage when active (using about .1W more during read/write and .2W more during seek). However hard disks are often in idle/standby mode MUCh more often than seek/read/write. Here the Hitachi drive shows it's superiority by using .12W less in idle, and .11W less in standby. [Note: The Hitachi drive mentions an "Active Idle" mode which I presume is an intermediate between activity and idle, the Seagate doesn't mention this statistic. The Hitachi also mentions a Sleep mode that uses only .1W and would thus be superior to the Seagate for extended non-usage of the HD]. The 40GN by comparison does have the lowest power usage of them all, using nearly half a watt less power in active modes, and .2W less in idle than the Hitachi drive. [NOTE: Hitachi actually made the Travelstar drives for IBM, thus this is likely why they are similar in these modes].
    Finally, the drive caches on the Seagate and Hitachi drives almost certainly allow these drives to operate in their lower power modes more frequently, thus giving them better power usage characteristics than you would otherwise expect. I bet if these drives carried 2MB caches instead of 8MB, you'd see much higher power usage (and thus more significant loss of running time).

    Bottomline:
    This review does provide useful information, however the conclusion is flawed.
    1) The drives tested are just too different from each other. A completely impartial test would have tried to fix as many characteristics between the various drives as possible. In this case far too many things that could affect the test significantly were different between the drives.
    2) There was no mention of the obfuscating effect of cache size. This is shown primarily in the Winbench 99 synthetic benchmark where an older 3.5" 7200RPM drive with 2MB of cache is trounced by the 2.5" 7200RPM drive with 8MB of cache. Unfortunately this comparison is also imperfect, but at least here something is fixed between the compared drives.
    3) Often the tests didn't show a huge margin of difference between the drives (the 5400 v 7200 often showed <10% difference) and the huge margins often could be just as attributable to the large cache of the 5400 & 7200 models.

    I don't dispute that drives with faster spindle speeds can't produce better results - they can. But this review if nothing else actually points out that there are other avenues to speed gains than simply spindle speed. The data could also extrapolate that cache size has a very definite affect on performance, and if you look at the results with this eye, you can see that going from 2MB to 8MB often showed a large improvement, while 5400 RPM to 7200RPM showed a small one. Sometimes with tests like this what your looking for is what you see rather than what is actually there. The 5400 & 7200 RPM drives perform better because they are built with newer technology, not just because they spin faster!

    So for those of you looking to get new hard drives for your laptops, I would recommend looking at what size disk cache they offer first, then what spindle speed they offer. The larger disk cache enables the drive to read-ahead more data when requested, and to store data for writes when the drive head has to seek. Both of these allow for better performance [less waiting on disk writes) & battery life [less reading directly from the drive means more time in lower power usage states]. If you find you really do need that extra 5-10% above what a larger cache offers, then go for the faster RPM drives. But don't expect a speed boost equivalent to the difference in RPM, I'm afraid that you simply won't get one in most cases.
     
  25. maclamb macrumors 6502

    maclamb

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2002
    Location:
    Northern California
    #25
    Sorry - I wasn't precise - they are not "swappable" like the cdrom - this poster is correct - they are easy to remove )one screw and they pop out - and it's easy to have a couple of extra drives w/ spare caddies and have a linux machine, win, or whatever. It's dissapointing that apple is so far out on this. Hell -the hard drive on the Wallstreet powerbook was easier to replace.
    How hard is the ibook - well the docs are pretty thorough and I would give it a shot - but it's less than a month old and I don't want to void the warranty...I'll call around.
     

Share This Page