Any significant downsides in going w/ 5400rpm vs. 7200rpm HDDs?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by SteveMcQ, Oct 21, 2005.

  1. SteveMcQ macrumors member

    Sep 5, 2005
    Looking into getting a 15"PB right now w/ a 100GB HDD. Is there a more significant difference that I'm missing from going with the 5400rpm over the 7200rpm?

    I'll only be doing basic Photoshop work, word-processing, so I'm not going to be very demanding of the system. I just wanted to be sure I wasn't missing out on some technical know-how in making my decision. Whether the speed increase is worthy of another $100 basically.

    And for those suggesting an iBook instead given my needs, thanks, but I have my eyes on the PB. I'd prefer something as "future-proof" as possible and I just want a PB. Better to have more than you need than to be wanting what you don't have.


    And as for the switch in memory: How much does another stick of 512MB RAM that's tested to be compatible w/ PBs run? I'd prefer to go through NewEgg and with Crucial, but I'm having problems accessing the site for some reason.
  2. Lacero macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
    Heat from 7200 rpm HDs is probably the biggest issue, moreso than battery life.
  3. shadowmoses macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2005
    In my opinion the speed increase is not worth the extra $100, it will hardly be noticable, save the $100 and spend it on some RAM or something

  4. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    It might not matter, but the general consensus of what I've read is that boot and load times are noticeably faster with the 7200, but, of course, you won't have two PBs side by side to notice the relative speed of those things. But - if it were me - I'd spend the $100 on the faster drive. But only a fool would do something just because I'd do it. ;)
    I bought my 1GB stick from OWC and was very happy with it. Looks like ~US$140 for 1GB, ~US$50 for 512MB.
  5. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    I've got a 5400RPM hard drive in my Powerbook and it's plenty fast for me. A huge improvement over the 4200RPM in my iBook.

    And I'm not sure how boot time is really effected. My PM G5 has 2 7200 RPM SATA drives, and I've been bored and raced my PowerBook and PowerMac at bootup several times, and each time, the PowerBook wins by a couple seconds ;)
  6. maya macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2004
    somewhere between here and there.
    That doesn't sound right at all. :eek: ;) :D

    The whole reason for a portable is battery life. That said I would stick with the 5400 rpm. If performance is what you are looking for then 7200 rpm is the way to go. You call really.

    Formatting my 5400 rpm drive now, oh so slow. ;) :(
  7. Danksi macrumors 68000


    Oct 3, 2005
    Nelson, BC. Canada
    If you have lots of RAM, doesn't that reduce the usage of the hard-drive, generally speeding things up?
  8. maya macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2004
    somewhere between here and there.
    depends what program stores data on ram, such as photoshop, safari, quicktime, etc... They store temp data on ram, and the more you have the better, if not no biggy it accesses the HD. :)
  9. tsk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2004
    The two quantities basically go hand in hand. If the HD uses more battery, it's going to generate more heat.

    That said, I have yet to see any strong evidence that the 7200 RPM drives use more battery or generate more heat. In general the 7200 RPM are the latest and greatest technology so they should have very good power consumption.

    A 7200 RPM drive should give you a performance boost over 5400 RPM. However, the performance gap between 4200 RPM and 5400 RPM is much bigger. So you are paying a premium for the 7200 RPM. It's all a question of how much you value the extra boost you'll see.
  10. Chrispy macrumors 68020


    Dec 27, 2004
    There will not be much of a difference between the two drives unless you are using heavy duty video editing or photo apps without an external hard drive. In my opinion, your money would be better spent on a nice external firewire 800 hard drive.
  11. alexeismertin macrumors regular


    Jun 2, 2005
    Bristol, UK
    go with the 7200rpm option.

    The biggest difference I noticed when messing about with a Mac Mini was adding a 7200rpm drive. I also overclocked the 1.25 to a 1.5 & then added 1GB ram but the drive was the best/easiest performance booster.

    The cost of the 7200rpm is well worth the extra money in terms of the performance gain, the hypothetical issue of heat doesn't stack up - why would Apple offer it if its specs didn't allow it to be installed a PB. I never encountered any heat issues installing 7200rpm drive in a mini.

    The relative gains being quoted here from a 4200rpm vs 5400rpm vs 7200rpm are also rubbish - with a 7200rpm drive you WILL notice the substantial difference.

    Get the drive now & you can always add 3rd party Ram later.

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