5400rpm or 7200rpm

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by emcham, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. emcham macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2009
    Hello everybody,

    I have been reading this forum and found it very informative! I am about to purchase a pricier 15" macbook pro, and was planning on getting the harddrive rpm upgrade, but after reading how problematic the current 7200rpm drives are, I am no longer sure. Do you guys think I should get it and then deal with the issues as they come (potentially a recall? replacement?) or just order the less problematic 5400rpm drive?

  2. Richard1028 macrumors 68000

    Jan 8, 2009
    Why do you even need the 7200rpm drive? Get the 5400 and apply the savings to a SSD next year.
  3. dacreativeguy macrumors 68020

    Jan 27, 2007
    I put a 7200 rpm drive in an old powerbook 12" to replace the 4200 rpm drive and it made a big difference. But I don't think going from 5400 to 7200 in a Core 2 Duo SATA machine is going to make that much of a difference.
  4. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Jan 17, 2008
    7200RPM drives aren't faster in laptops. If you're interested in speed, Intel is releasing it's second generation of SSD's within the next two weeks. The prices are rumored to be competitive with hard drives, and the speed is second to none.
  5. Shake 'n' Bake macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Mar 2, 2009
    7200 RPM is faster, but will likely drain the battery a bit faster than a 5400 RPM drive.
  6. drake macrumors 6502a


    Jul 5, 2005
    Haven't heard anyone ask this question in...oh...at least a day.
  7. NovemberWhiskey macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2009
    If you do choose the 7200 RPM HDD option, you can expect to have the Click-beep issue. You should be prepared to deal with that (exchange/return).
  8. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    The OVERALL performance increase of a 7200 over a 5400 is negligible.

    Oh sure if you run enough Benchmark programs you will find one or two that show the 7200 is blazingly faster than the 5400.

    They you spend extra money for the 720, and come back to say how it really doesn't seem faster.

    In the end you will have a lighter wallet, and bragging rights! :D
  9. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Booting up is faster on a 7200 drive, and so are other disk intensive applications. First time app starts are faster as well, as is copying files, etc. Tom's hardware has done a pretty in depth analysis of the most recent 7200 drives, and the heat and power difference between that and most 5400's are negligible.

    But with the efi firmware issue, I'd either get one from apple (overpriced) or hold off until they get that issue fixed.

    Love my seagate 7200.4 in my macbook collector's edition, btw...:)
  10. Razeus macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    I just upgraded my uMacbook Pro to a 7200RPM. Let me say this: The OS X experience is much much smoother and faster. Get it. I vouch for it.
  11. anthonyramos84 macrumors newbie


    Jun 27, 2009
    I upgraded my 5400RPM 320GB HDD to a 7200RPM 500GB HDD and I use my Macbook Pro really extensively and guess what...I don't notice any difference. Same start up, same shut down same run-time with applications.

    Like what was mentioned earlier, simply bragging rights.
  12. emcham thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2009
    thanks for all the replies. i do a lot of graphic editing and so on for work, a little gaming here and there, and this will be my first laptop(!), so i don't mind splurging a bit.

    i guess the main thing i have to weigh is the potentially small boost in speed against the click problems this one is known to have. or always getting a newer one down the line - again thanks for the recommendations. and i'm sure the 5400 is just fine.

    and drake, my apologies. i have read the old threads too, i'm just biased since i'm about to drop the cash. i have to say i have really taken a long time to decide on many aspects of this purchase.

    as for bragging rights... i'm a girl that usually is mistaken for not knowing anything about computers. so once in a while bragging rights wouldn't be so bad either! :)
  13. Freewayjim macrumors regular


    Aug 2, 2008
    Metro Atlanta
    I've been weighing a similar decision with regards to purchasing a new 17", thanks to everyone for the insight.
  14. antskip macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2009
    There's an excellent review of modern 5400rpm and 7200rpm 2.5' HDD's here: http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/17010.
    Even the fastest HDD is a long way inferior in every aspect of operation to a good SSD. But SSD's are maximum 250GB at present. So if you need 500GB, you have to choose between the HDD's. The review above should help with the specifics.
  15. soukouss macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2009
    All the system is a very little bit slower with a 5400 than with a 7200.
    In my experience with a MBP 15" 2.53ghz, I have clearly feel the difference when I had to replace a "7200 hitachi" for the "stock 5400 hitachi", because of the EFI UPDATE issue.
    But agree with the fact that it's not a big deal.
  16. will0407 macrumors 6502a

    May 20, 2006
    I've got a 500GB western digital Blue 5400rpm and it seems just as fast as the 7200rpm hard drive that was in my imac
  17. MacAndy74 macrumors 65816

    Mar 19, 2009
    There's nothing in it. I'd save the $ and stick to the 5400 model - and I'm doing just that. ;)
  18. nohill macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2009
    I've been using 7k2 drives for years now ...

    ... and I am used to the overall quick response of these drives.

    I've ordered my TiBook with a 48 Gig 7.2 drive, followed up by AlBook with a 100 Gig 7.2 drive and am now on an Apple-supplied 500 Gig Seagate Momentus in a Mid-2009 MBP.

    All drives had to be tossed at one point and were replaced. When the drive in the AlBook died, there were no more 7.2k ATA drives available, so I went for a 320 Gig 5.4k drive. It was reasonably fast; but going back to 7.2 now, I enjoy the improved response during bootup and the launch of programs.

    It might well be possible that the higher speed causes inside temperatures to rise, aka speed up the self-destruction process – but I'm not too sure if 5.4k drives would have survived much longer than the 7.2k ones.

  19. bmcgrath macrumors 65816


    Oct 5, 2006
    London, United Kingdom
    7200 all the way! It just makes the computer much more speedy overall. Startup, apps, general system use, accessing docs, files, songs etc. You won't look back after getting a 7200 HDD unless you go SSD.
  20. jgo78 macrumors 6502

    Nov 11, 2008
    the 7200rpm have the famous 'beep', don't get a 7200 until this problem is addressed, go with 5400 or SSD
  21. Shawny D macrumors member

    Shawny D

    May 13, 2009
    I've had my 320 GB Western Digital Scorpio Black for 6 months now and I don't regret making the switch from the Scorpio Blue of the same capacity.

    As others have noted, OS and application boot-up is noticeably snappier (not SSD-snappy, but for the measly $15 premium over the Scorpio Blue, I'm very happy with my purchase.)

    As for the claimed clicking or "famous" beep :confused:, I have yet to experience either (knocks on wood).
  22. Shawny D macrumors member

    Shawny D

    May 13, 2009
  23. dudeitsjay macrumors regular

    Mar 26, 2009
    Comparing by just RPMs 5400 and 7200 is missing the details that make all the difference. Just because a HDD is 7200 doesn't necessarily mean its a faster HD than a 5400. You have to take into account buffer speeds, platter sizes, platter density, etc.

    Stop just saying "zomg my 7200 is much better" or "5400s and 7200s are all the same and unnoticeable in speed." If you're saying anything like these two statements, do the OP a favor and just don't post. Try giving us your harddrive model and a quick spec list including the model #, platter size/density, buffer rate/size, RPM speed. From there, you should mention the boot time differences, application loading time differences, transfer rates (both burst/short and long 300mb+), and the price you paid.

    Stop generalizing. I can't help but think half you guys don't know what the hell you're talking about because of it...

    Also, SSDs are only quick with burstspeed transfers. After the initial data burst, the transfer rate drops significantly and can easily be overpassed by a decent dense plattered 7200 16mb. SSDs are continuously upgrading and there is no set standard yet besides the SATA bridge. The ones suffering from what I'd call reverse turbo lag are the now still-not-so-cheap-per-gig SSDs you find on newegg and such. I'm seeing $300 for a 120gig SSD OCZ Agility right now. The ones without the reverse turbo lag, and overall much better improvements are like the supertalents Shawny posted. Needless to say, they are stupidly expensive and only idiots will pay that price, for now.

    Also, there is the question of power consumption and the benefits SSDs bring to this department. For now, they don't, particularly since they are inefficient and are constantly on (hence the fast bursts for quickloading apps and short transfers; While the SSD stays on sipping power, the HDDs would have to rev up, hence the slower initial transfer bursts). http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-hdd-battery,1955.html

    SSDs are a sick option if you've wiping your ass with benjamins. Otherwise, its simply just not an ergonomical and economical decision. It is for the enthusiasts. So back to HDDs, I'm interested in the person above who posted of his switch to Scorpio Black from Blue--What differences can you estimate in terms of times?

    Oh and OP, you might want to do a little more research. I am aware that some 5400RPMs are faster than some 7200RPMs, and also that some 5400RPMs take more energy than 7200RPMs. Its all in the details. I've never had issues with Western Digital's performance grade HDDs, and their warranty is pretty legit. Seagates are nice as well. Avoid Maxwells. Good luck finding what suites you best!
  24. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    Here is a good review comparing the Scorpio Black and the Scorpio Blue that discusses the differences

    Scorpio Blue and Black Review

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
  25. aleksandra. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 13, 2008
    Warsaw, Poland
    True but all of those affect speed very little if you compare to SSDs.

    Only idiots will buy the bad ones. The fastest SSDs are another story, although it may be worth waiting since they're still getting cheaper.

    This is a very, very bad recommendation. Tom's Hardware might be good for enthusiasts, but they're in no position to advice average users. For light users increasing RAM will make no difference (unless they had less than 2 GB to begin with), but SSD's benefits will be obvious in everyday use.

    As to the power efficiency, this article is over a year old. There's also a link to another test which shows some SSDs already are better than HDDs in this area. A lot has changed in the meantime (prices dropped around 3 times, speed increased, power usage decreased). Real-world results show people gain 15-30 minutes of battery life by using a decent SSD.

    To the OP: if you want speed don't bother looking for the fastest HDD, just get a standard one and upgrade to SSD later on (as in when they get acceptably cheap for you), as many people already said.

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