How much does 7200rpm HDD boost speed?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Michael CM1, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    I've got a 5400rpm HDD in my MacBook Pro -- see specs below. I really didn't think much of the slower speed compared to a desktop being a big deal back in the day, but now I'm thinking it is. It seems that many things across the board take a little longer to launch or load. I probably ruined my perception of speed by using my dad's brand new iMac, but I don't think my computer should trail his that much on just opening iPhoto or Safari.

    The lateral move on storage space -- keeping 320GB but bumping to 7200rpm -- would cost me about $90. I don't think a 500GB 7200rpm drive exists. I also don't want to drop $500+ on a SSD because I really can't and I might as well buy a Mac Mini at that point.

    Sooooo I'd appreciate any first-hand advice, or even third-hand advice.
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    There are currently two 500GB dHDDs with 7200rpm available, one by Seagate (Momentus 7200.4) the other one by Hitachi (Travelstar).

    I have the Seagate Momentus and previously had the 500GB Hitachi that came with my MBP (5400rpm).
    The 5400rpm HDD offered read and write speeds of up to 72MB/s (in benchmarks - xBench), the 7200rpm HDD offers 95MB/s in read and write department.

    Your 320GB 5400rpm drive will be even slower than the 500GB 5400rpm HDD, as the 500GB drive has more density and thus shorter ways for the read/write head result in faster access times.
  3. nufanec macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2005
    There are a couple of 500Gb 7200 RPM drives available. Seagate and I think Hitachi make some. The Seagate is the Momentus 7200.4 500Gb.

    Speed wise, there is a bit of a difference going from 5400 to 7200. Booting will be slightly faster and applications will launch faster. Differences are more noticeable if you are doing HD intensive tasks or using HD intensive applications. You would notice a bigger difference going to a 500Gb drive than keeping the same drive size due to higher data density on the platters.

    Beaten to it :p
  4. specops macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2007
    i have the 500gb 7200rpm seagate, i switched with the stock HDD that came with my 13uMBP. You will see about a 20% increase in speed on average.
  5. melman101 macrumors 68030

    Sep 3, 2009
    Won't he notice differences in vibrations + power?
  6. daneoni macrumors G4


    Mar 24, 2006
    very important question that i've been wondering about
  7. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    This has been debated frequently here on the board
    A search with MRoogle will show many threads

    Typical comments on 7200 performance
    Slightly faster speeds, though benchmarks and reviews question this

    More power consumption, less battery life
    More heat
    More vibration

    Typical comments on 5400 issues are the reverse
    Less power consumption, more battery life
    Less heat
    Less vibration

    Slightly slower speeds, thought benchmarks and reviews question this

    Some reviews
    Scorpio Blue and Black Review

    WD Scorpio Blue vs. Seagate Momentus
    This page is the "conclusions" but you can read the whole review

    All the pros and cons are subject to user bias and expectations and vary widely in actual experience

    Usually it comes down to personal preferences, brand loyalty and perceptions (i.e. that 7200 is much faster), but in real life the differences are essentially a wash (IMHO)

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
  8. babak macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2009
    I was doing some research on the available hard drives just recently as my drive needed to be replaced. I found out that most opinions about a noticeable speed boost were subjective i.e. people stating that "since I installed my 7200 Momentus all the apps are running faster" "PhotoShop is working better etc" :D
    In medicine this is called a placebo effect. You pay money for a better drive, you go through the process of replacing it yourself, you KNOW it has to be faster. Result, subjectively it seems to be running "a bit faster". This is similar to posts on auto forums stating that since replacing engine oil with an expensive synthetic one, mileage got better and the vehicle has more power :D

    Some tests that I found were they used objective data showed mostly no improvement, except in a very few instances. In fact in certain circumstances the 7200 drives were slower than certain 5400 drives (like WD 640).

    My personal conclusion, 7200 are not worth the slight increase in vibration and decrease in autonomy.
  9. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    I have the seagate 7200 and there are NO vibration issues at all.

    If the hd is seated correctly, there is no issue.
  10. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    id say 10%-20% faster constant read/writes. seek times will probably mirror those numbers too.

    how old is your current 5400rpm HDD? when i "upgraded" from my 7200rpm 100GB HDD to my 5400rpm 500GB HDD, i found the 5400rpm newer HDD to be faster in pretty much everything. two years does that to technology! ;)
  11. babak macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2009
    It's probably less the course of time in itself, but more a "data density" effect of bigger drives with same number of platters.
  12. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    yup, i was sort of implying the data density increases with the technologic advances too, though ;) (not that i speak clearly or with intent lol)
  13. Michael CM1 thread starter macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    I think my drive is about 1.5 years old. I think it was back when such a HDD would cost $180. Oh, how the prices drop.

    After reading the comments, I think I'll just stick it out with this thing. Power isn't an issue since I don't un-clamshell the thing much, but I could do without the vibrations some of you mention. I also will probably have to spend some money to get this darnded SuperDrive fixed. It won't burn DVDs from iDVD/iMovie for some reason. I think I read somewhere a while ago that it's the drive in this model, which is big time suckage. I don't need to burn that stuff often, but when you've recorded a couple of people's weddings, it's nice to not need another computer to burn a friggin' DVD.

    But I digress. I think I'll stick it out with this and probably make my next computer purchase an iMac. I don't need the portability as much as I thought, and I can keep this guy around for toting around if I need to. Well, either that or the SSDs can drop in price as quickly as Blu-ray Disc players have and I can afford one in a year.
  14. Pagga macrumors 6502


    Feb 21, 2009
    Closer to the Artic circle than I like to be
  15. macchiato2009 macrumors 65816

    Aug 14, 2009

    not 20% on average

    it would be much closer to 10%

    if you guys want a real boost, get a SSD

    7200 is noisier than 5400
  16. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    sounds like a good way to go. your current HDD isnt dead or anything so its sort of a want upgrade more then a need in your case. my superdrive is dead too, luckily i have an external fw burner - such a great investment!

    goodluck with it all :)
  17. johnsy macrumors 6502

    Nov 15, 2006
    I upgraded from 5400 200GB fujitsu stock to 5400 500GB WD scorpio blue. Sorry no benchmarks, but noticeably faster start up, shutdown and faster performance overall. WD is also quieter. How faster is everything? I would say might be 10%? Overall laptops will always lag in speed and performance compared with desktops. It is just not possible to cram a lot in small space and so called performance laptops will suffer from battery life and/or bulkiness.
  18. Nano2k macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2009
    I have a 320gb WD Black I used in a Windows notebook and it was ok cause the notebook was thick and heavy, I now installed it in my netbook and it sounds as if there is a hairdryer in it....

    I will never take the risk of having a noisy or vibrating for 10% performance increase over a 5400rpm drive.

    I love silence... so it's SSD or nothing, but SSD prices are still on the high side.

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