5400rpm vs. 7200rpm SATA (MBP)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by HecubusPro, Sep 1, 2006.

  1. HecubusPro macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2006
    Los Angeles
    I've noticed some differing opinions on the subject of hard drive speed in the Macbook Pro's. I'm going to buy one as soon as the Core 2 Duo's are implemented, which will hopefully be happing in the next few weeks, so I thought I would ask the opinion of as many people as possible. I'm leaning towards the 7200, but not so much that I won't change my mind for good reasoning.

    Here's what I've heard/read on these forums...

    The speed difference between the 5400 and the 7200 is negligible and barely noticeable at best.

    5400 does move slightly slower thereby saving battery power.
    Conversely, the 7200 runs faster, getting whatever job it may be doing done faster, thereby saving battery life as well.

    What is true here? What other factors should I consider before making my choice?

    Thanks for your help.
  2. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Drive size ... the biggest you can get, since a few MB/sec won't be noticed as much as not having enough space left.

    Cache size ... the largest cache you can find. If the data you need is in the cache it will transfer at the SATA bus speed. More cache better chance of data in the cache.

    Mechanical transfer speed/sustained transfer ... this is the actual speed of the drive when the data isn't in the cache, for notebooks not too big a range.
  3. macenforcer macrumors 65816


    Jun 9, 2004
    7200, its way faster. That is what I went with.
  4. #4
    if you don't care too much about a slightly faster speed get a bigger drive : 120gb 5400 instead of 100gb 7200 which are teh same price. I would rather have a larger hard drive at 5400 than a faster smaller one which isn't too noticeably faster. :)
  5. musicalmcs8706 macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2006
    Go with the 120. I have the 100 at 5400 and I haven't noticed any problems. Kinda wished I had gotten the larger drive but oh well.
  6. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2006
    Clemson, SC
    Personally, I opt for space over speed myself. I'd much rather have that extra 20 gigs than a faster rpm drive - especially for the same price. Some tasks will make the faster drive more useful, but for everyday stuff... eh.
  7. Fedge macrumors regular


    Aug 9, 2006
    One thought . . .

    Because the 5400 RPM drive rotates less every minute, there is less wear and tear on the drive. Theoretically, this means the the 5400 RPM drive will last longer than the 7200. Also, get the 120GB drive. You can never have to much space, and those extra 20GB are more usefull than a few hundred revolutions per minute.
  8. Mernak macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2006
    Kirkland, WA
    Unless you are doing video/music editing i doubt you would notice the difference. I had a 4200RPM drive at the same time I was using a 7200 and could barely notice a difference for everyday things.
  9. Marioz macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2006
    Rivarolo C.se, Italy
    You can see some difference moving some Gb files. In other cases you will not notice the best speed. I went to the 160Gb drive on my MBP. It is very fast and it uses less battery than the former 5400 120Gb I had originally.
  10. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    Excuse me while I try to rid my face of the serious amount of laughter I have to suppress.

    The 7200RPM drive will ALWAYS use more power than the 5400RPM drive for simple reasons. Even though the 7200RPM drive loads things faster, it doesn't stop running at 7200RPMs.

    I would probably invest in a Perpendicular Recording drive that is 5400RPM (120 or 160GB) that almost matches the speed of the current 7200RPM drives, while using considerably less power.
  11. Jiddick ExRex macrumors 65816

    Jiddick ExRex

    May 14, 2006
    Roskilde, DK
    I reside in Denmark like you. Where can you get a Perpendicular Recording drive at 2.5"?
  12. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    Currently you can get the Hitachi TravelStar 5K160 160GB drive at either Proshop or Getmore but even though they both had 20+ unites in stock, they are now all sold.

    Should have them back in stock soon though. Other retailers also list them but I haven't checked their status.
  13. DeVizardofOZ macrumors regular


    Jan 12, 2006
    Antarctica City;)
    Just a thought...

    I have been reading a lot about the pros and cons of what drives to get, here and there.

    Since I have friends who's APPLE internal HDDs have died on them, I would opt for an internal 100GB 7200 rpm drive, and use a 160+GB HDD to back up my data. So far no one has been able to prove to me, that a 7200 actually uses that much more juice... Since it is faster, it should do the job needed in a shorter timeframe = less energy, or not? It probably comes out about the same when counting watts...

    Having said that I would like to ask YOUR opinion on what kind of ext. HDD connection I should use with a MBP. FW800?, USB2?
    The 160 Gig Hitachi Travelstar certainly is an interesting alternative, both for internal (provided it fits, and external use.
    Thanks for commenting.
  14. tarjan macrumors regular

    Aug 11, 2006
    The speed difference, in a laptop, is generally not very noticable.

    7200 rpm has lower latency and CAN have a higher read speed, but that is not always the case due to the information density on the drive. The big benefit of a 7200 comes from running applications like databases or other random access applications. If you are looking at boot speed, loading large images or modifying video then you are looking for the highest throughput, and for that a higher density might actually be faster than just speeding up the drive, without any additional power draw.

    Speaking of power, the 7200 takes more energy, though it is a small difference. First, the 7200 rpm drive produces more heat while spinning steady state due to beefier bearings and a motor that can take the punishment. The heat is caused by drag in the system, and cannot be overcome. It does not matter how long it takes to access, as the drive continues to spin for the same amount of time based on how you set your energy saving properties, think about it does the drive stop spinning immediately after accessing some data? Here is the killer though, speeding up and slowing down. Imagine going out on your bicycle, and speed to 15mph, then stop. Then speed to 20mph, then stop. Then speed to 25mph.... It takes vastly more energy to hit 25 than it did to hit 15 or 20. It also takes LONGER to speed up to full speed, which could potentially slow down your overall throughput in a situation where you are not plugged in.

    That being said, a 120gb 5400 vs a 120gb 7200 rpm drive where size and disk config is the same will always turn out that the 7200 is "faster" when plugged into a wall. Problem is it is much more complex than that in the drive. How many disks? Density of information? How is the info stored? etc. (and is it a 1:1 RLL or 1:4 mfm :) Or am I kinda setting my age with that comment?)
  15. HecubusPro thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2006
    Los Angeles
    Wow. That's quite an explanation and an interesting analogy. Very well explained. Thank you.

    I'm thinking of getting the LaCie 250GB FW800/400 USB2 drive. I'd rather have a drive that takes advantage of my FW800 port for the MBP than a USB2 port.

    I'm just telling you what I've heard others say. Not everyone is an expert like people in Denmark.:p

    I will look into this. And thanks everyone for your counsel. I really appreciate your thoughts. Even the sarcastic ones. :)
  16. DeVizardofOZ macrumors regular


    Jan 12, 2006
    Antarctica City;)
    thanks tarjan...

    The last part is something for a pro:p but me only a user;) haha. Thanks anyway for taking your time. Same goes for HECUBUS PRO...
  17. XP Defector macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2006
    I'm going to buy one of those 160GB Hiatchi SATA's, more speed, bigger capacity and less energy.
  18. Platform macrumors 68030


    Dec 30, 2004
    This is it ;)
  19. Joko macrumors 6502


    Jan 30, 2008
  20. InSaNeCyAnUr macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2007
    Quebec, Canada
    The topic is 2 years old:D
  21. super98111 macrumors member

    Mar 26, 2008
    I have 7200 too. But it really depends on what you need.
  22. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Everything else being equal, a 7200 RPM drive would be 33.33% faster than a 5400 RPM drive. But everything else is not equal. Two other factors are: 1. Data density. Newer, higher capacity drives store more data per track, which means that for every rotation of the drive more data can be read or written. 2. Drives slow down as they get full. The reason is that the tracks on the outside of the drive are longer than the ones near to the centre, and therefore can hold more data at the same density.

    So if you find two 200 GB drives, one 7200 and the other 5400, the 7200 will be faster. But if you compare a 200 GB 7200 RPM and a 320 GB 5400 drive, the 320 GB will be overall a bit slower when both are empty, but its speed will go down much less as you fill it with data. And of course there comes the point when your 200 GB drive is full, and the 320 GB still has 120 GB available.
  23. newmakkie macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2008
    Saudi Arabia
    Stupid Question.


    New MacBook Pro user here.

    May I ask a stupid question?

    I ordered the 180GB 7200rpm HD. But, me being me, I always like to check the specs in the actual machine to make sure it is actually what I ordered.

    Dopey, I know.

    Where does one find the speed of your HD on the MacBook Pro?

    I can find the make/model number of the HD (It's a Hitachi HTS722020K9SA00 Media, and yes, I know I can google it), it's capacity, and all other tech specs on it, but I can not find it's speed listed anywhere.
  24. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
  25. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Well the 7200RPM also produces more heat which heats up the battery and thereby decreasing capacity. It's a really insignificant difference, but it is there.

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