Is 5400 RPM slow?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by jamescwarren, Jul 11, 2006.

  1. jamescwarren macrumors 6502

    jamescwarren

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    #1
    Exactly what the title says. I want to get a new MacBook Pro soon and wondered if a 120 GB 5400 RPM hard drive is slow? Thanks.
     
  2. Glenn Wolsey macrumors 65816

    Glenn Wolsey

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    #2
    Get the 100GB 7200RPM. And a nice external HDD.
     
  3. risc macrumors 68030

    risc

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    #3
    For normal use there is no difference in speed between the 5400 RPM and 7200 RPM. The only time you'll see an increase in speed is if you work with large files such as video. So the question is what do you want to do with your notebook?
     
  4. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #4
    I agree with risc. What sort of stuff do you want to do with the machine? :)
     
  5. frankblundt macrumors 65816

    frankblundt

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    #5
    Like the others said, not really, but with the added caveat: as long as you have ample RAM for whatever it is you're likely to be doing with it.

    If X has to start using the HD as a scratch disk (which will cause a slowdown no matter how fast the drive), a slower drive will slow it further.
     
  6. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #6
    Actually, sustained throughput of a good 5400RPM drive is surprisingly close to 7200RPM drive. The biggest difference is in seek time, which depends greatly on rotational speed. One notices biggest improvements when handling lots of files simultaneously, such as mixing multi-track audio or editing multi-angle video.
     
  7. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #7
    One spins FASTER than the other ...

    They both transfer from cache at the same exact rate.

    One may have an edge in seek time, and one the edge slightly in MB/sec -- but it shouldn't be much probably 1-5MB/sec if that is worth 20GB of data to you.

    ---

    In notebook drives buy on size, warranty, and cache -- in no order, and desktop drives are similar, unless you really need the extra transfer speed.

    Otherwise you are just buying fractions of a second here and there, but RAM is the largest factor for speeding up the machine by far, where not enough really slows you down A LOT.

    In a couple years, the drives should have a significant transfer increase -- the generational jumps in the drives really set things apart much more than RPMs.
     
  8. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #8
    All very good points but remember that seek time is quite important on large files since they are so often fragmented (although not necessarily to any massive extent). :)
     
  9. emotion macrumors 68040

    emotion

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    #9
    I remember reading a test where they pitted a 7k80 (or 7k60) travelstar hitachi drive agaisnt a 5400 equivalent and it was in sustained writes that the 7200 travelstar won out compared with the 5400. Reads were very similar. I'm sorry I can't find the link.
     
  10. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #10
    But if it's also critically important, you'll probably have a PowerMac or Mac Pro and will do what a professional would do when you start a project -- start with a fresh data drive, or run a RAID.

    ---

    But memory is still the biggest critical factor right now 1-10MB/sec difference in two drives isn't as great as 5300MB/sec vs. 40-50MB/sec.

    And I think one of the tests at barefeats had the 7200 drive stomping the 5400, even though the drive specs should have had them really, really close.
     
  11. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

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    #11
    Yes, RAM is the big kicker in terms of faster performance on your MacBook Pro jamescwarren. :)
     
  12. jamescwarren thread starter macrumors 6502

    jamescwarren

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    #12
    The MacBook Pro I would be getting would be a 15.4" 2.16 GHz, 1GB RAM and then the hard drive. I would be using it for music, photo's, MSN, Safari And Firefox, a bit of GarageBand, Word and Pages and Keynote and Sims 2 and Skype and iChat and Mail and watching DVD's and the odd bit of iMovie and iDVD (not all of this at once of course!!!) :D Thanks people!!!
     
  13. Coheebuzz macrumors 6502

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    #13
    What about those recent benchmarks that showed the stock 5400rpm drive being faster than some other 7200 drives?? Can't find the link now but, but it made me change my mind and invest on RAM instead - or get a cool laptop bag, i know i need one. (just scratched the corner of my MBP :( )

    Now if you were working with large files such as Photoshop and video then i would recommend a fast and large external drive so that you don't stress the startup disk. But for the general stuff like the ones you mentioned in the post above, i don't think you'll notice a difference.
     
  14. jamescwarren thread starter macrumors 6502

    jamescwarren

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    #14
    I just wondered as well, do any of you know what speed my PowerBook hard drive will be? It is a 15" 1.33 GHz. Got it around May 2004. Cos' I am pretty happy with the speed of the hard drive for it at the moment. So If 5400 RPM is the same or even faster, I will be happy!:D
     
  15. joeops57 macrumors member

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    #15
    It's more than likely 5400 RPM.

    ~Joe
     
  16. Coheebuzz macrumors 6502

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    #16
    Yours is probably a 4200rpm, so you're getting an even faster drive. :)

    http://support.apple.com/specs/powerbook/PowerBook_G4_15-inch_1_5-1_33GHz.html
     
  17. jamescwarren thread starter macrumors 6502

    jamescwarren

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    #17
    As well, how fast is the MacBook's hard drive? Cos' that seems pretty fast :D
     
  18. risc macrumors 68030

    risc

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    #18
    The MacBook uses a 5400 RPM SATA drive just like the MacBook Pros base model. I have a 5400 RPM 120 GB in my MacBook Pro because for what I need the machine for more space was a better option. Like we have all said the drive speed depends on your needs, and based on your needs mentioned above the larger 5400 RPM drive would be the best option for you.
     

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