12" Powerbook Hard Drive- 4200 vs. 5400- speed, heat, battery, etc...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Chubby Cox, Jun 24, 2004.

  1. Chubby Cox macrumors member

    May 2, 2004
    I'm planning on getting a new 12" Powerbook within the coming month. However, I still haven't decided on what to do about the hard drive. I have a 120gb internal drive on my desktop that I plan on getting a firewire enclosure for, so the capacity isn't really an issue. What I'm really interested in is what kind of performance difference there is between the 4200 rpm drive and the 5400 rpm drive. Does the 5400 offer a noticable improvement in speed (and is it worth the extra $113?) Also, does the 5400 generate significantly more heat (causing the fan to run more) or drain the battery faster? I'm also strongly considering getting an extra gig of ram (from OWC, not direct from Apple; and if not a gig, at least an extra 512 mb), but would the slower 4200 rpm hard drive make that not as effective? I'm interested to hear the opinions of some powerbook users. Thanks for your help.
  2. Elmy macrumors newbie

    Jun 2, 2004
    From what I can work out you will see a slight boost in application loading speed if you go for the 5400rpm drive, in line with what you would expect considering the RPM increase eg. around 10-20%.

    If this is really important to you, go for it. For me, I leave my apps open all day anyway, and only load them up once, so its not really a big deal

    If you want to do real media work, recording, or video editing, I would just go for the maximum peformance option of an external firewire enclosure with a 7200rpm drive. A 5400rpm drive won't be enough for extremely serious work in these areas anyway. It would be good for a totally portable media workstation though, in comparison to the 4200rpm.

    In conclusion, if money is tight, don't bother. Otherwise, why the heck not :) ?

    As for the extra RAM, go for 1GB if you can afford it, but its a very expensive upgrade indeed. Probably better off overall going for 512MB + the 5400rpm hard drive if you have the cash for the 1GB upgrade, will work out about the same price wise.
  3. abhishekit macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2003
    akron , ohio
    Extra 512 ram is always going to make a visible difference , regardless of whether you have 4200 or 5400 hard drive.
    But you can't easily upgrade your hard drive. So if you are willing to shell 300 bucks for 1 GB ram, going for 5400 + 512 is certainly a better option, as already been pointed out.

  4. invaLPsion macrumors 65816


    Jan 2, 2004
    The Northlands
    GO WITH THE 5400RPM HARD DRIVE. I can't stress this enough. Check out the Barefeats article on this topic if you need further proof. www.barefeats.com
  5. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Go for the faster HDD. The faster HDD offers a better performance boost of your system than getting the extra RAM does. Getting a 512MB stick of RAM will provide you with 768 MB of RAM, but you won't notice an enormous boost when compared to getting a 1Gig stick for much more. It ain't worth it.

Share This Page