2011 15" MBP + Optibay: 7200 vs. 5400rpm

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by cal3ido, May 15, 2011.

  1. cal3ido macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2011
    hey guys

    I'm planning on upgrading my 15" MBP with a SATA3-SSD and an additional HDD sitting in the ODD bay.

    For performance: does it make a difference when installing just a 5400rpm drive instead of one with 7200rpm?

    I'll have the system and all applications on the ssd and use the hdd for storage (photos, movies, music, documents and stuff like that) only. I'm thinking about getting a 750GB Hitachi (5K750) because it has plenty of capacity and should be really power efficient, cool and quiet.

    Would I feel a difference in speed (like loading times in iPhoto/Photoshop or iTunes etc.) when using a 7200rpm drive like the Hitachi 7k500 or the Scorpio Black 750GB? :confused:
  2. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    There are differences between those 5,400 rpm drives and 7,200 however those differences pale in comparison to the increase in performance you'd see with a SSD. I wonder if you took the money you'd spend on the optibay and second hard drive if you could get an SSD thats large enough to live with on a day to day basis? For me, a 240g Vertex 3 is plenty of walking around space. Anything really massive lives on a large NAS drive I have at home which uses raid. Just a thought.

    If you do decide you need a 7,200 rpm drive be aware they draw slightly more power, make slightly more noise, vibrate slightly more, slightly more heat and last slightly less years. So, they are a higher performance drive with some not insignificant drawbacks. If you want quiet, longer battery life and less heat you'll be more interested in 5,400 rpm drives.

    There is a new category of drives called hybrids. Samsung has played in this market but right now the Seagate Momentous XT is the only one available. It combines a standard 5,400 rpm drive with a 4 gb ssd. They work some black magic in the firmware to make this drive faster than a 10,000 rpm enterprise drive without the massive drawbacks putting on in a laptop would entail. For many users these are great drives but there are a few reports of incompatibility. If you are willing to experiment you might try one and see how it works. Those whose drives perform well tend to really like them.

    I'll stick with my first recommendation though, save your money for a massive SSD. Thats where the real action is at. There is no substitute.
  3. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    probably won't really notice a huge difference, i'm sure benchmark numbers it's faster to have the 7200 but if you are just using it for media I wouldn't necessarily worry about the speed of the drive.

    Also, since you can get an optibay and hdd for <$100 I don't think you could upgrade the SSD for the same price since 250gb ssd's retail for about double the price of 120gb ssd's.

    Also a lot of people can just continue to use the drive that's already in their machine which means it really doesn't cost anything to get the optibay.
  4. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I'd just put whatever drive that it came with in the optibay. With the SSD there, that will provide your speed for opening stuff, you just store data that doesn't need fast access (movies, music, docs, etc.) on the HDD, which is plenty fast enough to access them without a slowdown, even if it's 5400 RPM.
  5. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    So true. The fastest of the fast enterprise grade drives (Ex: VelociRaptor) are absolutely DESTROYED by the slowest of SSDs.

    If price is an issue, the 5400 will usually be quieter than a 7200, but there are loud 5200-5750 HDDs and quiet 7500 HDDs. Some HDDs are much faster than others. If you want a fast HDD, I like the Scorpio Black and have had great experiences with them for a long time, and many other members can vouch too. The current Scorpio Black is actually about the same speed as the 2.5in VelociRaptor (and the WD Caviar Black is also about the same speed as the 3.5 inch WD VelociRaptor), and the Black lines also have a 2 year longer warranty. This is probably because the Raptors had a crappy recent update, and because they are ridiculously expensive, the advent of Solid State Drives and Hybrid Drives (exp the Momentus XT which beats enterprise grade HDDs all day long), the Raptors are IMO...well, extinct. Oh yeah, the Black is also available in 6.0 GBPS now, although because it is a HDD, this will likely have no speed impact whatsoever.
  6. cal3ido thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2011
    Thanks for your replies. So if I understand that right, I would feel a difference between the 5400 and the 7200 but it's not a huge difference.

    I guess I'll get the Hitachi 5K750 then because less noise and more battery power are more important for me than slightly better performance....:)
  7. TenderBranson macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2003
    I notice a substantial difference between 5400 rpm and 7200rpm
  8. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    as your main drive? Of course that's to be expected.

    However, if you are using an SSD as the main drive and just use the HDD for storage of media, you will be hard pressed to notice any kind of difference.
  9. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    As a secondary drive 5400rpm is the best choice. 7200rpm has better latencies which is why it is somewhat better as a system drive than a 5400rpm but the STR difference can only be measured and hardly felt. And latency is no issue with a secondary data drive.

    The Hitachi is a good choice. Low power consumption.
  10. cal3ido thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2011
    Thanks for your advice. I ordered the Hitachi.

    I'm having a hard time deciding for a SSD actually. Does anybody know if there are still issues with the Intel 510? Beachballing or compatibility issues? This would be my favourite....

    Otherwise, I would go for an older SATAII-SSD, I'm thinking about the Samsung 470. I'd get a good deal for it and it seems to be a solid performer....
  11. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    intel gets the best rep for reliability, ocz for speed.

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