500GB 5400 vs 7200rpm

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by chickyd, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. chickyd macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2009
    Can anyone provide advice on whether i should get the 7200rpm drive? Is there a noticeable difference in boot time between each?

    Do they normally have MBPs already built with the 7200 drives or do you have to order them?
  2. sharpblade1986 macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2009
    i do recommend 500GB 5400rpm hard disk. It should be a Western Digital Scorpio Blue which is pretty good. The 500GB hard disk is a Seagate 7200.4. Check online benchmarks and reviews for both hdd. If you really want a F-A-S-T hard drive and you don't need more than 80GB buy an Intel X25-m which costs about 200euro. The performance is insane! I have an Seagate 7200.3 320GB and my bro has an Intel x25-m and IMO it's a worth upgrade. He uses the stock hard disk as an external drive.

    Hope it helps,
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    My seagate 7200.4 hard drive is fast and quiet. I'd recommend the 7200 as that will increase the performance of disk based tasks like booting up, Photoshop and such

    seagate makes great drives and I recommend them highly
  4. zw-gator macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2005
    I'd go with the 500GB Blue @ 5400 RPM

    I wouldn't buy an SSD until the capacity doubles and the prices drops in half.
  5. mbpcron macrumors member


    Jun 23, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    I too have a 7200 RPM drive

    Everything is faster. Even VMWare. Quiet and energy efficient. Why waste time with a 5400 ?
  6. fibrizo macrumors 6502


    Jan 23, 2009
    Having tested both, the only reason I went with 5400 rpm hitachi was the performance increase was mild (definitely there, but difference of 5.8->5.9 in win 7 bench) But I noticed my battery life was worse. In checking the System profiler, the average drain would be -1100s with the 7200 rpm seagate vs the hitachi 5400 rpm which would be consistently -900s.

    I also notice that the over all time I could use it would be 6+ hours vs 5+ for the 7200 rpm.

    I would also not do the WD blue since the power efficiency is not as good as the hitachi (according to all their own specs)

    So It depends on you, if you are mostly plugged in, and the mild drop in battery life to 5:15-5:30 doesn't bother you but you want performance and a large amount of storage, then the 7200 rpm for you.

    If you are a battery life person, and don't mind a slightly slower drive I would get a hitachi 500gb 5400rpm for about 6:15 battery life by my testing.

    This is on a 2.26ghz 13 UMBP.
  7. subalou1 macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2009
    New York
    I originally had the 7200 and it was so loud that I returned it within 2 days for a 5400. Now, this could have been an isolated bad drive as I have no experience with others but I can't tell the difference in speed between the two.
  8. paulyras macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2006
    Too lazy to look it up right now, but I believe tom's hardware and others did a head to head. The Scorpio blue 5400 did VERY well had significantly better battery life.

    I just upgraded my uMBP to the Scorpio blue and love it. That said, someone above mentioned that was what they used for stock 500gb 5400 drives on the mbp. Is that true? I thought I had heard they were toshibas, which had horrible reviews. Not 100% sure though.

    Good luck.
  9. fibrizo macrumors 6502


    Jan 23, 2009
    I did do all the research when I noticed my battery life shorter with the 7200 rpm seagate. I read the tom's hardware review a while back, but that review is rather old now. This information is all taken from the manufacturer's specs

    Seagate Momentus 7200.4 specs
    Seek power (typical) 2.2 watts
    Read power (typical) 2.1 watts
    Write power (typical) 2.2 watts
    Idle mode, low power (typical) 0.69 watts
    Standby mode 0.20 watts (typical)***
    Sleep mode 0.20 watts (typical)***

    Seagate Momentus 5400.6 specs
    Seek power (typical) 1.54 watts
    Read/write power (typical) Read: 1.40 watts; Write: 1.78 watts
    Idle mode, low power (typical) 0.67 watts
    Standby mode 0.20 watts (typical)***
    Sleep mode 0.20 watts (typical)***

    Western Digital Scorpio Black 7200rpm
    Read/Write 2.50 Watts
    Idle 0.85 Watts
    Standby 0.25 Watts
    Sleep 0.15 Watts

    Western Digital Scorpio Blue 5400rpm
    Read/Write 2.50 Watts
    Idle 0.85 Watts
    Standby 0.25 Watts
    Sleep 0.10 Watts

    Hitachi 7k500 7200 rpm
    Seek (average) 2.0 Watts
    Read / Write (average) 1.8 Watts
    Low power idle (average) 0.69 Watts
    Standby (average) 0.2 Watts
    Sleep 0.1 Watts

    Hitachi 5k500.B 5400 rpm
    Seek (W, avg.) 1.7 Watts
    Read / Write (W, avg.) 1.4 Watts
    Low power idle (W, avg.) 0.5 Watts
    Standby (W, avg.) 0.2 Watts
    Sleep (W) 0.1 Watts

    Samsung Spinpoint M7 5400rpm
    Seek(typical) 2.5 W
    Read/Write(typical 2.5 W
    Low Power Idle(typical) 0.85 W
    Standby(typical) 0.25 W
    Sleep(typical) 0.2 W

    Toshiba MK5056GSY 7200rpm (newest drive)
    Seek Power 2.3 watts
    Read/Write Power 2.1 watts
    Low Power Idle 1.0 watts
    Standby Power 0.16 watts
    Sleep Power 0.13 watts

    Toshiba MK5065GSX and MK6465GSX (500 and 640gb 5400 rpm)
    Seek Power 1.85 watts
    Read/Write Power 1.5 watts
    Low Power Idle 0.55 watts
    Standby Power 0.18 watts
    Sleep Power 0.15 watts

    Take what you will. I find the hitachi most efficient at 5400 rpm... and samsung the worst. WD doesn't win prizes for power efficiency or noise, but pretty fast
  10. just charlie macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2009
    I got a new HDD!

    Is it worth copying the contents of my current hard drive to the new one (using SuperDuper) instead of doing a fresh install? I got the MBP a week or so ago and haven't installed too much. I also have a full Time Machine backup on a USB hard drive - is that a better option to restore from?
  11. fibrizo macrumors 6502


    Jan 23, 2009
    I personally used carbon copy cloner myself, and it worked great. But you could do a clean install and then restore from time machine. Depends on if you have firewire to connect the old drive I guess.
  12. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    Numbers are not everything, remember!

    If you compare power consumption, you should compare two drives that have equal workload profile, not like "both drives do as many seconds work", because faster drive gets more work done on the same amount of time and this (equal amount of seconds) is only comparing what can be read from spec; more Watts equals more heat, and the results should correlate perfectly.

    If you compare power consumption using equal workload profile, as in "both drives do the same amount of work", you should first notice that the faster drive completes the job faster than the slow drive. While this is what you would have expected, you should continue that thought and notice that while the slower drive does 100% working cycles, the faster drive might only do 75% work and 25% idling. Let's calculate what this means for some job that takes 100 seconds to complete on the slower drive:

    100% of 1.8W and 0% of 0.7W = 1.80W
    75% times 2.1W and 25% of 0.7W = 1.75W

    So in fact in this theoretical scenario the faster drive not only completed the job 25% faster but also consumed slightly less power! Naturally this is not a real-world example but should roughly demonstrate the benefit of using faster drive. Of course, if you want to do more work with the faster drive you would also be consuming more power, but that's the price you pay for being able to do that extra work which you would be unable to do with the slower drive.

    I've been using 7200rpm drives since 2003 when Hitachi first introduced the famous 7k60 drive. I noticed the benefits immediately.
  13. kryptonianjorel macrumors 6502

    Jul 3, 2009
    I see what you're trying to say but that's 100% Fuzzy Math. You can't just assume the 7200RPM drive finishes its work in 75% of the time of the 5400RPM drive, just like I can't assume one runs on fairy dust and the other on unicorn blood...You need to take the read/write speeds of both and do a real calculation.
  14. fibrizo macrumors 6502


    Jan 23, 2009
    I agree. A 7200 rpm drive does not finish faster enough to outweigh the differential in power drain. Considering that the drive doesn't spin down very often with regular use, I would say that most of the time the drive is spinning in active mode. Also the calculation would need to figure in seek times, average data usage patterns. Honestly the best way to do this is just install the drive and monitor power consumption doing the same tasks. and Change drives. I did actually do this.

    I had a 7200 rpm seagate installed. It was pretty fast. But I noticed battery life in the 5:30 range. I thought my laptop was defective, because I couldn't get any more battery life even with calibrations. I was even going to bring it into the store to have it checked and for them to call me insane. On a whim I replaced the original 160gb 5400rpm hitachi. I found that battery life went up to ~6:30. When I checked the about this mac screen I noticed the relative difference in power usage. Hence I decided since I go unplugged for long periods of time, I wanted longer battery life. I researched the 5400 rpm drives as well and found hitachi had the best numbers, and the fact that the stock 5400 rpm drive is hitachi and provided a long battery life made me go get one. I installed the 500gb 5400 rpm drive and I can say that my battery life is 6:15-6:30 now. (incidentally I tested with with the original 2gb of ram instead of the 4gb of ram I put in and got a few more minutes too, but only like ~10 mins)

    And yes the 7200rpm is faster. But in my normal usage, I have not noticed a huge difference, and my battery life is better. I'm not arguing that a 7200 rpm is not faster. I was running a seagate on in mine. I just found that I liked longer battery life for a slightly slower drive.

    To each their own, if you want speed, then go 7200rpm, as long as you don't mind taking a ~10% battery life hit, which doesn't bother most people especially if you're mostly plugged in.
  15. CJS7070 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 10, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    When I upgraded my stock drive to a 7200RPM 500GB drive, the only difference I noticed was that the new one was noticeably louder. Didn't notice a speed difference.

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