5400rpm vs. 7200rpm

ahdickter

macrumors 6502
Jun 12, 2011
293
0
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Some people will claim that there is a noticeable speed increase, but I find there isn't a huge speed bump. You're better off getting an HDD with an SSD cache like the Seagate Momentus XT.
 
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Big-TDI-Guy

macrumors 68030
Jan 11, 2007
2,606
13
Depends on what you do, but I don't believe the additional power used by a 7200rpm drive outweighs the performance boost it provides. I've got a tiny mountain of 5400 drives that have been replaced by their faster cousins.

That said, solid state puts platters to shame in terms of speed and power consumption. At the expense of cost, obviously.
 
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Xcallibur

macrumors 6502a
Jul 24, 2011
515
1
Manchester
It'll probably be worth waiting for as long as possible to get an SSD if your buying a fast storage drive.
 
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throAU

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2012
5,808
2,999
Perth, Western Australia
Yup, very much depends what you do. Sequential reads or writes a 7200 won't be much faster, but if your disk is rather fragmented, or you are accessing lots of small files, then 7200 will be a bit faster.

Most of a disk's IO time when accessing small files is rotational latency (i.e., waiting for the sector of the file to rotate into position under the drive's head), and a 7200 is say 30% faster in that respect.


But.... that is considering equal size drives.

A 5400rpm drive that is 1tb in size will probably be faster than a 7200rpm 500gb drive because the first half of the disk is faster, and on a 1tb drive the 500gb worth of files will all be in the first half of the disk.

If you're willing to get a bigger drive and keep it under 50-60% full, it will be faster than a drive of the same speed but near max capacity storing the same amount of data.

see here:

http://macperformanceguide.com/Storage-WhyYouNeedMoreThanYouNeed.html


Given that 5400rpm drives are generally larger, the difference isn't so clear cut. If you're looking to keep a 7200 rpm drive with heaps of free space, go for it. But if you're going to be pushing to fit your data into a 7200, and a 5400rpm drive will give you a lot more free space, the 5400 may well be faster.
 
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ayeying

macrumors 601
Dec 5, 2007
4,549
11
Yay Area, CA
I noticed a big increase in performance using a 7200RPM hard drive vs a 5400RPM drive. Maybe using virtual machines has something to do with it though?
 
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throAU

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2012
5,808
2,999
Perth, Western Australia
I noticed a big increase in performance using a 7200RPM hard drive vs a 5400RPM drive. Maybe using virtual machines has something to do with it though?
Possibly, if you are thin provisioning your VM disks, they will get fairly fragmented as they grow - and higher rpm drives are quicker at moving to different file fragments.

For maximum Fusion disk performance, do not thin provision disks ("allocate all disk space now" or similar in the disk setup).

Not sure what the option is in parallels or virtual box, but the same theory applies.
 
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