5400 versus 7200 HDD?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mrdm, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. mrdm macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2010
    I'm considering upgrading the stock 5400 RPM Hitachi drive in my macbook pro to the Seagate momentus XT (7200 RPM) hybrid drive. I'm curious about the experiences of those who may have done a similar upgrade:

    1. Is there a noticeable difference in performance? I seem to do a lot of waiting for the HDD in my day to day usage and I suspect the increased spindle speed will be helpful.

    2. Any noticeable tradeoff on battery life (>~10% or so)?

    3. Should I expect an increase in heat or vibration?

    Finally, for those using the momentus XT I've been reading about issues with the dreaded beachball waiting for the drive to spin up. This lag would obviously defeat the purpose of upgrading and I'd like to hear about any personal experiences in this regard with the drive.

    Thanks in advance for any comments.
  2. greenchiliman macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2010
    1. I went from the stock 5400 to a non-hybrid Seagate 7200. I didn't notice an amazing difference. Although, I must ask, how much ram are you running? The HD usually isn't a bottleneck.

    2. Didn't notice anything and can't for the life of me understand why people think they will see hours of difference of battery life from different hard drives. I know, this coming from a 3 post wonder...

    3. I haven't noticed much but I don't think I notice as much as other posters.
  3. d4nn0 macrumors member


    Dec 15, 2005
    I agree with greenchiliman, the HDD doesn't seem to be the bottleneck after completing the same upgrade. If you're solely looking for a performance upgrade and not just more space, I've heard that upping the ram/switching to dual channel is more helpful (just waiting on mine to be shipped!)

  4. TZRaceR6 Guest


    Jun 8, 2010
    United Kingdom
    HD is a bottleneck if it is full and runs at only 5400rpm. Even not full, the Apple based HDD's are really slow.

    I just bought the wife a brand new 2010 13" 2.4 MBP. I used it for 5 minutes before ripping out the hard drive and RAM. Put in a 320GB WD Black Scorpio 7200rpm and then added a 4GB chip of RAM, to up her RAM to 6GB.

    Having come from a 3 year old MacBook, she loves the new Pro with my settings.

    Best bang for buck upgrade is the HDD. Then worry about RAM.
  5. Meever macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2009
    On a modern system the bottle neck is ALWAYS the hard drive. Ram won't do squat for bootup or opening programs.
  6. magamo macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2009
    From what I heard and read, HDDs are the bottleneck of personal computers in most cases. I know from my experience how 5400rpm and 7200rpm HDDs make little difference in everyday use if you're a non-tech savvy user. But that's just because they're all slow when compared to other components in laptops, which is the very reason HDDs are the bottleneck. Pretty much every tech magazine and website praises the advent of commercial solid state drives because it was major progress in resolving this bottleneck.
  7. kernkraft macrumors 68020


    Jun 25, 2009
    I have the non-hybrid Momentus with the drop-sensor. Apparently, it draws less than 1% more than a standard drive. I haven't noticed any vibration in my 13" unibody MBP, but it is certainly faster than whatever Apple put into the 15" unibody as a fast spinning drive.

    In fact, on this computer the HDD upgrade fixed the beach ball problem for me. I was considering the hybrid drive but in the end I wanted a cheap solution. You have to admit that these 7200rpm Seagate drives (but even the Scorpios) are very cheap. MOst importantly, once your applications loaded and your files are open, the difference between an SSD and a HDD is not that great. In fact, some people who work in graphic design prefer HDDs. I think fast-loading apps and quick boot-ups change people's perception (wrongly) that their computer is significantly faster, whereas it isn't. You also have to face the speed degradation with the SSD part in the hybrid drive.
  8. warrmr macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2010
    1) My boot times have halved and app loading times are now no longer than 1 bounce. Everything else is pretty much the same. Overall it feels snappyier. Possibly could be due to the fresh install of snowlepord.

    2) I have the standard unibody MB not the pro and my battery live is around 4 hours.

    3) It runs lots cooler than the standard drive. The drive is no noisier than the old drive and there is no real noicable vibration. You can hear it if you put your head close to the laptop but other that that no issue.


    Unibody MB
    4gb ram
    Seagate momentus XT 320gb
    SL 10.6
  9. koco macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2010
    Does the 7200 RPM drive make the system run too hot? I know they produce more heat, but not sure if its too much. They probably use more power too thus reducing battery run time.

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