7200rpm Drives - 13inch Unibody Macbook

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by helix21, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. helix21 macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2009
    Posting this in the macbook pro section deliberately because the unibody 13 inch macbook is essentially a 13"MBP

    I have about 10GB free in my standard 5400rpm 160GB harddrive and am now thinking of moving to a 7200rpm 320GB one. Few questions:

    1. How much of an impact will this have on performance? Would this make a significant one?

    2. Can anyone suggest any known 'good'/reliable 7200rpm drives?

    3. How much of an impact will this have on the battery life? I get good 4 hours currently on it and really like that I dont need to carry the powercord into school for the odd lectures.

    And I intend to clean install snow leopard on the new drive. Will need any formatting of sorts or is it just connect and install from drive? I then plan on using the 160GB as a backup one.
  2. Mumford macrumors regular


    Oct 8, 2006
    Altadena, CA
    1: performance will improve for anything disk related. Data transfer rates will be higher due to the higher rotational velocity. You'll notice apps starting faster, things like that.

    2: I hear good things about the WD Green series.

    3: can't give exact numbers, but battery life will definitely go down. I'd be surprised if it went any lower than 3.25 - 3.5 hours.

    4: if you're going to do a clean install of SL, the installation process will take care of formatting it.
  3. helix21 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2009
    Thanks. Never heard of the green series - mainly blue, back and seagate momentous. From some quick searching, the momentous seems to be the better one.
  4. skye12 macrumors 65816


    Nov 11, 2006
    Austin, Tx
    My MB is not a new unibody, but the 7200 drives do provide
    a nice boost to performance. I recommend Other World Computing
    as they have some stats on their site and have good prices on HD's.

    I put a Seagate 7200 Momentus in and it works great. They is a slight
    vibration at times relative to the 5400. And then you can get an enclosure
    and make your old drive an external HD for storage/backup.
  5. bobnugget macrumors regular

    Nov 15, 2006
    Kent, England
    Note that if you want to keep power consumption down and preserve your battery life - get a slower high capacity drive. They are nearly as quick as the faster, lower capacity ones. A 500 GB 5400rpm drive gets nearly the same speeds (about 3 MB/s slower avg, 2 ms slower seek, 1 MB/s slower burst - you probably won't notice it) as a 320 GB 7200rpm drive. A 5400rpm 320 GB drive will also be much faster than your 160 GB 5400rpm one!

    Stats using HD Tach: WD & Seagate 5400rpm 500 GB vs WD 7200rpm 320 GB

    I've had issues with a couple of Momentus drives and my unibody MacBook, but not everyone else has, so I wouldn't say it's dangerous. I've swapped to a 500GB Scorpio Blue.
  6. helix21 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2009
    Thanks that is useful input. 500GB drives are more expensive (obv), but if the difference in speed is minimal then I reckon that would be the better option. Which one would you recommend?
  7. SDAVE macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2007
    Get a Hitachi 7200RPM drive @ 500GB. Sounds like I'm working for Hitachi here, but this drive is newer and better than the Seagate.

    It's only $99 @ Frys.com
  8. specops macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2007
    I have the seagate 7200 500gb in mine and it works great. Doesnt make any loud sounds either. I got mine from Bestbuy with my discount. If you have a friend who works at bestbuy see if they can get you one. That way you can return it if you have any problems.

    Oh and yeah you will notice a 10-20% performance increase, nothing to amazing. Battery life i never noticed a change so yeah.
  9. bobnugget macrumors regular

    Nov 15, 2006
    Kent, England
    I usually go for (and would recommend) 5400rpm WD Blue drives - although the WD Green will apparently give better battery life. It does appear that the equivalent seagate drives are faster, but I have had issues with them in the past - there was certainly some incompatibilty between the drives and NVidia chipsets paired with OS X (they worked fine in Windows) when I was using them. However, plenty of other people have had no issues with them, so they could be a good option too!

    If you can afford a 7200rpm 500 GB drive - that would be the best option! If not, I'd go for 5400rpm 500 GB, then 7200rpm 320 GB (although in the UK, the 5400rpm 500 GB only costs about 10% more than the 7200rpm 320GB, so I'd go for the 500 GB if it was affordable)
  10. Revelation78 macrumors 68000


    Dec 18, 2008
    North Carolina
    I also have a 7200RPM Seagate 500Gb drive. I've loved it ever since I put it in. I'm sure there's a hit on the battery, though I never really noticed it or payed enough attention to it. Performance wise, things are a little more peppy - it's nothing to scream OMG about, though. I notice the most performance increase when I play games, as one would expect.

    I've heard good and bad about Seagate, WD, Hitachi, etc... Regardless of the one you buy, get it from a reputable seller - preferrably one with a laxed return/exchange policy.
  11. xlii macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2006
    Millis, Massachusetts
    I put a 5400rpm WD Scorpio Blue Drive 500GB drive in my 13" MBP and I like it a lot. I'd recommend whatever drive you get... get a 500 GB one. The increase in price over a 320 GB drive is minor for the increase in disk space. You can never have too much disk space, girlfriends, or money... just ask Tiger.

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