5400 vs 7200, not an issue anymore ?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by digitalfrog, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. digitalfrog macrumors regular


    Nov 26, 2007
    I'm about to jump and purchase my first MBP and like many people, I hesitate between more space (320Gb/5400) or faster disk (200Gb/7200)

    Until recently, I would always have said: max out the ram, get the 7200 disk...

    But the conclusion of a recent Tom's hardware makes me wonder if indeed the recent 320gb hard disk have not caught up with the 7200rpm disks ?

    "All three [320Gb] drives are great performers and will only give you reason to complain if you purchased a 7,200 RPM hard drive, because these almost seem obsolete with availability of the latest 5,400 RPM generation......"

    Any feedback with *recent* disks welcome.


  2. M&M macrumors regular


    Jan 22, 2008
    Joliette, Quebec, Canada
    Maybe I'm wrong, but where do you get that the 320 is a 5400 disk?

    To Answer your question, I was in the same boat, I've ordered a MBP and I choose the 200GB/7200. in my opinion :

    1- You don't really get the full 320GB space.
    2- It will be a very thin difference between the 320 and the 250 once formated. I will go with an external bigger hard drive.

    It's my opinion, and I've had already experienced with 4200RPM, 5400 disk and I do LOVE the 7200.

    Go with full performance, with all the parts.
  3. richard.mac macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2007
    51.50024, -0.12662
    the difference between 320 and 250 GB will be the same on paper and the same when formatted (shown in binary).

    the 320 GB is 5200rpm drive and is the biggest 2.5 incher atm and as a consequence is the most expensive. i would go for the 200 GB 7200rpm... not as expensive anymore but is still faster then the 320 GB.
  4. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    1. More RPM is faster.
    2. More space is faster as well.

    The newer 2.5 hard drives, starting with the 250GB and now the 320GB, have higher data densities. That makes them faster in two ways compared to a 200GB: First, they can read more data for every rotation of the disk. Second, because they are bigger, they are less full, and when a disk is full you are forced to use the slower parts of the drive (bad benchmarks don't take this into account). Together, these two advantages compensate quite well for the higher RPM of a 200 GB drive.

    At some point in the future, you will get the same 320GB drive as 5400RPM and 7200RPM; when that is the case, the 7200RPM will be faster. At the moment, it isn't faster, because it is only available on smaller drives.
  5. digitalfrog thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 26, 2007
    This resonates well with my way of thinking too, it feels like purchasing a 320Gb *today* maybe indeed the way to go.

    Options will be different in a few months when new 7200rpm disks set the bar higher again.

  6. NKA macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2008
    In a few weeks the 500GB 5400 samsung spinpoint drives should be out. They may be expensive though. However there may also be price drop on the 320GB drives.

    Buy the mac with the 7200 option and then you can compare the speed difference yourself.

  7. Cuckoo macrumors 6502

    May 2, 2003
    The Netherlands - Utrecht
    it's very personal... for me it is:

    the times i've been using my macbook to the max has always been in plains, with no external power.... and that is where a 5400 rpm drive does better than a 7200
  8. Salty Pirate macrumors 6502

    Salty Pirate

    Oct 5, 2005
    kansas city
    Personally, I think the 4GB RAM is more important to system performance than the 7200 rpm disk.

    I have always been a max out the I/O guy, knowing that the bottleneck was in the mechanical disk, but 4GB allows so much buffering of programs that they launch super quick after being loaded once. So yes, initial boot and first time launches are say 20% slower on my 200 GB 5400 rpm system, but the only time I reboot is after a system update, so that is not really an issue for me.

    I honestly have no complaints speed wise with my penryn 2.4 GHz, 4 GB RAM and 200 GB 5400 rpm disk.

    I have seen benchmarks that indicate two things:

    A larger capacity disk with have excellent transfer rates because of increased areal density.

    A smaller capacity 7200 drive, while initially faster will slow down as it becomes full. A larger capacity disk may or may not suffer from the same problem.

    The 4 GB memory allows increased performance. Program cache and less likely to swap. My page outs are perpetually zero.:D

    My perception has changed. I think the best bet is max 4GB RAM and the largest capacity 5400 rpm disk you can get, that is until new faster 7200 disks come out.
  9. tanjacob macrumors member

    Dec 14, 2007
    I thought about this too when I considered my MBP upgrade options. I didn't foresee that I'd be filling up my MBP HDD (got 1.4TB of external storage for all that stuff) so I went for the speed. 320GB vs 200GB is only an extra 120GB... which is completely wiped out by a 1TB drive.
  10. Ryox macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2007
    I think thats very true, but in some instances I still find the 7200 having a slight edge over the 5400 if its not too full up.
  11. kuebby macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2007
    1- Every HD loses "advertised" space when formatted.
    2- This makes no sense.

    Personally, I just upgraded my MBP HD and I went with the 250GB 5400rpm. It offers the best value for the money. Since the 320 is so new it commands a bit of a premium as does a 200GB 7200rpm. 7200RPM also increases heat which I certainly did not want any more of in my already-hot MBP.
  12. tmoney468 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 13, 2007
    I just ordered the Samsung 320GB 5400 drive for $149, which I thought was a great price. I looked at that Toms Hardware chart and it said that this Samsung drive outperformed my Hitachi 100GB 7200 drive, which it probably does.

    All though the capacities are a lot different, I expect the newer drive to be faster and cooler than the one I have in there now. I won't be able to swap out the drives until the weekend, but I should have a good feel of the difference by next week.
  13. blackeyed macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2008
    is the 200GB an older model?

    what about the standard 200GB harddisk that comes with the mbp? isn't it a 2.5 drive as well or is it somehow slower?
  14. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    MBP are 2.5" 5400 drives.
  15. Ranchdip macrumors member

    Feb 6, 2008
    I ordered the 7200RPM for speed. Now what you guys are saying is that the newer 320GB drives are as fast as the 200GB 7200RPM drives? This is very important to me because I'll be streaming 32-64 audio channels in Logic from this hard drive. It's always been the standard to use a minimum 7200RPM drive with audio production.

    Just curious.
  16. tmoney468 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 13, 2007
  17. mashinhead macrumors 68030

    Oct 7, 2003
    waht happens if you don't. I want to know because i'm getting ready to buy one this month to use with logic. I was waiting for the 500gb ones but those are 5400 rpm. But along with that they are releasing 250 gb 7200 rpm drivess. (them being samsung). am i going to see a difference.
  18. lekun macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2006
    I would be quite impressed if people could actually notice a difference between a 7200 RPM 200 GB drives and 320 GB 5400 RPM. I have had both in my MacBook Pros and the day to day difference was impossible to distinguish.

    However, I can easily distinguish the extra 120 GB.
  19. digitalfrog thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 26, 2007
    has anyone benchmarked the various 320gb disks (7200 rpm's versus 4500) ?

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