7200 rpm vs 5400rpm, how much of a difference?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by acrahm, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. acrahm macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2007
    i am upgrading my MBP with a 320gb HD, but not sure on the speed, for $60 more is it worth it to get the 7200rpm? i will be doing mostly everyday stuff on the notebook with some final cut pro/photoshop/website editing....
  2. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    YES! You will hear some people say no but yes. There is a difference.

    If you take a computer with the exact same specs, and the exact same image, and one has a 5400RPM drive and one has a 7200RPM drive the 7200 will be noticeably faster.

    I am always taking our machines at work and upgrading to 7200 drives when they become available because of the difference. I have a 7200 drive in my mac, its worth it.
  3. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    This is a function of platter densities. If all things are equal, then a 7200 will be faster on most accounts.
  4. galactic732 macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2008
  5. FuuFuu macrumors regular


    Jul 8, 2008
    it is indeed noticeably faster but thats not the only thing noticeable. depending on your specs on your laptop, since it orginally had a 5400 rpm in it, the processor has to work harder. it could possibly make the laptop hotter(it will make it hotter, just maybe not noticeable) or make a louder spinning noise from the hard drive.
  6. ohforfckssake! macrumors regular

    Aug 2, 2008
  7. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    IIRC people said a 250GB 5400rpm is faster than a 100GB 7200rpm because the disk slows down when it's more than 80% filled. now with 320GB 7200rpm disks available this is not really a problem. therefore i would go with the 7200.
  8. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Yeah, but now there's a 500 gig 5400 drive. :)

    This principal issue is platter density, which currently maxes at about 160 gigs/platter. Thus, the fastest drives per rpm should be at 160x1, 320x2, 500x3. Perhaps down the road we'll see higher densities.
  9. jaikob macrumors 6502


    Jul 1, 2008
    Freeland, MI
  10. KingYaba macrumors 68040


    Aug 7, 2005
    Up the irons
  11. acrahm thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2007
    the drive storage is the same (320gb)
    how much do 500gb 5200rpm run for?

    my setup is
    2.16 C2D
    will have 4gb ram
  12. dollystereo macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    You MBP tops at 3GB (You can put 4GB but it will only see 3.3)
    macsales.com is a good place to luck or transintl.com (here is cheapear)
    GEt the 500GB drive or the 320 7.200 (get the Hitachi).
    Look at barefeats, there is some comparision.
  13. kntgsp macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2004
    If you're going to be spending that much money on a 320GB or even 500GB drive, just buy an SSD and use an external for data.

    Unless you absolutely have to have all the space internal. You can find the 64GB ones for ~$250 or less. It'll be faster, quieter, cooler and suck less power than the bigger HD. The SATA II second series were released a month or so ago, and they are much faster than the first series. Your programs will boot faster, the OS will boot faster, etc. etc. And they no longer have the slowdown problems with write speed.

    Use a small external (Passport) drive to lug around large data.
  14. gorilly macrumors member

    May 30, 2008
    London, UK
  15. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    First, if you haven't maxed out your RAM, the $60 will give you more benefit if you invest into memory instead of hard drive speed. 7200 will be somewhat faster than 5400 (if the disks are otherwise identical; a bigger disk will be faster), but I would personally go for size instead of speed, so I would compare to the price of a slower 500 GB drive.
  16. woodlandtrek macrumors member

    Jan 21, 2008
    I don't think the 500 GB drive is an option for the MBP yet. It is a 3 platter design which makes it too thick for the space available in the MBP. (The 500 GB drives are 12.5mm, the MBP only has room for 9.5mm)
  17. Neil321 macrumors 68040


    Nov 6, 2007
    Britain, Avatar Created By Bartelby
    The Hitachi Travelstar 500GB is 12.5mm correct but this WILL fit in a 17'' MBP, The samsung spinpoint M6 500GB is 9.5mm thick so will fit in any MBP or MB
  18. Bad Paper macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2007
    graphite clamshell
    always use at least 7200rpm for your boot drive, such a tremendous difference

    though i don't particularly mind the 5400 in this Macbook, but it's worlds better than the 4200 in my iBook

    yes 7200s use more power, so there's that, and they *can* generate more heat for really intensive stuff, but since they seek/read/write faster, they're done sooner than 5400s on most tasks, so they cool sooner again. summary: in general, they aren't usually hotter than 5400s; just watch out for audible whine
  19. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    When I put 3GB of known good RAM, from another MBP, in my 2.16GHz MBP it would not even POST. The only way it will boot is with no more than 2GB installed. I think that only the C2D MBPs will support having 2x2GB installed with only 3.3GB recognized.
  20. atlanticza macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2008
    Cape Town
    Since you're an active Final Cut Pro'er, the faster drive will certainly make a noticeable difference.
  21. Mr. lax macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2007
  22. FireFish macrumors member


    Sep 12, 2007
    Do The Right Thing!


    I went ALL OUT on my MBP & it was the best thing I EVER DID!!

    2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo processor - 15" w 200 GB HD @ 7200 RPM & 4 GB RAM (i added that myself later from 2gb).

    It's a beast - got it in November 2007.

    In December, a girl I know got a similar config but AGAINST MY ADVICE got suckered into the 250 GB HD @ 5400 RPM.

    Any time she opens iPhoto, iMovie, Photo Shop, ANY data intensive application, she pays for it & is PISSED she didn't listen to me, sacrifice the 50 GB of storage & throw down a few more bucks.

    Remember this very clearly:

  23. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    So your real advice is to take the 5400 rpm HD and spend the 60$ on a good party with fancy cocktails? :D

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